Editorial Note: Took the accompanying pictures to this and two following posts while travelling but come to find many of the images are corrupted and I cannot fix them. Sorry. 😦
Two young women standing by the edge of the fenced yard overlooking the cliffs near their grandparents home in Brindleton Bay.
“I miss this view sometimes.” one of them said, a little too theatrical, but typical for her.
“You gotta come back more often then, Belle.” Everleigh told her cousin Isabelle, who lived in Del Sol Valley with her parents, both actively and successfully working in the film industry and had moved her and her older brother Cameron when he graduated high school. Belle was one year younger than him and had been in the same class as the rest of the Cameron cousins, but since she had never been too adamant about academics, her parents took the chance.
“I may, since I got more time now. Much, much more time.” she smiled a perfect smile at Evey.
To most who did not know her better Isabelle would be the typical rich heiress, attractive, spoiled, demanding, to a degree that was true, but Everleigh knew that Isabelle was a kind person inside.
Her arrogant and sometimes unreasonable, or even aggravating behavior was typical for a child of two wealthy celebrities, she and her brother had been absolute love children and doted on by parents and family. Cameron, Isabelle’s older brother, was very quiet and never liked the spotlight, which made him a lot more grounded and simple.
If you did not know, you would never guess who Cameron really was.
Isabelle on the other hand always dressed to the T in the latest designer fashion and very demanding and easily bored.
Which included boys.
She had dated half the age-appropriate population of Del Sol Valley before she even turned 18. Now at almost 21, she was bored by the Valley and its fancy inhabitants, so she had stopped by for a visit at her grandparents.
“Oh no. Not again, come on now Belle! What’s next now?” Everleigh shook her head and rolled her eyes, which did little to impress the pretty strawberry blonde now shrugging next to her.
“This time it’s for good. I dropped out and am staying out. I am not like you, Evey. I just don’t like learning. My parents are so wealthy, I don’t need a career. I’ll have money for the rest of my life even if I never have a job for a single day, so why bother? Besides, I am gonna get those parents worn down – eventually. And then: watch out world! So if they want me to have a career, they know what to do.” Isabelle shook her strawberry blonde locks.
By now, she had changed her college major and entire field of study at least a half dozen times, if not more. Since her parents – and grandfather – were all famous, she got away with a lot more than most college students. What she really wanted – at least right now – was become an actress, like her mother and grandfather, which was strongly vetoed by her parents. Her older brother Cameron was following in their father’s footsteps and started working as a screenwriter and author.
“You are crazy. I know we had this talk a hundred times and I know Cam told you too. He is your brother, meaning the same inheritance yet he still graduated college. Take a hint.” Evey told her cousin sternly.
“He also just moved out. They bought him a big house downtown. When I asked about a small villa in the Hills, it was like ..’no’. So whatever.”
“Why do you need a house, Belle? Cam is working, probably dating, maybe one day has a family. You just live into the day, and your parents’ home is gigantic. Besides, some among us live in tiny shoeboxes – with their boyfriends. Noisy boyfriends. Ugh.” Evey moaned.
She and KC had moved in together just one week after Heath had released her several months ago now. She had wanted to be strong and not miss more college classes than she already had, since she was unharmed she went back two days after her release.
KC had insisted they moved in together. So she relinquished her dorm spot and they found a miniscule studio apartment near campus. KC did a few day odd jobs here and there to make some money. After her disappearance in the woods the police had not believed his story, resulting in him spending three days in jail, during which he was fired from the carpentry job he loved so much. Liam may have been able to swing the vote in KC’s favor, but once Evey was back home she found out that her grandfather had fallen into a deep coma after consuming contaminated plasma fruit shortly after Heath kidnapped her from the hiking trip with KC. With her boyfriend now jobless needing her support as she felt, she reluctantly agreed to moving in. KC seemed to thrive in the new situation living together, while Evey often regretted this decision. She loved him, but needed her alone time and quiet, with KC around there was very little of that leading to tension between the two. Evey spend much time at the library to study and get some time away from him.
“Can’t your dad like design you some kick-ass house near college or something?” Isabelle asked something so typical for her frame of mind.
“Umm … reality called for you Belle. We do not have that kind of cash, plus my mom and dad REALLY have other problems than building me a house right now.”
“At least you have KC. Speaking of … there is something I wanted to tell you. Better you hear it from me … and since stuff like this always kinda comes out anyway …”
“Oh great, more bad news. Fine, let’s have it. So what did he do now?”
“Not bad news per se … just not .. too great. I mean, it’s basically nothing.” Isabelle danced around the subject, obviously already regretting bringing it up.
“I may have kissed KC. Just a little. Once. For a sec. But on the lips. Man, he is so tall and build – and yummy .. lucky girl, you!”
“Relax, Eve. Not really an all-in kiss, more like a … peck … but on the lips. Just briefly. Sorry. I didn’t mean anything bad by it…he was there and looked so delish … and … you know me. An impulse thing. YOLO, right?”
“You meant nothing bad by kissing MY boyfriend?! YOLO?! OMG! I need to get out of here. I need some air!”
“Evey, don’t be mad .. calm down… and we are outside there is air everywhere here.” more theatrics by Isabelle.
“I need Isabelle Ferrer-free air!” Everleigh just hurried across the yard to the patio door, leaving her cousin standing there.
Everleigh ran back into the house, down the hall and heard her grandmother call something out to her as she slammed the front door of her grandparents’ home shut behind her. Tears burned hot under her lids as she steered her car out the gates onto the street.
“Hey babe! There you are, I was starting to get worr..” KC stopped talking and froze in his tracks attempting to hug her when Evey slapped him, after walking into their small apartment.
Holding his reddened cheek he stood stiffly staring at her, surprised.
“Isabelle sends hugs and kisses. Mostly kisses. I should probably say MORE kisses.” Everleigh hissed at him with dangerously sparkling eyes.
“Shit! She told you about that? Look, Evey, it was nothing ..” he tried to come closer, she took a step backwards, so he stood still again.
“I didn’t kiss her, she kissed ME, Evey. And I didn’t encourage it.”
“Right, the big, muscular dude could not protect himself from the near-rape of the tiny little size 00 girl in 10 inch designer heels. You poor thing! Maybe we need to get you therapy! Did you file a police report?!” Sarcasm was dripping off Evey’s words.
At least that helped suppress the tears that wanted to flow so badly.
She pushed his hands away as he tried to hold on to her again.
“Everleigh, come on now. What would you have me do? Make a big scene at your grandparents’ home? Punch her into next week? Scream bloody murder? I would never become like my parents like that. And it was just one brief kiss. She knew she shouldn’t have and I left right after.”
“Still! She must have seen some signal from you telling her that would be okay. Belle is a spoiled brat, but not a random ho.”
“Have you met your cousin?! I like your family, and I would never dare talk bad about them, but you KNOW that Isabelle does not need signals. She sees, wants and takes whatever and whenever the mood hits her. Emotions have been running high for all of us recently, everybody’s on edge, we are all under a lot of stress …”
“Stress? Oh really? You know nothing about stress. I got abducted, then come back to tons of stuff I missed in college right before mid-terms, while learning my dad had a nervous breakdown when they heard I was missing, my boyfriend got himself thrown back into jail, my grandpa ended up in a coma. And now I have a bunch of really important papers to write, but my boyfriend won’t give me any peace and quiet to focus AT ALL. Instead goes out and makes out with my wealthy, beautiful cousin. But you, YOU have stress. Poor baby!”
“Thanks for rubbing my face into the fact that I am uneducated white trash. Needed that reminder like a hole in the head.”
“You could have gone back to finish high school. You could go to college. Grandpa would totally foot that for you.”
“I love your grandpa like a father and do not want him to have to pay for me any more than he already has. I am a lot of bad things, but I am not a user. And not all of us are made for college. Some of us are better with their hands.”
“I am sure Isabelle would agree that you are…”
“For the last time, I did not touch her! Or kiss her! She kissed ME! I just happened to stand next to her. Funny you are so high and mighty about this, considering how you have been sneaking around with Heath for so long. Who knows what you and he do down in his little underground dungeon at your grandpa’s? Or what you guys did in that cave he held you in. I just went on telling myself that you love me like I love you and nothing would happen. Still, even after all that your Heath is sooooo special and gets away with everything – and you, Barbie, you are just chronically innocent, right?! He creeps around you, like he always has, he kidnaps you and everybody forgives poor lil Heath and moves on. He still lives at your grandparents house, like nothing ever happened. BARF! And now you go all ‘fatal attraction’ crazy on ME when I didn’t call the FBI after your spoiled cousin decided I should be her next boy toy? Puh-lease! She stole a fucking kiss, I told her to never do that again, we didn’t run off to get married in Vegas!”
“Well, maybe you should go and be with Isabelle. Her parents have all the connections to get you some record deal for those awful bluegrass tunes you have been strumming and howling while I am trying to write important papers! I have heard cats screw with better rhythm than that shit you produce!!”
“Wow. Thanks for that too. Your great-grandpa has been teaching me the guitar and I thought you wanted to hear my progress, since he is still pretty big as a writer and thinks I have serious talent. And I play country, not bluegrass. Good to know that my own girlfriend cares so much.” her last jab had hit home, as intended.
“You know what KC? Here is the truth: THIS was a mistake. I think it’s better if you move back in with my grandparents, I’ll transfer to San Myshuno University and move back into my parents’ house and just commute. Living together is over .. I am through with it. SO through with ALL of this. Just go. Get out of my face.”
KC stood in shock, trying to process the ramifications of her words, his bright baby blue eyes mirroring hurt and disbelief, until he nodded, grabbed a duffel bag, threw in a few things, then left the apartment slamming the door hard as he exited.
This is when Everleigh finally broke down and allowed herself to cry.
“Hey, sorry to bother you so late. I just really didn’t know where else to go.” KC looked straight at Liam.
“To a former vampire this isn’t late, it’s early. Come on in kid and take a load off. You look like crap.” Blaine said while pulling the young man holding his duffel bag in by the shoulder.
“Thanks, contents match the packaging. I remember having had better days in jail.” KC moaned as he followed Liam into the living room.
“Trouble in paradise, huh?” Liam pat him on the back, a knowing pitiful smile turning the corners of his lips upward ever so slightly.
“That obvious?” KC sat down and rubbed his face with both hands.
“Been a moment since I was in my early twenties, but if you show up at someone’s door in the middle of the night, holding a duffel bag, it’s pretty obvious your girl kicked you out. And before you ask, yes, you can crash here.”
“Wanna run that by Mrs. Cameron to make sure I don’t get you in trouble too?”
“I am always in trouble for something with my Leo, she’ll be fine. We got the room. Make yourself at home, kid.”
“Is she asleep?”
“Leo? Oh no. She is cleaning. Which she does a lot. I guess with me around, there is always a lot to clean too. You wanna practice your riffs?” Liam pointed to his father’s guitar.
“Nah, not really feeling music right now. Especially after learning that I am nothing but a noisy nuisance to my girl anyway. Evidently to her I sound like cats in heat. And she called my music ‘bluegrass’… seriously?! I feel like the biggest idiot.”
“I could have told ya that Evey is not really the country music kinda gal. My mother didn’t really like rock music until my dad wore her down. For a while those two even performed together. So no need to hang your head. She’ll come around. Eventually. The girls only ever think they are the ones training us, and we let them, when in reality all the progress they see in us is them getting used to our quirks.” Liam joked, but KC did not even smile, instead he looked at Liam with a desperate expression in his eyes.
“Evey is pissed at me because Isabelle told her that she kissed me.”
“No kidding. And now she kicked me out, told me to move back in here and that she doesn’t want to live with me anymore. All because of some other girl who kissed ME, not vice versa. As lame as this may sound, I am honestly innocent here. Not even really sure if she didn’t break up with me. Maybe I am already single again and just don’t know it. And I don’t think I want to know right now. This is not where I thought we were going to go … and this time I didn’t even fuck up, like I usually do.”
“Sounds like lyrics to one of dem ol’ country songs…”
“Funny, Mr. Cameron.” KC wasn’t really amused, but broke a smirk when he looked at Liam’s grin.
“I told you before to call me Liam. People I like do that. People I don’t like can kiss my Mr. Cameron on their way out. And I know all about unsolicited advances by other women and resulting trouble with the woman you really love. Try being a well known actor, let alone then become the flavor of the year. Been there, done that, bearing the battle scars. Leo and I almost broke up about shit like that before. Almost. Luckily, turns out that I can be some persistent sunnuvabitch if it’s worth it and she is worth it to me. Assume you feel the same about Evey, so just keep at it. Free fatherly advice for the day. Besides, if Everleigh meant to break up with you, you would know for sure. She is a lot like Leonie in that aspect. She’d have been very clear about that. Nah, you are still owned and operated by that girl – at least until further notice. So play your cards right.”
He liked Liam. Had liked him from the first moment they met, back in the days when KC was still a teen who hated the world. All except Evey. And Leonie.
He saw a lot of himself in Liam. Unlike all the other family members who were nice, he was edgy and unconventional, still a misfit, which KC could relate to the most.
Instead of the usual pitiful and amused glances, Liam even took his music serious and supported his efforts.
Realizing Liam had stopped talking, KC asked
“Hey, not to be too straight-forward and all, but … any chance I could crash at your place for a few days and not just tonight? Not having cash to that and I got me another problem, but I’ll find something, just need some time.”
“Yeah, I get it. No problem kid. We have bedrooms collecting dust anyway, make yourself at home. You can have your old room again.”
“Sorry Evey, I haven’t seen him at all. I try not to be in the main house too much, after everything I am guilty of, you see it’s still a bit … awkward.” Heath ended his sentence with a slight shake of his head.
“Weird. He has not come back to the apartment. If he is not here, where the hell is he? Maybe he wasted no more time and moved in with Isabelle.” Everleigh replied unamused, sitting next to him on his couch in his underground room beneath the shed in Everleigh’s grandparents’ backyard.
“I don’t think so.”
“That was sarcasm, Heath.”
“You’re hurt.” he stated what would be obvious to most people who grew up in human society, which Heath had not. Understanding certain emotions and reactions to unfamiliar or unusual situations was still difficult for him. Like now, Evey, whom he cared deeply about at the verge of a break-up with her boyfriend was not something he fully knew how to process or how to react to. Especially since what he really wanted was not what he knew was advisable.
“Of course I am hurt! Duh! How would you feel if the girl you loved kissed another dude …”
Evey blushed when she realized that Heath had been living that scenario ever since she and KC started dating.
If he always felt like she did now, it REALLY sucked to be him.
“I should remember to keep some soda down here for you when you come visit.” he smiled at her, not responding to her statement. Probably his attempt on a topic change to lighten the mood.
“Oh Heath, you are just too much.” Evey leaned her head against his.
As much as just ditching him and not spending time with him would solve a LOT of her problems with KC, she never could. Despite of everything, including him abducting her, she had always felt safe with Heath and really enjoyed spending time with him.
Abandoning him would never be an option for her.
Heath was looking at his hands, while Evey looked at his profile. Heath was handsome in his own way, very pale and obviously not a human man, but still attractive, and those unusual eyes really stood out. The new, shorter haircut became him well.
She wondered what it would be like to kiss him.
Would he feel cold to the touch?
Would his lips feel weird or like regular lips?
Since KC had a kiss with Isabelle, it would only be fair if she kissed Heath, right?
And KC had always been so jealous for no real reason, might as well.
Evey inhaled deeply. She knew she could never do that to either of the guys – or herself. This whole triangle was too odd to begin with, there was really no need to complicate it even further.
Now, she felt guilty about Heath and KC, about the fight, her reaction, which may have been a bit of an overreaction, and she missed KC.
Then she suddenly smiled knowingly, before a rushed goodbye to Heath.
“You’re trespassing!” she heard a firm, deep voice behind her, after she had scaled the wall into the abandoned yard. After the initial heart racing, she smiled, her back still turned to the speaker.
“So are you.” she said as she turned around, to see KC, shirtless, his skin glistening in the sun.
For a moment they just looked at each other until she tilted her head slightly then ran into his arms, which he closed around her as she buried her face into his chest, pulling her along into the house and out of the always scorching sun of the desert. There, at the old abandoned house he had taken her to for the first time when they were young kids, they stood, in a silent embrace for several minutes.
“I missed you like crazy!”
She pulled her face back to face him when she saw the smirk.
“I missed you too baby. More than you know.”
“Why did you not come to see me?”
“Honestly, I wasn’t even sure we were still together. And you were so mad at me, I knew I had to wait till you were ready to talk if I didn’t want to make things even worse.”
“I was mad at you. Does not mean we break up every time we fight.”
“We never fought before. At least not since we got together. And you never gave me the Everleigh Rose Cameron manual.”
“As if you would have read it. So where have you been KC? Here?”
“Oh no. I came here to look at this place. When I was a kid I always imagined one day buying this house, fixing it up and making it a home. Especially since you and I have history here. But looking at it now I never realized what a shithole this is. From where I came from, this always seemed like a palace to me. Guess living at your grandpa’s for years has spoiled me. And I definitely never want to live in Oasis Springs. Funny how your perspective can change so much.”
“Yeah, this place is pretty crappy, isn’t it?”
“Let’s get out of here.”
“No, let’s stay and give it a good send off.”
“What are you planning, pretty lady? Torch it and watch it burn to the ground?”
“Nope. But something else that can be pretty dang hot.” Evey grinned, while running her hands down KC’s chest before beginning to undo his button and zipper.
“Dayum girl. Would this be that makeup sex I have been hearing about?”