“There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.”~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
Newcrest Sharma Residence
AG inhaled deeply, then raised her hand and knocked. Her heart was beating like a nervous drum, it felt as if it were to explode even though it only took a moment before the door was answered.
Rohan’ face reflected genuine surprise. Borderline shock.
“Hey. Is this a bad time?” AG felt her heart flutter, her hands started shaking hard, so she stuffed them into the pockets of her coat.
“No, not at all! What a surprise! Please, come on in.” stepping aside to allow her in, Rohan stared at her as if she were the proverbial pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
Standing awkwardly in his hallway, she looked around curiously, more to avoid looking into his eyes than for genuine interest in her surroundings, while Rohan looked at her, wondering if he should hug her, but decided against it.
“Oh, that’s right, you’ve never been here! Would you like a tour?” he offered.
“Sure.” she smiled shyly.
Smiling, Rohan took her coat, hat and scarf, hung all of it up neatly, then lead the way, first the downstairs, then she followed him upstairs. In the nursery, her eyes caught a photo of a beautiful toddler who clearly resembled Rohan, along with a photo of his older child, daughter Aryelle as a toddler with Adrianna, AG got sad. She was the one who got to name Aryelle, almost 7 years ago now. Rohan noticed her gaze.
“Yeah, Aryelle is a big girl now, and Arvind is getting big too. Adrianna came by to pick him up less than half an hour ago, you two must have passed on the highway like two ships in the night. I had to finish a paper for work. Harrison is catering an event for his job, so she offered to come get him.”
“Oh, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt anything. Just an impulse visit …if this is a bad time, I can leave …” AG told him.
“Please don’t, no need, I am done. Without a toddler needing my attention every two minutes I got it knocked out pretty quick. Now the silence is making my ears ring. Strange, huh? Come on, let’s go downstairs and I’ll make us some coffee. I need it and you are a Cameron, even if no longer in name.”
“Coffee sounds good. I know the feeling, imagine two toddlers at once. Sometimes, I literally cannot hear myself think. Everyone tells us they are amazingly well behaved, well, if that’s true, I don’t want to fathom what other parents go through.” AG said while following him downstairs.
“Yeah, yours definitely are special and really well behaved, I’d agree with that. Interestingly enough, with as many babies are I bring into this world you wouldn’t think so, but I remember both births of yours like they were only yesterday. Even though I was late to the party for Victoria. You have never been the most patient girl, evidently neither is your daughter, and my flight was delayed several hours … eesh. That was an interesting time for all of us.” Rohan reminisced while making the coffee.
“Rohan I am sorry.” Aria-Grace said plainly.
“Sorry for what?” he turned to her, then walked over to her.
“Everything. I know you have tried so hard, and I tried, but I just couldn’t get over it.” AG’s crystal-clear honesty might have surprised most, but not Rohan.
“Yeah, I get that. Better than you may think. I couldn’t forgive myself for a long time. I had to get over it though. Being a brown-skinned gay single dad wasn’t easy. I had to pick my battles.” Rohan matched her plain honesty.
“Remember how we used to talk. About everything. Even the weird stuff?”
“Of course, I remember. Half the time it was on the phone, you in DSV, me at Nick and Addy’s penthouse in San Myshuno.”
“I can’t do that with Max. Not really.”
“I know what you mean. I can’t do that with Harrison either. We don’t keep secrets, but I still can’t say everything.”
“Rohan, can we talk about everything again, like we used to? I need that again. I need you in my life again.”
“I would love that! I missed you, AG. More than you will ever know.”
“Okay, here’s TMI for you, Rohan. You know why I have been so absent and why it has been weird every time I tried to spend time with you? Why all the attempts of clearing the air between us ended up failing in the end? Because of us. Because of what we used to have. What we used to be. Because you used to be my lover and so much more. My fiancé. The man I was gonna marry. The man I loved since I was a child, and the man I thought I was gonna love forever. I still love you, Rohan, even though you fell out of love with me. I just can’t turn it off. I tried. I tried so hard. I know it’s wrong, I know it can’t be, I know it’s not supposed to be, but I can’t stop it. The only way I found to deal with it was distance.”
“AG, you’re wrong. I never fell out of love with you, which makes this all the harder. I still love you too. I am attracted to men, sexually, but my heart hasn’t changed. I never regretted what we had. What we did. The one regret I have is how it ended. And THAT it ended.” Rohan’s voice was soft, but sincere.
“So, when you think back on us …hugging, kissing, doing stuff, you know, intimate stuff, you’re not disappointed and grossed out?” AG wondered bluntly.
“WHAT?! No! Everything we did was amazing, AG. I don’t regret anything. Why would I be grossed out? Because I am gay? That’s not how this works, AG. What I realized about myself doesn’t negate the past. Or my feelings for you. Past or present. Clearly, I wanted you, just as you wanted me. There was something between us, something very special.”
“Really? I was so heartbroken to think that my first time, something so very special to me, a once in a lifetime experience, had been wasted on someone who thinks I am gross cos I have the wrong body parts.” AG admitted.
“Aria-Grace, I never once thought that! Never crossed my mind. You are a beautiful girl, AG, inside and out. Everything we ever did together was special to me, and I would not change it for the world. My taste is for something different, but that doesn’t lessen what we had. Coming out to you, breaking up with you, was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I often lay awake wondering if I should have just let it ride. I was never unhappy with you, but I wasn’t complete.”
“Thank you for explaining that to me, Rohan. When we were together, to me it always felt so right, so good, I couldn’t understand how I could have missed you’re gay. When you came out ot me out of the clear blue sky I felt betrayed somehow, as if you knew all along, but faked it. Like I was nothing more than your beard.”
“I never faked anything. You were never a beard, you were the center of my universe. I get that the news were hard to hear for you, but how do you think I felt when at the ripe age of 27 – and as a medical doctor, no less – I suddenly figured out I was gay, after fighting to win you back and getting engaged to you for the second time. Talk about losing faith in yourself. I don’t know how I could have missed it all those years, I was so wrapped up in you, I guess it never occurred to me that I may like men.”
“Yeah, I can see that. You should be a Cameron, cos weird is our brand, man. If you only knew, Rohan, how weird my family really is. We just upgraded another level again.”
“I DO know. Nick called me after you guys had that meeting at your parents’ place few days ago.” Rohan shrugged.
“Nick that old tattletale. I was gonna be the one to tell you. To prove that I mean it, that I want to tell you everything again, that I trust you. I need you back in my life, Rohan. Like we were. Well, minus the … ya know, certain aspects.”
“Okay, since you have been very honest with me, allow me to overshare things I shouldn’t even be thinking: I still love you too, AG, every bit as much as I did when I proposed to you, the first and the second time. I don’t think I could ever NOT love you. I don’t know how that is possible either, I love Harrison, but a different way. Try being in my shoes with THAT insight. A homosexual who loves his husband, but also still loves his female ex. Yeah, I think I already am an honorary member of the Cameron weirdness.”
“No kidding. Too bad Nick is straight. You two would have made a great couple and you could be a Cameron in name too. It would be fitting.”
“Oddly enough, Nick’s not my type.” Rohan winked at AG.
“Oh, but I was? How do you explain that? Nick and I look like twinsies with 6 years separating us, you weirdo. You just kindly overlooked my boobs or something?” AG giggled.
“What boobs? I never found any.”
Laughing, AG swatted at Rohan, clearly joking, until she just collapsed into his arms, he enveloped his around her, kissing the top of her head.
“You know what, Rohan?” AG said.
“Living at a castle is SOOOOO overrated. Everyone has this cutesy fairytale idea of it, when in reality it SUCKED a big one. I lost all independence, and ended up HATING it and when word came that monarchy would go away, I had such a hard time pretending to be sad and concerned. What I really wanted to do was pack my bags right away and do cartwheels to the airport to go back home to Del Sol Valley or San Myshuno – hell, even Windenburg is a million times better. And I had to really keep myself from burning all those dowdy clothes I had to wear as a princess on some bonfire. I abhorred that ugly unfashionable crap soooo much! I felt like I was a student at the boarding school from hell! As pretty as it all was, I really second-guessed my choice! I think that is why they pressured me into having kids right away, because had I not had William and Victoria I would have probably run away long ago. The only thing I really miss about all that are the horses, I was finally getting really good at riding. But at least now I got a car again and can drive myself, go where I want, when I want, having a driver is nice, but I couldn’t leave at all anymore without prior approval. It was awful! I am so glad I can be AG again! Nobody was allowed to address me like that at the castle. URGH. I am so glad to be out of there. Poor Max! His childhood home, everything he knew, completely gone – even his parents died a few months ago just weeks apart – that was really sad, they were both so sweet to me – yet I am over here celebrating that I got to go home to MY family and am all happy. I am a horrible person!“
“No, you’re not. I totally get it! I hated visiting you at the castle, you just never really belonged there if you ask me. It was cool initially, but the novelty wore off fast for me too. I couldn’t take one step without someone giving me instructions, not to mention Harrison and I both getting lectured about keeping our romantic displays to a minimum. Nothing like some prim and proper palace dude telling two gay men not to be too gay. Harrison and I were so pissed at that, we debated going all out hot and heavy in the lobby, but I didn’t want to humiliate you, so we didn’t.”
“I kinda wish you had done that just to watch those etiquette wranglers all get heart attacks! When I first got there, I had lessons on how to eat, sit, speak. Seriously? I had just graduated college with top grades, my mother is ViVa, meaning Nick and I grew up in upscale hotels and with the creme de la creme of society, yet I get to the castle and they treated me like some wildling they rescued from the woods somewhere! I would have never stopped laughing if you and Harrison would have given them something to bitch about! We’re awful. Both of us.” she giggled.
“We sure are. Scum of society.” he agreed chuckling.
“Rohan? What do you think about my mom and dad getting turned?”
“Like I told Nick, I think it’s cool. Suits them. Liam was like a father to me when I needed one the most, when first my grandpa died and then my grandma and I was suddenly all alone at 16. He took me in and treated me like his own. Your family was my family when I didn’t have one anymore. Then Liam’s heart attack when I was still in my medical residency was a scary reminder of how fragile life is and how fast it can be over, cos I have never seen a fitter man than him. So, with that in mind, I like this development. A lot.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Good point about dad. I guess this is good news after all. I was just so shocked. So weirded out, and I don’t even really know why, I mean all my life there have been Vampires close to me. But in reality, even with mom and dad transformed now, I guess not much will change really.”
“There you have it. Nothing to fret about. AG, are we good? I mean, really this time? We have had a talks like this before, but … ya know. Somehow we always ended up in the same place, which was distant and detached.”
“Yeah, we’re good. Talking to you like this, being so close to you again reminded me of what really matters. You matter. Even if it’s weird. But somehow this time it feels different than before. You feel like … Rohan again. Not some guy who looks and sounds like Rohan, but actually you. Yeah, this feels right. We’re good. I can do this.”
“Thank you, AG. I can’t wait for you to meet Arvind. He talks now. I think the last time you saw him was as a newborn when he had just come to live with us from the surrogate. Been almost a year.”
“Why did you let Aryelle go live with Esmée? Not complaining, I see her a lot now, but so weird.” AG wondered.
“Oh, I forgot you and Ezzy don’t really get along.”
“We get along if we have to. She’s my cousin and my neighbor now, ironically. So, I see Aryelle quite a bit. I didn’t feel like prying and Elle just said she wanted to get closer with her mom. I mean, I get that, but for that she could go spend weekends, since Ezzy works all the time anyway during the week.”
“Yeah … Okay, so the official story is that Aryelle requested it to build a relationship with her mother. Of course, I support that, considering how much time Ezzy lost in the beginning.”
“Official? What’s the unofficial story then? Do I dare ask?”
“Oh, it’s nothing terrible, just typical kids stuff. Aryelle really wanted this and wouldn’t stop begging. I was almost offended, after how close she and I have always been, now she wants to move to her mother’s? Then I finally figure out why. As a father, it pains me to say this, but I am convinced that my little darling baby has a crush on her much older unofficial stepbrother. You know, Ezzy’s boyfriend’s son.”
“Nathan?! OMG! That is hilarious!”
“Not for me. She’s only 7, I feel that’s a bit young for crushes. Wait till yours are old enough, you’ll understand.”
“Aryelle is practically a tween now. You knew some first crush thing would happen at some point. At her age it means nothing. Now if she were a teen or something, then maybe I’d be worried too, but she still plays with dolls. Naw, it’ll blow over. But Nathan? OMG. I have to question that girl’s taste in boys.” AG giggled.
“Tell me about it. I was prepared to one day have my little baby daughter drooling over some boyband member. Maybe an actor. But that kid? His father is pretty much the exact opposite of me, the butch manual laborer Neanderthal type, and his son seems to take after him. Oh dear, to think that is what my little girl likes? I dread the day she really starts dating and brings home Popeye, the Sailor for me to meet. Luckily is that Nathan a typical teen boy and has everything on his mind except a little kinda sorta stepsister, so he mostly ignores her mere existence. Sooner or later Aryelle is going to realize that and will want to come back home. At least that’s my prayer. I miss her badly. Even if I only get her back in time to dry the tears of her first heartbreak. Over some kid who’s half-way zoned out mentally most of time due to hormones running wild and who calls me Ronan, no matter how often I correct him. Apparently, I look Irish to him. Slainte then, that’s all the Irish I know. I just hope life never takes him to India, it would be a rude awakening when everyone looks Irish to him there too.” Rohan smirked.
AG doubled over laughing, Rohan had to laugh too.
When they calmed down, AG looked at him.
“Do you remember how we used to dance in Nick’s living room?”
“Vividly. Stereo is over there in the living room and all yours, DJ. Find us a tune, and I will be the best Frank Sinatra I know how to be, so do your worst, Ginger. Oh, where are my manners? May I have this dance?” Rohan bowed slightly.
“YAY! You may!” AG squealed, ran over to the stereo and found a station she liked, where ‘Endless Love’ by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie just started playing.
Swaying to the tunes, both started singing along to the lyrics, which is why neither of them heard the door being unlocked.
Anyone would have to admit that the scene presenting itself to Rohan’s husband Harrison had to look dubious at best, two former lovers swaying in some too close for comfort embrace while proclaiming their endless love for each other in song would probably not sit well with even the most trusting spouse …