Chapter 432) Moments

“You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how you come back and prepare to win again.”

– Pat Riley
Del Sol Valley
Cromwell House

Looking up at her from the book he was reading, with his glasses and the glazed over look of someone who was still partially caught in the story they were reading, while sitting in an armchair next to the tall bookshelf, Maximilian reminded Aria-Grace more of a college professor or the typical stereotype of a grandpa than a young husband.

“Where are you going?” he asked in his always well enunciated Henfordian accent.

“Out.” she said sparsely.

“AG … out where? Outside into the garden? Out to your parents’ home? Out shopping?”

“Fiiiiine, meeting Rohan for coffee downtown.”

“Again?!” Max now put the book aside, got up and came to her.

And here we go again …’ AG thought to herself.

“Yeah. You wanna come? Rohan and I are going shopping afterwards. I invited him and Harrison and Aryelle to the award show I was nominated for. He feels like he needs an upgraded outfit and wanted me to be there to help him pick the right style.”

“Why can’t Nick go with him? Or his husband? Why you? And I don’t recall you offering me assistance with my outfit for the event, or am I no longer welcome?”

“Oh Max, come on now! You always look great. You used to be a Crown Prince, your clothing is tailored and so exquisite, you could go to the event in your pajamas and still look better and more expensive than the rest of them!”

“Very well, I shall join you then. Maybe I can use some of my exquisite taste to help him. Let me inform the nanny and get my phone and keys.”

“You’re not driving, are you?”

“Why not?”

“I am taking Pinkie. You sure you want to be seen driving that? There is never any parking downtown, we cannot fit your Bentley in edgewise!” AG blurted out. “Pinkie” had always been the nickname of her 16th birthday present, a custom pink Beetle convertible.

Max sighed.

“AG, look at me. I don’t think after everything that happened you should be seeing Rohan so much on your own. It is not fitting, and may tarnish your reputation, which is still on crutches after everything. And it makes me look bad. Just for a while, till the dust settles.”

“All right, we’re being honest here, let me try: are you afraid of me cheating on you?”

Max looked down for a moment, then back into AG’s eyes.

“It has crossed my mind. How could it not? For all we know, Rohan might still have a taste for women too, specifically you. There is a term for that. Bi-sexuality. I don’t know, neither do you. Maybe not even he does.”

“Wow. Thank you, Max. Rohan is gay, he likes men, the end. Were he not, he wouldn’t have had to break up with me years ago. DUH! There is another term, it’s called trust, I placed it in you when you travelled so much. I was stuck at the castle, well-guarded, tabs on me all the time, while you could have had your assistant bent over the table and I would never find out. How could I? You never offered to take me along, and when I asked, you blew me off. I had to figure out life far away from everyone and everything I knew mostly without you, but with strangers talking at me, probing, poking, nothing I ever did was good enough. And you weren’t there. And now you think I need to sit with you all the time, because this is new and scary to you?! Everyone always has opportunities to cheat, you, me. If a person wants to, they will, no matter where they are! I could be drinking coffee with Rohan, while you bang our nanny!”

“Aria-Grace, queen of my heart, I am not the cheating type, and I am convinced you know that too. Like you, even while travelling, I was never alone. At the very least there was always security and staff, usually my father as well. Besides, I only ever had male assistants and I am very much not homosexual. The travels I had to take as a Crown Prince were not fun trips, you know that. You would have been nothing but bored, the schedule was rigid, since father and I were such high-profile visitors. There was no sightseeing, not ever, unless it was prescheduled and part of the reason for the travels, I wasn’t allowed to leave the premises, and if, it was to look at more boring things, factories and such. We would have been separated all day, every day, as you would not have been allowed in the meeting rooms, the boring meetings lasted most of the day, not to mention there was even more security all the time than what you always complained about. If there were trips that were of a more friendly nature, celebrations and such, I always took you along. Always.”

“Okay, fine, you have good points there, but I AM the cheating type then?! And somehow with a married gay man who broke my heart at some point?! My brother’s best friend, my best friend too, whom I couldn’t even really talk to until very recently, and who had been a big part of my life growing up, and whom I FINALLY cleared the air with, in an admittedly unconventional way, but at least things are better between him and me now. THAT’s who you think I’d cheat with after we FINALLY unweirded things after YEARS of awkward moments if we ran into each other somewhere?! Seriously? Or are you maybe imagining me somehow raping Rohan to get back at him or un-gay him or some shit like that? Seriously? I look THAT desperate to you?”

“I didn’t mean it like that. None of that. I do trust you; I do. I am sorry that me leaving you so often back in Henford upset you so, I had to travel as the future king, the heir apparent, to build and nurture relationships with other nations and leaders. It wasn’t a choice. Or if it was, it certainly wasn’t mine to make.”

“Little good it did you, the traveling. They still got rid of monarchy everywhere, took almost everything you owned, and everyone you went on those many ass-kissing trips to meet with, the leaders, the politicians, they barely give a shit about the Cromwells and the Rinaldi now, all we are left with is lost time we could have spent together that would have made living at the castle easier for me. And even now, you are constantly gone, trying to fit in and rub elbows with the politician crowd, trying to be one of them, leaving me in new homes to fend for myself with two small children, and every time I find a good rhythm, you suddenly expect me to curl up at your feet like a dog, never to leave your sight whenever you ARE home? No, Max, I gave up my independence once, for you, to be your princess, not again. I was raised independent and strong, and I am not giving that up again. Not even for you. And honestly, Max, if I were the cheating kind, which I am clearly not, I have plenty of opportunities. I do not need to try and seduce my gay ex-fiancé, thank you very much!”

“Fair enough. I am sorry I upset you. I didn’t mean to. I have my insecurities as you have yours. And it is not you I worry about. It’s him. I always knew you still harbored feelings for Rohan, understandable the way it ended, he pulled the rug out from underneath you with his revelation. But hearing HIM say he still loved you irked me and really made me question a lot of things. I understand there are many different ways to love someone, and I choose to think his is a more platonic or a brotherly/sisterly kind, but I too face fears. I, too, have had the rug pulled from underneath me and sometimes I struggle with all the changes. This isn’t easy for me either, Aria-Grace.”

AG felt bad now, a wave of emotion and sheer love for him washed over her.

“Oh Max!” she exclaimed while launching herself into his arms.

Enveloping her, burying his face into her shoulder, he whispered into her ear

“I love you more than words can say, queen of my heart.”

“I love you too, Max. So so so so much. I don’t want Rohan like THAT anymore. I do love him, but not like THAT. That Harrison though, seriously. On my shitlist for life, but I am playing nice because of Rohan and because Nick asked me to. Even though I know Harrison is on his shitlist, too. The only one who doesn’t mind what he did is my mom, she was wondering how to announce that she won’t be retiring as ViVa after all without making her getting turned too big a deal, and the old adage that even bad publicity is still publicity worked in her favor. After the Harrison leak drama she was invited to all the talk shows, and she is going to every single one, says some wishy-washy stuff about the Harrison incident, something that dad legally pre-chewed for her, and then goes straight into the whole self-promo ‘Hey, by the way, I am back! Listen to my new single!’, which creates a diversion and gets the attention where she likes it, on her. Dad and Nick had the link taken down quick after we found out about it, both doubt many people thought of downloading it before it disappeared, so damage is controllable, they think in a few weeks nobody will remember it as they moved on to the next celebrity drama, and probably because everyone’s eyeballs are falling out about how great my mom looks, at fifty going on thirty.”

“My lovely pottymouth … truth be told, I am not Harrison’s biggest fan after what he has done, even though I have to admit, I can understand why he did it. Love hurts sometimes. Hearing my wife confess her love for another man was hard to take, even all things considered, so I imagine he had to feel the same.”

“You know what? Let me text Rohan and cancel. I want to stay home with you.”

“You don’t have to …”

“I know. But now I WANT to.” AG pulled out her phone and quickly typed up the message.

“You know I always envied you for your family? It’s the reason moving to be with you and them wasn’t as hard as you might think. The way I was raised, the way most royals are raised, have to be, is knowing that you have a certain purpose. Mine was to take over for my father one day, continuing the Cromwell line by finding a suitable wife and producing at least two male heirs.”

“Two male heirs? I hate to break it to you, Maximilian, but we have a boy and girl …”

“I know. And I wouldn’t change a thing. You wanted to stop at two and I went with it, a form of silent protest against old rules. I never told you this as I knew how you would react. My job since I was conceived was to carry on the name and legacy. My sister Genevieve’s was to marry strategically once she came of age. And Leopold was the spare kid. Conceived only as a replacement in case something happened to me, in case I can’t produce heirs or if I need a transfusion or heaven forbid, an organ. A century old practice. That’s why we never got close, my siblings and I, perpetually stuck between modern times and old rules. There was a lot of resentment between us, and towards our parents, even though we knew it wasn’t our fault and you know my parents were very kind and loving people. In a way, losing everything was tough, but also liberating to all of us. Not sure how much good it does any of us, that liberty. I am lost without any real purpose in life now, but I suspect I might still be the lucky one, the only one in my family who married for love, rather than having scoured debutant balls for someone of the proper background and rank whom I can stand enough to marry like my sister and brother had to. How my parents did. And their parents before them. For what it’s worth, at least our children will have a brighter future and actual choices.”

“Max! Oh my God! Why did you never tell me this? I had no clue. And you DO have a purpose. You are my man. We are a team. And you are a daddy. Admittedly, you and I both have a lot to learn, especially watching my brother and Addy making parenting look so easy, but we’ll get there. You’ll always be my prince on a white horse, even though they took the white horses. I love you.”

“I love you too, AG.”

“Max, do you like your job?”

“The truth? Not one bit. I abhor politics.”

AG giggled, he smiled.

“What do you WANT to do, if you could anything? I mean, I am wealthy enough, I finally have my career in music writing and performing my classic-and-pop-crossover pieces like I dreamed to do since I was a kid, like I performed on stage with my mom when I was a teen, it’s visionary, it’s different – and it pays, I am nominated for an award already, you can be my trophy husband. Mr. Mom, take care of the kids, we’ll fire the nanny. You could learn to properly cook … bet you’d look so cute in an apron. More specifically, an apron and nothing else.” AG giggled.

“I can always tell when you have been spending time with your Grandpa Blaine. Well, as enticing as being your personal maid, nanny and mostly bare apron-donning pleasure boy sounds, I do need a task, a real career. I always wanted to write. As you know I am an avid reader, but I also have a lot of ideas for fiction I could write, storylines in my head. Or I could write nonfiction, an autobiography, or maybe even telltale books, like the truth about monarchy, rigid castle etiquette and such. Now that it’s all history, who’s to stop me? What I know could fill more volumes than an encyclopedia.”

“DONE. I happen to know a few authors personally; I’ll get you in touch and you can brainstorm on how to get you started, pitfalls to avoid, such details. As a matter of fact, one is here in Del Sol Valley right now, at the Cameron Mansion, visiting. My Uncle Heath, Auntie Caitlin’s husband. He’s won awards for his writing. Writes under a nom de plume. But that’s all I know.”

“You don’t decide a new career just like that, Aria-Grace, my love.”

“Maybe YOU don’t, but I am a Cameron. We DO! Strap in tight and keep your hands inside the cart for your new ride, baby! AG’s taking over now. You will be typing up a storm till the fingertips blister, my beautiful prince.”

Windenburg Isle
Esmée, Michael and Nathan's home

Bursting into their bedroom as was his way, Michael shut the door without ever taking his eyes off Esmée.

“Holy crap, did I walk in on you trying on your wedding gown?”

With an annoyed look, one of her defaults, Ezzy turned to him, hand on hip.

“No Einstein, I was laying out my clothes for work tomorrow and thought I’d go with the most impractical thing I could think of. I think I nailed it.”

“WOW! You look … I … don’t … you … Dang woman, you’re making me stutter here. I don’t think I have ever seen you in a dress before, except at your sister’s wedding. Speaking of nailing it … I think I want to nail you, you are hot in a dress, girl!”

“Enjoy it while it lasts. I am not the dress type. So, you like this?”

“I just told you I did. You look amazing. Stunning. I feel like I shouldn’t see you like this. Isn’t that the rule? Bad luck to see the bride in her wedding gown before the wedding? We haven’t even set a date yet. I guess I need to go buy a suit. That’ll be fun, I never fit into anything unless it’s really stretchy, nobody carries small-Hulk slash ex-Werewolf frame sizes. Maybe I can find a stretchy tuxedo patterned track suit or something and we’ll just pretend it’s the latest trend.”

“I am not superstitious, neither are you. And I don’t care what you wear, it’s always the bride under everyone’s magnifying glass anyway. I have to watch my figure now, which is not fair, you always look like you do nothing but work-out all day, when I know you are just blessed with an overstimulated metabolism, muscles and size, you eat like a bottomless pit and the only exercise you get most days is lifting a beer can to your mouth while lying on the couch. The only reason I have this dress is because opportunity presented itself, I was on my way back to the office from a meeting downtown San Myshuno and saw this walking past a store window and just knew it was the one, so I grabbed it, didn’t have time to try it on until now. Well, it fits, so one thing less to think about. Decided to go with something other than bright white considering my virginity is about to turn 8 years old next month. Am not much for dusty old-fashioned rules, but stark white seemed a bit of a reach, all things considered. You and I did meet at a club. For an anonymous, no-strings one-night-stand quickie, while I was pregnant. Had you not taken it upon yourself to track me down and find me again later, that would have been the beginning and the end of Michael and Ezzy. Not exactly the type of ‘How I Met Your Father’ story you tell your grandkids.”

Michael laughed.

“Grandkids? So are we going into production before or after the wedding? Cos ya know, in order to have grandkids, we need at least one kid first.”

“Dream on. It was rhetorical. We both already have a kid each, that is more than enough for me. Since my daughter is a nerd like her father, the only thing she will ever give birth to is a brainchild or a book, so if you want grandkids you need to get your son on that. I need to do something with the top. Jewelry or a bolero or something.”

“Oh, I can do something to your top. And bottom. And everywhere in between too.” he went to her and started smooching around on her.

“Michael! Watch the dress. That shit is expensive, considering you can only wear it once. Maybe I can have it dyed or something later. I think that’s what Ashley did with hers after marrying my brother, need to ask her. Then again, his taupe-y color is pretty neutral, could pass for formal wear as is.”

“Are you afraid I get my lipstick and foundation on your dress? You’d be shocked to know I am a natural beauty.”

“Well, you natural beauty, you are also a brawny klutz, you break everything you touch, but maybe you can open my zipper – CAREFULLY – so I can get out of this fashion torture device. I don’t understand why dresses are still around. Impractical, that’s what they are.”

“Now we’re talking. I’ll undress you anytime you want. And I like dresses on you. Easy access from below. As you already pointed out, sex is how we met, so don’t blame me for liking it. We both do. That was the first thing we ever had in common. Turns out you are basically a female version of me, or I am the male version of you. No wonder we match so well, you’re a bitch, I am an asshole, sits and fits. You would have made an excellent She-Wolf, my beautiful wildcat. Tell me I am not right.”

“Well, my betrothed sex-addicted little asshole, your bitch has to change now. I have to catch the ferry; I am going over to Emmy’s house to look at some drafts she made for a remodel of the conference room at Cameron Enterprises. I’d offer to take you, but am not in the mood for another Connell vs. Michael showdown since I have to concentrate on blueprints and patterns.”

“Oh, I am not interested in going any more than you want me to go. Shame that you’ll miss it. Doesn’t sound too urgent and Emmy always has her hands full with her half-Vampiric brood and her Q-Tip of a husband. You will be busy with YOUR future husband. He feels unloved.”



“Do I need to get the rolled up newspaper? Down Wolfie, your master said no!” Ezzy laughed.

“Oh, we’re recycling Connell’s lame attempts at joking now? It’s never funny when the Fang tries, not funny now either.”

Her phone rang, she turned to answer, but Michael was faster. Since he was taller, he turned and was out of reach for Ezzy’s attempts to pry the phone from him.

“Hey Em, yeah, Ezzy isn’t able to come tonight. So sorry. See ya on Sunday at the Cameron family dinner!” he said then hung up.

Next he turned and placed the phone on top of a shelf out of Ezzy’s reach, then grabbed her, and picked her up as if she weighed nothing.

“Michael – NO!”

“Oh yeah ….”

With a swift turn he flung her onto the bed and followed before she could even try to scramble back up.

Categories Cameron LineageTags ,

3 thoughts on “Chapter 432) Moments

  1. So romantic! Both couples decided to spend time with each other rather than go anywhere else. ❤️

    I have to admit, I was a little worried that Max was gonna get angry and she’d leave mad. I’m glad they talked it out and we’re honest about how things were for her as a princess and how things are for him as a ‘commoner’. It seems Max has put any lingering doubts about her relationship with Rohan behind him. All of it was what AG needed to hear too. For her to cancel her plans meant a lot to him. ❤️❤️❤️. And she did it because she wanted to, not just to make him happy.

    Then we move to Ezzy in her wedding dress and Michael surprising her. Those two are indeed sex crazed! Lol. I love the way they honestly talk to each other. So much love between them. It’s clear that Michael adores her and wouldn’t change a thing. Canceling her plans and her letting him …. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Two VERY different couples, but both are making what life has fated them work – and are happier for it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Exactly. I loved the contrast between them.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to audreyfld Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close