“There are two sides to every story — especially if you’re a hypocrite.”
Home to Chase, Hailey and Connor Cameron and Colton, Maddie and Keira Vatore
Hailey had just sat down with a fresh cup of coffee, about to turn on some mindless daytime TV, when someone was at the door.
Grumbling, she considered playing dead, but decided against it, once she neared the door, she was glad of it, through the side window she could see her best friend since high school and also neighbor, Hadley Hammond.
Opening the door with a smile, Hailey could tell right away that something was off, Hadley’s eyes were red-rimmed, had dark shadows, plus she looked ten years older of a sudden. Then again, she was mother to three young children, and ever since having had Connor, Hailey could appreciate how much that could wear someone out, especially on days when she took over caring for Keira as well, Colton and Maddie’s little girl and quasi-twin to Colton, as they had been born on the same day. If two kids were this rough, Hailey could only imagine what three would be like.
“I am glad you’re home, never sure if you are traveling with the band or something. Still can’t believe I have such a famous friend, and she is living right next door like it’s nothing. I am not interrupting anything, am I?” Hadley mumbled sheepishly, very much unlike herself.
“Naww, just me trying to be a bored housewife for a minute. And I am not really famous, just the boy I fell in love with and his best friend are, I am just along for the ride. Want a coffee and watch some daytime TV with me, so we can talk trash about all of it or do you have to get back?”
“No, kids are at school and kindergarten. I’ll take some coffee, thanks. Is Chase home? I don’t want to bother him or Colton and Maddie.”
“The boys are home, but recording, we won’t see them for the next few hours and Maddie took the kiddos to the zoo with her parents. But it’s good you are here. I have something to talk to you about. Something … big and it will probably shock you.” Hailey said.
“Oh my God, are you and Chase …. are you splitting up?”
“What?! No. We’re good. Why would you think THAT? So random.” Hailey was taken aback, borderline insulted.
Hadley didn’t know where to look, her eyes found framed photos of Hailey, Chase, Colton and Maddie’s double wedding and recording together on the wall, causing her to burst into tears.
“Oh gawd, I am projecting my misery on you. I am so sorry. You are happy, you deserve it, and I am so happy for you…” she sobbed, taking Hailey by surprise.
“Holy crap Hads, what the hell is going on? Come on, sit. We DEFINITELY need to talk!” Hailey decided, guiding her now sobbing friend into the living room, towards the couch.
Hailey grabbed her own, untouched cup off the coffee table and handed it to Hadley.
Crying, sobbing, Hailey’s friend told her a partially incoherent mess about a cheating husband.
“Hudson? Are you sure? Really?” Hailey didn’t have to pretend to be shocked. She, of course, knew Hudson, Hadley’s husband, and he didn’t seem the type for something like this. A quiet, sweet, nice-looking but more introverted type. Him? A cheater? For real?
“Yes … I am sure. Hailey, I don’t know what to do. He is doing that, and I have turned into … this. My family has become a cliché. I don’t look anything like I used to, I am nothing like I used to be, and I have three kids. All I do, all I think about, are household chores, meals, diapers and homework. No wonder he lost interest in me.”
“Oh Hadley, they are HIS kids too! Things change when someone has a baby, I would know. Chase and I both are admittedly struggling sometimes, especially now that Connor and Keira started walking. UGH, those kids, I get nothing done anymore, and every time I turn around there is a new mess! So, with two school kids and a toddler running around I am sure Hudson understands that you can’t receive him home from work in ballgown, full makeup with a big smile every day, three course dinner on the table and the house spic and span. It’s not the 50s anymore! Thank God.”
“Maybe he does understand that, but it’s not attractive to him. So, he found someone prettier, younger. He’ll probably leave me for her.”
“Ahem, I doubt that. Come on Hads. I am sure you two just hit a hitch in the giddyup. Maybe that 7-year itch thing or something? I mean, you both got married so young and had kids right away. He was barely out of law school … I am sure some straight talking between you both and maybe a marriage counselor can fix this. And maybe I’ll just take you for a girls weekend away. We’ll get you a brand-new Hadley makeover, while we make Hudson watch the kids all weekend. That’ll work the kinks right out. For both of you. He’ll have a new appreciation for you after that.”
“As if he would agree to that.”
“As if we’d give him a choice! It’s my job as the 2Dark 2C band manager to convince stubborn high-level people of stuff, usually something to do with them parting with money, and they don’t like doing that, so if I can do that, I’d eat Hudson for breakfast. And if I can’t, I’ll get Maddie on it, she’s PR/Marketing and can sell bags of sand at a beach. And if all else fails, I’ll make Blaine do it. Hudson won’t stand a chance. And maybe, we’ll find some permanent solution to get the kids out of your hair for a bit each day and get you a career. Start part-time and when the little one starts school, full-time.”
“Yeah, that’s the other thing. I have no education past high school. All I am is a homemaker and mother. If he and I end up divorced, how would I even take care of myself, let alone three kids? I can’t do anything but be .. this. If my parents were still alive, I am sure they’d help. And my little brother has his own troubles to stay afloat. I am usually the one helping him. There are no careers for that.”
“Okay, Hads, first of all, you have me. I don’t abandon my friends. You know I will help best I can and I can be fucking resourceful, you remember that, right? And I also will attest that homemaker is hard work, I hate every second of it, and being a mother is TOUGH. Especially when I am watching Colton and Maddie’s little one too. Those babies will be the death of me. I have mad respect for all you do every damn day, knowing that Hudson barely is home in time to help, while I have a village helping me. Oh, speaking of death … ahem … there is … ah … nothing. Never mind.” Hailey was wondering if now was the best time to tell her best friend about her being-turning-into-a-vampire plans, but decided against it. Definitely didn’t need more drama here.
“Hailey, what’s your secret? You always look perfect. Everything just happens for you. You have it all. Chase adores you; your parents are so proud of you; his parents love you. You go to red carpet events and then stop by the little supermarket at the corner like it’s nothing. How? I want this. I want what you have. Maybe not the fame and all, but how do you to everything with such ease? Whenever I see you and Chase, you look so much in love, still, he treats you like a queen – and he is Blaine Cameron’s son! You and I are small town girls from working class families, but you somehow landed the lead singer of 2Dark 2C! That’s just insane! You’ve been with him for as long as I have been with Hudson, you have a kid now and still everything is like you just met between you. I am falling apart just as my life is.”
“Ahem … I … don’t know. We don’t really do any of this deliberately. I mean, I have flaws aplenty, Chase has his flaws, some of which could drive me nuts, and his dad – I love Blaine, seriously, but if you are having a rough day and get exposed to Blainisms, oh, I just wanna kill him sometimes. Then again … he is where Chasey got his sweetness from, and Blaine is also part of the village helping me raise my child. I guess the grass is just always greener elsewhere.”
“My in-laws barely come by. Hudson takes the kids to them. I am sure he is embarrassed by me. Or maybe they don’t like me anymore. I don’t know.”
“I am sure that’s not it. Come on Hadley. But if you are this unhappy, maybe it’s really time to pull the plug. You wouldn’t be the first single mom. Especially if you are sure that he has some side-chick. Cos I tell you what, I would not tolerate that with Chase, not even once, and he has plenty of opportunity. All those fangirls can seriously test a relationship. Nothing like standing right next to your husband and have some half-naked hussies scream out loud that they wanna screw him. I mean, they are lucky I am lady. Cos if I weren’t, they’d be limping and bleeding. URGH!” Hailey trailed off topic.
“Hudson’s an attorney, Hailey. If I were to divorce him, as much as I may want to make him pay for hurting and humiliating me so, he’d take my kids. And the house. He paid for it, or better, his parents did. Where am I supposed to go? Move in with Asher? I love my little brother, but that is not an option.”
“I am sure he wouldn’t and couldn’t. Plus, Hudson is specialized in corporate law. And then there is also alimony and child support. Besides, a real divorce attorney knows how to keep Hudson from screwing you over. Okay, I have an idea. Chase’s brother-in-law is an attorney, he has his own law firm and does divorces too. You know that big poster there in the hallway near the kitchen with 2Dark 2C and ViVa on it? You know ViVa is really Chase’s older sister Vivien and her husband just happens to be said attorney, a very good one. Let me call him. I am sure Liam can and will help us. He may do it pro bono for you.”
“Oh gawd, more famous people and charity now too. Oh jeeze.”
“Relax, Hads. Liam’s a real cool guy, totally chill – and really easy on the eyes. Bonus, right? I mean, when he starts talking all that bone-dry legal stuff at ya, you can imagine him shirtless, and the sun rises again.” Hailey tried to cheer up her friend a little, naturally, in vain.
Hesitantly, but hurried, Hailey stepped away to call Liam, who just happened to be in the car nearby on his way back out to Brindleton Bay, so he immediately agreed to stop by.
When he did, only a short time later, he had a young woman with him, his paralegal, as he explained.
With Hailey’s guidance, Hadley told him the story, about her clues and confirmations, about the text messages she read.
Liam nodded, took notes.
“Okay, let me look into this a little more. What did you say your husband’s name was, Hadley? May run a little background check on him, to see if we dig up anything there we can use if worst comes to worst.”
“Hammond. Hudson Lee Hammond.” Hailey told him, Liam froze, his eyes got big, but not as big as his paralegal’s.
“Fuck me sideways!” Liam exclaimed before he could help it.
“What?” Hailey wondered.
“Ahem … it appears I won’t be able to help you guys after all. Sorry Hailey, Hadley. I seem to have a conflict of interest here. Miss Douglas here, is a … well … so she is a former intern of your husband’s, Hadley, and ahem … “
“I am the other woman.” Meaghan said quietly.
Hailey let out a tiny, surprised scream, Hadley sat there frozen with her mouth agape and Liam stared at Meaghan as if she were a giant cockroach.
“WHAT?!” he roared at her.
“I … am sorry.”
“You’re sorry! Are you fucking KIDDING me, Meaghan!? Did you forget WHY your mother asked me to take you on in the first place? To keep you away! You said you ended it.”
“I tried. I did …mostly. But … I love him. You and mom just don’t get it. LOVE him.”
“Meaghan what the hell? You are gonna explain this to your mother. I am not even …. nope. Not with a 10-foot pole.” Liam roared at her.
“I LOVE him. And he me! You just don’t understand! Nobody does!” Meaghan cried out, jumped up and ran out.
“Jeezes H. Christ! I am sorry, ladies I was assured this was history months ago. Guess not. Let me ask around for someone who can help you. I’ll be in touch. Ahem, Hadley, apologies for this, it was nice meeting you, despite the circumstances and very sorry about …. whatever this is. Hailey, I’ll call you later with some attorney names and numbers for this.”
Liam hurried out as well, leaving Hailey with her sobbing best friend, who disappeared in the downstairs bathroom, Hailey could hear her crying inside.
“To think I was gonna be the one dropping a bomb on Hadley about me going to eventually be turned into a vampire. Seemed like a big deal earlier, now I feel like a little kid with a drawing in the middle of her parents fighting. Welcome to my perfect life, oh man.” Hailey mumbled to herself.
But little did Hailey know about the ripple effect this already had set in motion. The first domino had been tipped and the result was unstoppable. Over the next weeks, many lives were affected.
After Liam had taken Meaghan home and told Lana the news, a huge fight ensued, ending with Meaghan packing a bag and leaving home, only to return the next day in tears. Naturally, Eric and Lana took her back in. Blinded by the rose-colored glasses, she had tried to run away with Hudson, make him leave his wife and start over with her, but with the gun to his head, he had blown the 18-year-old off. As painful as it was, maybe she needed that to finally break free from her unrealistic crush.
Next door to Hailey and Chase’s home another huge fight ended with Hudson admitting his affair with Meaghan. After some days of drama, their marriage on the rocks, Hadley forgave him.
Once Meaghan was over the worst heartbreak, Lana and Eric asked Rhys and Sam, Rhys’ fiancée, over to join them and Meaghan for a family dinner, which turned out to be an excuse to drop the next bomb.
“Guys, we have some very unexpected news. Daddy and I are having a baby.” Lana said.
“WHOA!” Sam burst out.
“HUH?! Wait – one more time, cos I don’t think you just said what I heard you say!” Rhys muttered.
“Oh yeah, Rhys, she said what you think you heard, cos I heard it too! Mom, don’t take this the wrong way, but …. aren’t you too old? No offense.” Meaghan wondered.
“None taken, I had to listen to it at the ob/gyn too. I may not be at prime conception age with my 45 years, but your daddy is only 35, he and I, we talked and talked about it and decided to chance it. We didn’t think it would actually happen, and so fast too. Well, so far, all is exceptionally well per doctors, I am taking all the pills they want me to take, so far, it’s just been a regular pregnancy. My belly is starting to get harder to hide, so we felt it was time to let you guys know now. I am almost to 3 months. So, with some luck, you guys will be big brother and sister to a true love child come fall, barring any bad news. We are excited and very much looking forward to it.”
“Yes we are. After losing Emily so tragically when Rhys was still so little, right when she and I had just started trying for another baby, I just never thought I would ever have another child. Took me so long to fall again, when I least expected it I did, for a special woman who is beautiful inside and out. We would ask you kids to be kind about the news, your mother and I are sure this is a huge surprise, but she has a particularly rough time, because she lost a pregnancy before she and I met, just when she was this far along, so this is a delicate subject to both of us. We are nervous, happy and excited.”
After a moment of stunned silence about Eric’s heartfelt words, Rhys, Sam and Meaghan jumped up and hugged the parents-to-be.
Author's Notes: All the drama going on here was game steered and not orchestrated by me. Hadley really has been Hailey's friend since they were young teens, they really are next door neighbors in Newcrest, all the rest just happened in the background.