After drying off her hands, Sophie halted and stroked gently across her swollen baby bump. Almost to the third trimester now.
She looked up, the eyes looking back at her from the reflection in the mirror showed her the same shy girl she always had been and deep inside, still was. The eyes of the wallflower who had no real friends all throughout high school, who never went to prom, as no boy would ever spare her a second glance, and she was just too shy to ask anyone herself. Sophie saw the same homely wallflower who loved to watch old black and white movies, dreaming to one day have a life like those perfect little housewives, a husband to love on and spoil, who would love her for it and give her a house full of kids. The type of dream her siblings would make fun of her for, and which downright angered her very emancipated oldest sister Esmée so much. The only fights they ever had growing up had been about those movies and dreams nobody could understand.
In less than two years those dreams had become more real than she would have ever dared to imagine – and then some. Through the strangest circumstances she had met, fallen for and married a guy who became a celebrity after they met, a strikingly handsome man, flamboyant, with intensity and presence on stage and off, who changed his entire life because of her and for her, who loved her for her, just the way she was, told her daily that she was beautiful, who had made her his wife, a mother to a son, another one on the way. He made her feel beautiful, special, worthy. She gave him unconditional love, a home, stability and with it the strength to continue resisting the temptations of his old demons, his addictions, which had nearly ruined and ultimately almost cost him his life.
It all sounded to good to be true.
No, it sounded downright surreal, crazy, and maybe in a way it was, but it also felt right, logical, like this was the path her life was always supposed to go. The path to get here hadn’t been an easy one, but now she was happy. Downright happy, no ifs, buts and whens about it. Just happy and content.
Her life had completely changed in not even two years, so fast, it made her dizzy just thinking about it. And not just Sophie’s and Stryker’s lives had changed.
It seemed that the vortex of changes had kicked loose a landslide of changes for the rest of the Cameron family and those closest to them, far beyond the city limits of Windenburg.
Most everyone had been or was in the process of moving, or at least remodeling, making lifestyle changes – in some cases all the above … had Sophie not been so wrapped up in her own life, it would have triggered her anxiety. Now it just felt like a long dream, and when she woke, everything had fallen into place somehow, somewhere and because of it, everyone in her life seemed happier now.
Sophie and Stryker had moved again, they now lived on the isle of Windenburg in her old, beloved childhood home, formerly known as the Cameron Estate, now rechristened ‘Hayes Estate’. Her old home, where she had spent the best childhood imaginable would now be a place where she would give her sons – and any future children – the same magical years of wonder and learning, while also making it a safe haven for Stryker, whose career could take a toll, but they were safe from fans and paparazzi here. For as long as Sophie could remember, everyone had loved this estate, but hated the intense financial burden it all put on its residents, all of which had been just regular people, and therefore always depended on Blaine Cameron’s kind help and deep pockets. While it was nice to have someone who could and would help, it left an uncomfortable feeling with all its prior owners. Now the newest owners were wealthy in their own right.
Stryker’s fast rise to fame had come with an impressive fortune, and since he and Sophie would have more children after the one they already had, Spencer, and the one she was carrying now, it seemed a logical move to Stryker, to relieve Sophie’s family of the beloved burden, while giving his wife a home she already loved and which was more than big enough for all the children they had and may have, knowing after the birth of the one Sophie was pregnant with now, they would try again before too long, as Sophie very much wanted a daughter as well. This solution was perfection for everyone involved.
Sophie’s parents Abigail and Jay now had moved into her previous home, the Lake House, the oldest Cameron residence in existence, the one where the family tree once started many lifetimes ago now. Needless to say, it was a very special place and had often been occupied by the oldest generation. While Jay and Abby were far from retirement age, they undeniably were grandparents several times over.
Stryker’s mother Theresa Hayes now was Sophie and Stryker’s newest neighbor, living in a tiny home just offset a little behind the Hayes Estate. Stryker had mixed feelings about it, but she didn’t hover or impose, plus Spencer loved his grandma.
Sophie’s four siblings were all still in Windenburg too, but the only one who had stayed put was Esmée, even though after a serious waterline break, her home had been a total loss and needed to be rebuild. At least it gave her and Michael the option to make changes and make it their own, plus Michael was a skilled bricklayer and the new home went up in few months. Esmée’s daughter Aryelle had now moved in with them – permanently – per Aryelle’s explicit request. Aryelle’s father Rohan was sad but understood the need of his child to really get to know her mother, now that Ezzy seemed more receptive, as many years had already been lost. Plus, Rohan and his husband had a new baby to take care of, conceived via surrogate, a son they named Arvind, an Indian name, Rohan was the biological father and of Indian descent, as was the surrogate mother.
Aryelle still saw her dad frequently and they spoke daily. While Esmée would never be mother of the year, she had come around tremendously and wasn’t the child-hating careerwoman of yesteryear.
Emmy, Connell and their three kids Jaymie, Fiona and Damon had moved back to the house Sophie’s family had been living in during extensive repairs on the then Cameron Estate, the twins had been children and the triplets teens when Emmy and Connell first met, in the very fields back behind that home, making the reason they chose that house obvious.
It had been a rental for decades, long before Emmy’s parents needed a temporary home for 7 people back when, so when the owners finally put it up for sale, Emmy and Connell bought it right away.
Ewan now lived in a beautiful home directly across the lake from the Lake House with his wife Ashley and daughter Ashton-Leigh. One of the little girl’s favorite routines was for mommy or daddy to lift her up to the window just before bedtime each night and wave across the water at grandma and grandpa who would already be waiting in their backyard to wave back at their granddaughter, before the little girl was ready to be tucked in.
Ewan and Ashley had both matured, Ewan had cut his long hair and Ashley quit dying hers purple.
Silas and his two toddlers had moved to a lovely home near city hall downtown Windenburg, he now could walk to work without depending on ferries.
Liam and Vivien had moved back into one of their previous homes, the second largest on the Windenburg Isle, same one they had lived in when their two kids Nick and Aria-Grace were still young, even Vivien had loved that home and was finally ready to semi-retire from the stage and enjoy calmer times. Liam had also semi-retired, offering legal counsel to the DSV crowd when needed, and helped out his son Nick here and there, which father and son both enjoyed tremendously. Originally, Liam and Vivien had intended to move to San Myshuno, but the hustle and bustle of downtown just didn’t strike the right chord, plus, both had wonderful memories and lots of important history in Windenburg.
Nick and AG were the main reason for the move though. Nick, his wife Adrianna and their son Ryan still lived in their penthouse in San Myshuno, depending on traffic about 45 minutes from Windenburg, but a LOT closer than Del Sol Valley had been.
But when looking for a new home, Aria-Grace found that the other home the Camerons had lived in during their stint in Windenburg when Nick and AG were still kids had gone up for sale. She called her parents and before the day was out both households had bought new homes and were gonna be neighbors now. Literally.
Moving happened fast, Liam was thrilled to be back in his hometown of Windenburg, and after a long while have both his sisters close, but both, he and Vivien were crazy-happy to now be close enough to see all three of their grandkids grow up without missing anything. They watched all three toddlers when the parents had to work.
Max was now a commoner; all titles and privileges were gone; both royal houses that had remained until then, the Cromwells of Henford-on-Bagley and the Rinaldis of Tartosa, had now been decreed away, by majority vote of the people. While the royals were generally beloved, they had been an immense financial drain and people got tired of tax increases only to be able to have the novelty of royals around, but who had no real benefit and only little if any influence on politics, making them mostly decorative. Even the royal castles had been seized and demolished – basically as a final reminder that there should never be such a thing as royalty ever again.
As sad as it was, Max and AG both felt a sense of relief. Castle life had been a golden cage for both, now they were free.
Since all younger royals had intense political training and education, finding new work for Max hadn’t been difficult. He joined the San Myshuno political circus and felt right at home.
AG was thrilled to be near her beloved brother Nick and of course Rohan again, and her parents of course. She was happy to be able to be called AG again and she instantly found a job in her dream career, as first chair of the San Myshuno philharmonic orchestra, playing piano and/or violin, which she had excelled at since she was a child.
The Del Sol Valley crowd saw change too. Gavin, Bianca and Jake moved back in with Blaine and Scarlett, who reluctantly admitted they preferred it that way, they had missed their youngest son, his wife, but most of all, little Jakey. Gavin and Bianca weren’t so reluctant to admit it at all. Their stint living alone had been interesting, but also curative. There was no place like home and their home was the Cameron Mansion and Del Sol Valley with Blaine and Scarlett.
Blake and Mila retired from acting and moved to their favorite place in the world, Sulani. Their son Reed, his wife and son Chandler were so used to being near his parents, that they soon followed them, not long after Reed’s twin sister Sheridan and her family joined them. At the level of fame and wealth they all were at now, acting had become more of a hobby, all were very selective with their roles, sometimes going many months without an engagement.
With two mansions now vacated, Fallon’s twin sister Blythe seized the moment. Living in Sulani, her husband Jensen’s birthplace, had been harder than anticipated for the naturally born Vampire. While she was used to sunny Del Sol Valley, island life was a very different animal altogether and it just didn’t sit well with her. Jensen loved her much more than his childhood nostalgia and moved them into a recently vacated home across the street from her twin sister Fallon.
Fallon, Bear and their twins remained in their home, it was close enough to her family and also across the street from Fallon’s best friend Starling. While it wasn’t in the prestigious DSV Hills, neither Fallon nor Bear cared, and nobody would dream of harassing them at their home, which had Personal Security signs all over it, and everyone who knew Fallon knew not to upset her. She had a very low tolerance level for BS and a very hot temper. Not the type of Vampire you would want to have angry at you if you were a mortal. Not to mention their latest family addition, an all-black Doberman Pinscher named ‘Hades’, after the Greek god of the Underworld. Hades had a similar personality as Fallon and wasn’t very keen on strangers but highly protective of his family.
Caitlin and Heath moved into a remodeled Victorian style home in Newcrest, down the road from Caitlin’s favorite brother Chase. The two always had the closest bond of all the siblings, so this change seemed natural. Their teen twin boys, Noah and Nolan, blossomed. Both boys were naturally born Vampires, but both had always hated Forgotten Hollow with a passion. Caitlin had too, but endured it for her Heath. Once he realized it, he had insisted on finding a new place to live. Caitlin had been a model since she was a teen, but had now taken up acting, as the fashion industry was getting old for her. Heath was a prolific author, specializing in screenplays, while under two nom de plums he had also successfully published dozens of bestseller list topping titles.
Chase, Hailey, Colton and Maddie had packed up their three toddlers and moved back to their original “Elysium” in Newcrest.
It was a true homecoming, all four had missed that home dearly, their favorite of all the places they had lived, and they threw even more parties than before. Their two grown kids Connor and Keira moved to Newcrest as well, into their first own home, just two houses down from their parents.
Sometimes, change is good.
3 thoughts on “Chapter 416) Coming Home”
So many changes. Well worth the wait in my opinion ❤ Loved this little update!
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Wow! Sounds like you’ve just about got everyone settled. So much work and it looks good too. Congrats! I laughed that Gavin and his little family moved back with Blaine & Scarlett. It was good to see Sophie so happy too. ❤️
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Loved this update of all the families!
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