Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.
Ewan laid there, relaxed, dwelling in fond memories.
Memories of sandy white beaches, palm trees and scenic sunsets, all enjoyed from a beautiful beachfront rental.
Memories of waterfalls and indescribable bliss found underneath one of them with a special someone.
Memories of romantic meals shared in a warm summer breeze. Sometimes in restaurants, but most often take-out enjoyed in the quiet peace and comfort of their temporary home together.
Memories of romping around like children, chasing each other, giggling, while trying to shove or toss the other into the balmy crystal clear waters of the private pool.
Other memories that were mature and deep, warm and meaningful. The kind where everything that needs to be said is said best by saying nothing at all.
He barely recalled working, he did, daily even, he shot the scenes, the professional actor all the way, needing only few retakes, still it was but a blur. All that kept looping in his mind were the memories with Ava. Falling asleep next to her every night, waking up to next to her smiling. Oh that smile. She had so many different ways to smile, Ewan could not say which was his favorite.
The open smile.
The promising smile …
And all the dozens of other ways she send quivers down to his very core with this little gesture.
As long as she smiled, his world was all right. And she did. A lot. Even when they were invited to pretty boring dinners with the film people. With Ava there next to him, they weren’t even that boring anymore. Not like he would remember a lot anyway, at least not about them. He could recite every tiny detail about Ava.
Getting ready together was so much better than when he used to do it alone. Somehow there was always giggling and affections involved. Sometimes more, which would make them late. Ewan had always abhorred tardiness, but couldn’t care less now.
Breakfasts together were calm and cozy and fun. Yes, because of her smile. But not just because of that. Every day that started with Ava, was bound to be a good one.
Lazy afternoons with each other were one of his favorite memories. Yes, because of her smiling, like that one time over a donut she teased him with. He didn’t give a rat’s behind about the pastry, all he could see was the girl being all sorts of cute. And she always ended up sharing anyway.
Oh, the cozy evenings, snuggled up together, watching the sunsets. They’d sit like this every night, until darkness had long fallen and it had gotten cold. Not a real problem as it gave them an excuse to find creative ways to warm each other up again. Oh boy, those memories were really something.
Beautiful Ava, her naivite, her excitement about every little thing, always in stark contrast to her fiery ways when she felt wronged. And the way she was almost childlike when trying to get Ewan to agree to something. And he usually would. She never asked for outrageous things. Her world was so small, simple and still full of wonder.
Then there was this other side of her, the one he witnessed – and helped – evolve ever since they first met, especially after that time in the pool at that mansion for sale (read here), her sensual side, with tender touches and hot kisses, she was every bit a woman. The mixture of innocence and daredevil drove him nuts – not just in the bedroom.
Ewan smiled absently at the memory of more in-depth details of some of those instances and it got him hot and bothered just like that.
He knew he had it bad for this girl and he wouldn’t want it any other way. In his book, she was the whole package. Witnessing the ugly side of marriage between his biological mother and his father, then seeing how marriage could be when his father married his step-mother, their marriage harmonious and loving still, her being the mother to him that she didn’t have to be, had left him worried if and how he would be lucky enough to find his Ms. Right – and how he would know when he did.
After Cassandra he wasn’t so sure marriage really was for him, even though he had always seen himself married with two kids by 30. At 27 now, approaching 28, it didn’t look like he could meet his own secret deadline, even though Ava had renewed that hope and wish in him
So much so, that he had to keep reminding himself to go slow, when deep inside he wanted to take this gleam of hope and run with it.
Today marked their last day here in Sulani, tomorrow morning bright and early would be the departure. Filming on location was done, the crew had spent the better part of today wrapping up, giving the actors time to enjoy an entire day off. There would be a longer break until filming would resume in the Del Sol Valley studios. This meant 3, maybe 4 or even more weeks of liberty to spend with Ava. Bliss.
“Ewan? Ewan?! EWAN!?” her voice echoed faintly through his memories, again and again until he realized it wasn’t a memory. As if waking from deep slumber, he sat up, she plopped down on the couch next to him, apparently upset about something.
“What?!” he wondered confused.
“Look at this shit!” with that statement, tone and words clashing starkly with her almost faerie-like impressions in his memories, she tossed a magazine onto the coffee table before him. After one brief glance at the headlines he rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Ava baby, this is what life with me is gonna be like. The media live to speak and write bullshit stories, drama sells, most of it is without even a grain of truth yet the readers eat that crap up. Just ignore it. Since when do you even read this shit?!”
“I bought a few magazines for the flight back, to look at fashion ideas – since it kinda matters now what I look like so I don’t embarrass you, but wasn’t expecting to be a main feature! And ignore it?! Did you read that headline? They interviewed my family! I read the entire article. MY FAMILY backstabbed me! What the fuck?! I cannot believe they would do that to me! What have I ever done to them?!”
“Ava, they were probably offered a nice lump of cash. Most people will cave then. Just don’t read shit like that anymore. I am sure it was harmless and nobody meant anything bad by it.”
“Really? You know what they say about me? That I am a golddigger! My own family says that. They used the actual word: golddigger. They stopped just short of calling me a fame & fortune whore. That is so mean! I thought they loved me!” she sobbed, tears nearly shot from her eyes.
“Baby – hey, no tears! Come here.” Ewan tried to avert the worst, it already broke his heart seeing her hurting like that. He could relate. His mother never contacted him after she left him – 9 years old – until he became famous. Then suddenly she tried, every which way, to rekindle.
At first Ewan didn’t catch on, he had been so happy, but when he realized what her true motivation was, he was hurt just like when she first left without ever looking back.
He pulled Ava into his arms, while she exploded into a fountain for cussing in between bitter tears, all into Ewan’s shoulders. Yeah, the darker side of the limelight. It can get rough, he knew all too well. When after a while she seized her crying, sniffled away the last tears, she pulled away from him to loudly snort into a tissue very unladylike. It made him smile.
“That’s it! I’m done. DONE! I am moving in with you. Right frigging now! They will never see me again. They can all kiss my sandy and evenly tanned golddigging BUTT!” she said with an almost comical determination.
Ewan had to try hard not to laugh.
“OK, did you want me to take you home to Oasis Spring so you can pack your personal items first?” he tried to sound level-headed and supportive, while in his mind he was doing cartwheels. YES! Thanks dirty rotten betraying Cooper family for giving her the much needed nudge straight into his arms – and home!
“Nope, they can take all that and shove it! I took my good stuff when you invited me to Sulani and you bought me stuff I love much more than my cheap tattered old rags. I am starting over. New woman! But I literally have no money – oh my God – I really am a golddigger. What the …?!” she frowned as if disgusted at herself.
Ewan just laughed. To him this was nothing but adorable.
“No, baby. Golddigging is something else. You are taking me up on an offer I made to a hundred times now, and you are doing it because of circumstance. I have taken you shopping and know that you are not gonna drain me financially, that much I am certain of. But let’s turn this into something real. Go big or go home, right?”
“Just you wait. Someone made me an offer I initially shut down, but I think your change of heart is worth kissing some ass. Starting over is a good key word. We’ll do that together – in a way. Let me make a call.”
And he did, a few hours later, when Ava was getting ready for bed. He needed time to think, then he didn’t want her to hear any of it, just in case it went sideways. He doubted it would, but you never knew until you knew.
A few weeks later Ewan found himself dreaming again. Again while looking at a beach. A different kind of beach. This time in Brindleton Bay. And this time he wasn’t dwelling in memories but the present moment. The call had been a success, his father had been pleasantly surprised by his son’s late acceptance of his original generous offer – a house he originally designed and built for a client, when the client unexpectantly died, Eli bought the property at a low price and offered it to his oldest son as an incentive to move back home.
Ewan and Ava moved from Del Sol Valley to the Bay, even though he would have to travel a lot at times for work, but he didn’t care, because she would accompany him.
Standing on the balcony of his brandnew home, overlooking the beloved bay, his childhood stomping grounds, in the distance his childhood home, in between them was Eric’s. His arm wrapped around Ava next to him.
“I thought the time in Sulani was a dream, but this … I have no words. I feel like a princess with you, all the time, and this is our castle.”
“Dad designed it to look a bit reminising of a castle. When the original client left him with the property, dad was gonna finish it and sell it. Then I introduced you to them and he had been in my ear about moving here ever since. I had no idea then how perfect it would be for us.”
“Why won’t Eric and Charlee have their wedding here?”
“Because Eric is a Cameron and stubborn as heck. I swear if they could, they’d stack everyone up three deep in their tiny yard of their tiny home and have the wedding there. But maybe they change their minds. After Charlotte’s parents pissed both of them off with their reaction to the baby news, they purposely are waiting till after the birth. Or maybe even quite a while after that. According to Eric especially Charlee’s father is rotating about his daughter becoming an unwed mother. My dad said at the family dinner when the announcement was made – you and I were still in Sulani – he thought Eric’s and Charlee’s dads were gonna throw down. Uncle Chase is super calm normally, so if he pissed him off, that man must be awful. Not sure I need that moron in our home.”
“If we ever get married – or engaged – my family won’t be invited!”
“Wait – was that my cue to get cracking on that ring?” Ewan teased.
“No. I do not drop hints. I’d tell you straight out. And who says I’d even marry you?”
Ewan grinned again. That was true. If that girl thought they’d been boyfriend and girlfriend for long enough, she would not be shy about it.
“So what if I already had a ring and was gonna propose anyway?” he was joking. There was no ring. At least not yet, but he loved messing with her too much.
“Then I’d tell you no. We are not ready.”
“Oh? And why not?” Ewan was still highly amused.
“Because we have just officially started dating some weeks ago. We need more time.”
“But living with me is okay?”
“Well, that wasn’t just because I felt like it. And duh, if you knew someone hot who lived in places like this and took you to see the world with them, would you go back to that damn trailer park with the lying, backstabbing family. So there. You were just the best option at the given time.”
Ewan burst into laughter. There is was again, the brutal honesty he adored. No, not very flattering sometimes, but after all the fakeness surrounding him for so long a breath of fresh air. With her he always knew exactly where he stood. And he knew she was just as crazy about him as he was about her. Whenever her pride didn’t get in the way, she was pretty obvious about it, in word and deed.
“Baby, you really need to chill out.”
“I can go get a job! Hannah would probably hire me at her restaurant. And then I’ll go clean at Charlee’s gallery! I can make my own money! Just you wait. No more golddigger rumors.”
“I have something you can do.”
“Me!” he chuckled and kissed her forehead.
She just frowned, shook her head and sighed into Ewan’s chuckle, but said nothing.
“Truth be told, I love that you can travel with me, made the decision to move here much easier. I love being back home in the Bay – with you. I’d prefer we keep that going and not worry about what others may say. I know the truth and that is all that should matter to you.” he told her.
Living together over the following weeks went fairly uneventful, Ava accompanied Ewan on all his travels, sometimes there would be a lot of it, other times they would be home just taking it one day at a time for weeks on end.
Ava was generally pleasant and just chipper and happy as could be.
One day she suddenly appeared next to Ewan who was on the computer, looking upset.
“Ewan, we have to talk!”
“Oh baby, what now? Family piss you off again?”
She shook her head, Ewan realized she wasn’t joking, but looked dead serious.
“Ewan, can you please stop typing and focus on me for a minute?!”
“Really bad time. I got flooded with emails, all work related. I need to get through this and make sure there is nothing urgent. Just talk, I can listen, read and type at the same time. I am amazing like that.” he snickered, fully expecting a snarky comment back.
“EWAN! No. Look at me – NOW!” Ava pressed instead.
“Okay, what’s with the drama? Come here, babe. Sit on my lap and tell daddy what’s wrong.” Ewan joked, hoping showing her affections would take her mind of whatever might have her bothered now. Instead she snorted a laugh, pulled away while shaking her head, placing something on the desk before him.
“Ha – yeah … you’ll think daddy all right …” she said with another brief, joyless laugh.
“What’s that? Oh holy shit!” Ewan’s question was answered as soon as he looked closer at it.
“Yeah – exactly.”
“Is this yours?”
“Uh – no, Ewan. I went to the park and found this in the trashcan, thought you might like a used one for your total nonsense item collection! Duh- of course this is mine!”
“This says pregant on it.”
“How certain are these?”
“No clue, all I know is that the 5 other ones said the same thing.”
“Yeah … now I am a golddigger that ties you down with a baby. And before you ask, yeah, I am sure it is yours.” she started crying again.
“How far along are you?”
“How am I supposed to know? Anytime from the time of the pregnancy scare Charlee and Eric helped us with and however long it takes for it to have symptoms.”
“You have symptoms?”
“No Ewan, I was bored of just peeing like a normal person, so l peed on sticks instead!”
Ewan started laughing.
“Is this a good laugh or did you just go crazy?”
“Both, probably. No, baby, I am happy. I am 27 years old, not the worst age to settle down. Just funny that both Eric and I ended up with the Cameron curse almost at the same time. I can’t wait for his face when we tell him. And my dad is going to do backflips! He has been hinting about him having lots of time to babysit grandchildren since he’s retired now. He’s bored and driving mom nuts! She’ll love us forever if we give him something to keep occupied.”
“Oh yeah – remember our conversation about engagements and weddings? We should probably talk about that again. Personally, I am not a fan of what Eric and Charlee are doing, you know, baby first – get married whenever – but they do them. I kinda would like to make it all straight before others really catch on.”
“Agreed. I am not a fan of the getting married because of a baby thing, but I love you, I want to marry you anyway, been thinking about it for a while, wondering how to bring it up to have a serious talk about that with you. You know what? Fuck talk. I don’t have a ring right now, so just imagine I was holding one and we’ll go buy one ASAP. Ava Marie Cooper, will you marry me?”
“This is so not how I imagined this.”
“Ah – someone imagined marrying me? Iiiiiinteresting! Still need an answer, babe. Don’t leave a guy hanging like this.”
“Yeah, I guess you’d do in a pinch … I accept! I’ll marry you, Cameron! Oh and … I love you, Ewan.” joking at first, she became serious towards the end.
“I know!” Ewan grinned.
“Wow – that’s not even an original line!”
“Come here you! You just made me the happiest man in the universe. How’s that for an original line?”
Ava just smiled big and jumped into his arms.
A few days later, after a gyn confirmed Ava’s findings, they invited Eric, Charlee, Hannah and Sven for dinner, where they dropped the bomb on them. About the pregnancy and a quick wedding, already in the hands of a planner.
Sven nudged Hannah and whispered
“See, that’s what I have been telling you. Having a child now would NOT be too early. I am already 33 anyway and you are 27. Other people own businesses and have kids. Had you listened to me, we could be pregnant now too and all the kids could grow up together!”
A few days later …
“Whoa – whatever we had for dinner sure put you in some kind of mood. I like it!”
“Less talk, more action!” Hannah said breathlessly from nearly tearing both their clothing off.
“What in the world …?!” Sven went along willingly, but was taken aback.
“I need you to quit talking and have sex with me! NOW! I had my IUD pulled today, since it was non-hormonal and I am already ovulating the doc said I could get pregnant right away! So, with our parents breathing down our necks since we got married and your constant hinting , let’s have a baby – NOW – so he or she can grow up with Eric’s and Ewan’s like I did! So get cracking!”
“Jeezus woman! From one extreme to the next … but fine by me! I can work with that. Not the most romantic way imaginable to do this, but still miles better than the constant ‘No’s’ I used to get from you about this topic. Maybe there is hope after all that I will not have to be a father who has to be wheeled from the retirement home to throw balls with his young son or take his pre-teen daughter to a daddy-daughter dance while drooling and mumbling incoherently due to old-age dementia.” her chuckled.
“SVEN! Shut up and work that magic!”
“Yes Ma’am! My wand is ready to perform as requested!” his voice was different now, deeper, as he pulled her into his lap and began placing kisses all over her face and body …
-to be continued-
EN: In case anyone is wondering: no, none of this was planned by me. All pregnancies of late were pretty much a surprise, in fact, I had to trash two whole chapters and change the entire path I had planned out for all of them because of it.
But, my story is gameplay based and Cameron curse or no, we will roll with it. 🙂