Tag Archives: teens

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 2 – Chapter 12

Olive –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kitty –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tommy –

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

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

“Um, for Carlton? Yeah.”

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

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

Oliver –

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

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

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

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

Olive –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh no! It’s gone!”

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

Tommy –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why?” I asked, puzzled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I dunno. Got any beers?”

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

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

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

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

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

A Few Beers Later…

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

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

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

“Oh… just wondering!”

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

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

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

“Nooo, she’s not my type. At all.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*      *      *

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

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

– Marissa xx

Generation 2 – Chapter 11

– Arielle –

“Now you know that you had some irregular cells Arielle… Arielle?” Of course I knew my cells were irregular, it was the results of the next test that I was dreading.

“Yes, yes.” I answered slowly, could she just get a move on?

“Well the samples that we took for your second tests have came back.” Oh God, what was it? I was dying, I had to be, why would she be going so slow with the news. Just tell me! I wanted to scream, this part was worse than the actual results, gosh. “The prognosis is not good Arielle, I’m sorry.” She stroked the back of her neck awkwardly.

“Arielle, I’ve known your family for years, you know I diagnosed your mothers pregnancies, this is hard for me.”

“Hard for you? What about me? Can you please just tell me?!” I was being a total bitch and I knew it, but I just couldn’t help it.

“It’s lymphoma Arielle.” Oh God, cancer. The big C. It happened all the time, but not to me, how could this be happening to me? What about my children? Kitty could probably handle it, she was strong, Tommy would also be strong and silent, but I knew he relied on me, oh and the little ones, and newborn Cora, who was at home with Noah right now. I’d told them I was going to Lily’s, I couldn’t deal with Noah sat at home, worrying.

“Um – How do we proceed.” I could barely get the words out, my throat was so dry.

“Unfortunately it’s spread to other parts of the body, putting it at stage 3.” Couldn’t she have told me that in the same sentence?! Now my chances of survival were even less. At least it wasn’t stage 4. I could hear that she was speaking, but I had no idea what she was actually saying, everything was a blur. I stared downwards in disbelief.

“Arielle! I know it’s hard to take in but you really have to listen. Now there are options, we can go the chemotherapy route, or there is a new experimental treatment that has had good results, although the risks are higher.” This was too much to think about right now, I had just found out that I was dying! What should I do?

“Doctor what do you recommend? I have to survive, I have 5 children I -” She interrupted me just before I started my rant.

“Arielle I can’t tell you what to do, all I can tell you is that the sooner you make a decision the better.”

“Doctor please – I don’t, I – I can’t do this!”

“Arielle as I have said I’ve known your family for years, please don’t ask me to make this decision for you, however much I want to, I can’t.” Her face was set, I knew she wasn’t going to tell me, I’d have to make this decision on my own.

– Tommy –

I swam up and down, keeping everything even, keeping myself at a decent pace. I had a lot to do yet, couldn’t exhaust myself at the first hurdle. If I wanted to make the team I had to be perfect, physical perfection. Coach only accepted the best, which was probably why Austin got on the team. 197… 198…199… I muttered under my breath as I touched the end of the pool and spun around to go back. 200. Phew! I was panting a little, and my muscles were aching from all the hard training I’d been doing, but I had to keep it up, hauling myself out of the pool I stood for a few minutes and stretched my aching muscles.

My gym clothes were tossed on one of the loungers, quickly throwing them on I felt sick, they stunk! I’d forgotten to wash them after my last jog, whatever, they’d do. Mom knew I was going for a jog but she still shouted to me as I ran through the archway onto the front lawn and down the street. The gym wasn’t far, so I took a detour around the town. I had to do at least an hours jogging per day, stamina was one of the most important parts of making the team. I wish I had as much stamina as Austin, damn!

I felt like I needed to take a little break before I hit the weight machines but I couldn’t afford to take a break right now, I had to make the team! If I could make the team then everyone would stop focusing so much on my grades. Kitty had offered to write my English essay, Kitty! She was younger than me and she could write essays better than I could myself. Mom couldn’t find out that I was struggling so much with the academics, it would be the perfect excuse for her to pull me out of school and join Kitty at the private school, I still didn’t know how she’d convinced dad, well Noah, to let her go there.

“Unnghhh!” I clenched my jaw as I exercised my legs, they had to be strong! It was tough work but it would definitely be worth it in the long run.

When I got home I ran straight up to my room, and after a quick shower I threw myself straight into bed, this bunk was so annoying, mom promised me I could get a new one soon though. Sleep was such a welcome release, all day long I never got a break, I was always training or hanging out with my friends or babysitting one of the little ones, I loved being asleep, but it felt like I’d only had this welcome release for 5 minutes before moms voice was ringing in my ear.

“Tommy! Wake up now, you have school! Now Tommy, and take these dirty plates down while you’re at it.” God could she not just shut up for 5 minutes, I needed more sleep! I was about to roll over and go back to sleep when it hit me, today was the tryouts! I had to get a move on.

– Kitty –

“Kitty darling can you come in here?” Dad shouted from his study. What could he want, I hadn’t done anything wrong… had I? I tried to think as I made my way towards him, no, it must be something else.

“Yes daddy?”

“Kitty can you go and get your brother, I have something I want to talk to the both of you about.” He asked, not looking up from his computer. Oh no, this must be bad, he never wanted to speak to both of us together. Maybe he’d found out I’d wrote Tommy’s English essay and he was going to punish us both together, a thousand excuses I could give him ran through my mind as I went and got Tommy from the garden. Playing with that damn football again, just because he made the team he thought he was a superstar or something now, who want would to play with a dirty ball anyway.

“What’s up dad?” I asked as Tommy stood behind me, I could tell he was nervous. I was nervous too, but I didn’t let it show, well I at least tried not to.

“Kid’s me and your mom are going away.”

“What?!” Oops, I didn’t mean to blurt it out! I thought he was about to give us 2 weeks confined to the house and a chores list that would take a month to complete. Clearly we had done nothing wrong (as far as he knew).

“What do you mean Kitty?” He looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face. Quick Kitty, think fast.

“Um- well it’s just that um… you never go away!” That was it. “Yes, you never go away, and it just came as a surprise.”

“Well we’re going away now. You know your mother used to love going away, of course she met Leo on a vacation in France, and I proposed in China. Now we’re going away again.”

“Oh let me guess, Egypt? It seems like people round here only ever go to three places. Why does no one go to bloody Hawaii or something?” I ranted as dad stared at me with a glint of amusement in his eyes.

“No Kitty, just to Sunset Valley, and only for two nights. We just wanted to make sure you kids were okay with being alone for a while, we think you’re ready for that.” I probably was ready, so was Tommy I suppose, Olive was in the same age bracket as us but she was very young, that was clearly why she wasn’t here.

“But dad what about practice? Who’s gonna take me there?” Tommy asked, looking confused.

“Tommy are you missing brain cells or something, I’ll take you. You know I passed my test.” I snapped at him. Sometimes he could be so dumb.

“Kitty be nice to your brother.” He smiled as he said it. “Now that’s all, get out, I have work to do!” We filed out of his office, in relief. Home alone for 2 nights, not bad. I could probably get a lot of reading done in that time, maybe even write a few more articles for the college newspaper… I pondered my options as me and Tommy went upstairs. I was just about to go up to the third floor, where my room was, when Tommy grabbed my arm and dragged me into his room.

“What the hell are you doing?!” I fumed as I nursed my arm.

“Shhh.” I have to make sure no ones here. I stood behind him, bewildered, as he stood by the door and listened intently. What was he doing?

“What? What is it Tommy? What’s so important that you have to drag me in here like that?”

“Lets have a party.” He threw his arms wide as if he had just had the most original and fun idea in the world. A party. Just like that?!

“Ohhh no, no, no, no. Tommy – I’ve seen those shows where the kids are left alone and they have a party. In the toned down ones something goes wrong, the house gets trashed or something, and in the really bad ones, someone dies! We cannot have a party, mom and dad would kill us!”

“Kitty stop being such a geek! Come on it would be so cool, you could invite Rosy for me, I totally want to talk to her.”

“Oh my God you like Rosy, I forgot. Well if you want Rosy then I want you to invite that cute guy… what was his name?”

“Austin?”

“No not Austin, the other one… um – Jake!” Jake, ahh he was so cute.

“Yeah, I’ll invite him. Does this mean you’re on board?” I still didn’t know… if mom and dad found out we would be dead! “Come on Kitty it would be so cool, and it would stop people thinking you’re a total geek.” Geek?!

“I’m not a geek Tommy, I just care about school. I don’t hear you complaining when I write your essays!”

“Okay, okay, forget I said anything. Party?!” I looked at him nervously, I was definitely swaying towards it…

“Come oooon Kitty. You know how fun it’ll be!”

“…Yes.” Yes? Had I just said yes? Yes! “Yes, yes! Okay, let’s do it. Party!” I smiled widely at Tommy, I was actually excited now!

– Olive –

“Kitty?” I said as I peeped my head around her doorway.

“Ah!” She screamed, falling onto the floor by her wardrobe. I didn’t mean to make her fall, but I suppose it was kind of funny!

“What the hell is your problem Olive?! Why are you sneaking up on me?” She was livid, I hadn’t even done anything wrong!

“Can I get ready for the party with you? We’re gonna look so great, this is gonna be the best party ever!” I was in my element, ignoring everything she was saying back to me. Gosh I couldn’t wait for the party.

“OLIVE!” I finally stopped talking and stared at her, what?! “You can’t get ready with me. You’re too young!” Too young?!

“I’m not that much younger than you Kitty!” I followed her into her en suite bathroom, sitting myself down on the side of the bath. Wow I wish I had all these things that Kitty had, she made mom buy her every product in the world, she didn’t even go to parties though! “Why do you have all this, people say you’re a geek Kitty.”

“Not after tonight they won’t.” She murmured, checking out her pores in the mirror. I stared at her intently, did she have something special planned?

She walked off to her bedroom, blowing the nails of one hand to dry the nail polish and reading the politics section of The Evening Standard with the other hand. She was so weird. I might as well get ready here, she couldn’t exactly throw me out. I applied a thick layer of mascara and plenty of eye-shadow, I wanted to look older than I actually was. Maybe there would be a cute boy at the party, but I doubted it. The only boy I liked was Austin, Tommy’s best friend. He was soo cute! His grandmother was Korean and hen had these really interesting ethnic eyes, wow!

“Olive what the hell is on your legs?” Kitty asked, averting her eyes from an article on the economic downturn as I paraded out of the bathroom.

“My new tights! They’re soo cool don’t you think?” They were totally cool I loved them! Mom had bought me a whole load of new clothes when I started to grow out of my little blue dresses, these new ones were so much cooler.

“They’re cool if you’re living in 2003 dancing around to an Avril Lavigne song, maybe not so much now.”

“Shut up Kitty, you’re just jealous that I can pull off such an interesting look.” I huffed as I walked up and down the room, breaking in my new flats.

Kitty was trying on so many outfits it was unreal. Clothes were flying across the room, Dolce, Halston, Gucci, Prada, DKNY, Ungaro, jeez how did she have so many?

“When did you get all these?” I asked, picking up a black Marchesa gown that she wore to Lily’s premiere last month.

“I don’t know, I just use moms credit card.” She replied, searching through her cardigans and jackets for the perfect one for tonight. I was definitely borrowing some of these. One of the perks of having a big sister – free clothes!

“Okay, okay, I’m ready. Come.” She dragged me to the huge mirror beside her door and we both stood staring at ourselves. Yep. Definitely ready for tonight.

– Kitty –

“Hey Kitty!” Jake waved to me from across the room. Oh no, he was talking to me, no, no! I was too nervous to talk to him yet. Mom always had a drink when she was nervous so I ran into the kitchen and took a huge swig from the vodka bottle that was always kept in the fridge. Yuck! My throat was burning, but I did feel a little calmer. Okay just breath. Olive and I began dancing together in the den, where the party seemed to be centred. Jake was right behind us, and I kept looking over and smiling, but I didn’t dare speak to him, what was wrong with me?!

“Kitty! Go dance with him, he totally likes you!” Olive whispered, nudging me towards him.

“No, no! Stop!” I whispered in anger, what was she doing?! Oh no, too late. My face turned from a frown to a huge smile as Olive practically threw me on top of him. He was talking to me, asking how I was doing and stuff, but I just couldn’t stop staring at him. He was so cute, even the eyebrow piercing didn’t put me off, it was kind of hot actually.

Oh no. I know he’s cute but really, the dancing? Could he get any more uncool. I didn’t care, the vodka had been found by Kirsty Allaham (the party girl of the school) and she was weaving around the room with a tray full of shots, screaming with joy every time someone downed one, usually followed by a lot of spluttering and choking. I looked up at him, would he just get his arms down? We weren’t down and dirty in the club, we were at a teenage party.

I could feel the vodka going to my head quicker than I anticipated, oh no, I had to stop drinking and I knew it, but I could tell that everyone was changing their opinion of me, Kirsty even came over and said she ‘never realised how cool I was until tonight’. Wow. I mean it’s not like I looked up to her, she was kind of dumb, but she was the most popular girl in school.

– Tommy –

Mindy was cute I suppose. At least I finally got to dance with some girls, I never usually had the time to go to parties. Mom was always pushing me on the sports, I mean it wasn’t her fault, I had made her promise to keep pushing me, and she had agreed. I was glad that she did it, but I still needed a break, and this was the perfect opportunity.

“I heard you made the team!” Mindy shouted over the music.

“Sure did.” I smiled back at her, guys on the team were targets for girls like Mindy. She might not have the cleanest reputation in the town, but at least she was fun and would give me something to do. Oh, there was Austin, he came!

“Excuse me Mindy.” I said, softly touching her arm as I side stepped her and went to see Austin, it had been a few days since I had seen him, we usually hung out everyday.

“Hey man! Cool party!” Austin shouted over the music, giving me a friendly slap on the arm.

We moved through into the kitchen to get a beer, Mindy looked a little peeved that I was leaving her hanging but whatever, Austin was my best buddy!

“You came with Mindy?” He asked as he cracked open the beer with his teeth.

“Yeah I invited her, she’s cute right?”

“Yeah, if you don’t mind having an STI. She’s been around the block and then some man!” Woah, he really didn’t like Mindy.

“Listen it’s not like I’m having sex with her or something!” I could feel myself going red as I said it, he knew I was still a virgin, which was kind of embarrassing.

“I’m just saying you want your first time to be special.” What was this!? I wasn’t going to have sex with her or anything, I didn’t even want to. I might not have even kissed her.

“What is this Aunt Austin’s help line? Leave me alone!”

“Okay, okay. Sorry I mentioned it!”

“I’m just saying you don’t wanna just throw your virginity away!”

“I DON’T EVEN WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH HER!” I shouted at him, luckily the music was too loud for the people through the half open doors of the den to hear, would he just leave it!

“Sorry man, really I am.” Hopefully he’d stop talking about it now. “So do you like anyone else?” He looked at me intently, what was the big interest in my love life, he knew I never had time for stuff like that.

“Me? I dunno, do you?”

“Well yeah actually, there’s something I wanna talk to you about…”

“TOMMY!!!!” Jesus, what was with the screaming?

“I gotta go Austin, talk to you later.” I walked into the den, a lot of the kids had left by now, Kitty was flirting with Jake, I suppose he was a good guy, but I still worried about my little sister, even though she acted twice my age.

Oh. That’s where the screams were coming from, Olive slumped in the front hallway, clearly drunk out of her mind.

“Okay, shh.” I said as I picked her up into my arms and carried her upstairs. “Where are your clothes Olive?” Why was she in her underwear? Good job someone had put a hoodie on her.

“We went swimming…” She mumbled almost incoherently. Good job I was strong or we would have had to dump her on the sofa.

“Tommy I don’t feel good.” Olive groaned as I laid her down on top of the bed. She better be okay by tomorrow, mom and dad were supposed to be home tomorrow, maybe Kitty was right, maybe this was a bad idea.

“Is she dead?” Oliver asked as he stood by me next to the bed, both of us staring down at her as she shielded her eyes from the light.

“No kid she’s not dead” I laughed as I ruffled his hair. “Now get to sleep, you’ve got school in the morning.” That night was a restless one for me, huddled uncomfortably in Olive’s chair in case she woke up and was sick again. It was as if she had cancer or something, I was being so vigilant. God if someone had cancer I don’t know what I’d do, I was worried sick about Olive, and she’d only had a bit too much vodka. The next morning I was roaming around on the upstairs landing, picking up old bottles and other crap from last night when I heard the door open.

“Hello?! We’re home early!” I heard mom shout. Oh God, no! What were they doing back!!

“What the hell has happened here?!” Noah fumed… oh no, they were going to kill us.