“No matter how hard the past is, you can always begin again.”– Buddha
Eucalyptus Lane Rental Home
With a sigh, Keira pulled on a cardigan, while enjoying the light breeze in the crisp early morning air of what promised to become another beautiful, sunny early Summer day. While temperatures didn’t have much of an effect on her anymore, the memory of the sensation of the cool air on her arms was enough to send shivers down her spine.
In reality it was probably the melancholy and nostalgia of old memories, things that once felt natural, expected, eternal and everlasting, yet now weren’t anymore.
As hard as she tried to be understanding and patient, Connor’s decision to not join her on the trip to San Sequoia stung. She was deeply disappointed, and even the small gleam of hope that if she truly went through with it, he’d just run after her hadn’t materialized.
This was day three here without Connor.
The worst part was that she knew she was to blame for every little bit of it. Yes, Connor was disgustingly stubborn now, even after admitting to her several times that he still loved her, and only her. But sitting here alone, reflecting on everything she wasn’t so sure that if roles were reversed, she would react any differently. Hurt pride and damaged trust were a terrible combination, no matter how deep the love.
She pushed aside the thoughts of him with Lexie, then remembered that once more she was being a hypocrite. She had been with Josh. Oh Josh. Such a sweet, sweet guy. Smart, sexy, polite .. the perfect guy really. For someone else.
Had there never been a Connor, if Keira didn’t have her entire life filled with memories of him, maybe, just maybe, Josh would have been the man for her. Another one for the books to feel guilty about. She had nothing but good thoughts about Josh, but that wasn’t enough for her to even try to make it work with him, knowing she would always love another more. No, for her it had to be Connor or bust. The end.
With a sigh she went inside, to make coffee, halting, then with a smirk shoveled a few additional spoonfuls of coffee into the filter. Cameron-strong was the term coined by some past member of the Cameron family, who all seemed to be born with a deep love for coffee so strong it almost dissolved the spoon. Even she had adopted the appreciation for extra-strength coffee that put every espresso, every Turkish mocha she had tried during her travels to shame.
Another bout of melancholy hit as the delicious scent of freshly brewing coffee started to fill the air. Maybe if she hadn’t done what she had done she would be a Mrs. Cameron now too … Strange, when you have something, it doesn’t seem too important. Keira wasn’t the type of girl with all the romantic notions, never had been the kind of girl who would dream of a fairytale wedding even as a child. She never cared much about marriage, engagements, … until all that most certainly weren’t options anymore. Until none of it was to be anymore. Well, as the old adage goes ‘don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’.
“Mrs. Keira Cameron. Mrs. Keira Vatore-Cameron. Keira V. Cameron … hmm …” Keira tried the variations on out loud, just for the heck of it, her voice sounding croaky. She grimaced at herself for doing something to pointless. Sure, she and Connor were friends again. Ha, friends. They were polite, they even deliberately spend a little time together here and there, at each other’s homes in the shared areas, kitchens, living rooms, yards.
The only thing that still overshadowed the nearly visible sexual tension between them were the awkwardness and Connor’s subliminal distrust. It was probably not even that he didn’t want to get over it, he just couldn’t. Not yet. Until then they would be stuck in this no-man’s-land of awkwardness.
Keira inhaled and blew the air out heavily. It had been days since she had last spoken to anyone. Another point where she missed Connor the most. He had always been the Yin to her Yang, the outgoing, always upbeat one, while Keira had always been dark, quiet, withdrawn and brooding. Not the type to easily talk to people or make new friends, while Connor just entered a room and everyone would speak to him. The irony that she had been born the mortal and Connor the vampire when clearly each checked of the other kind’s stereotypical marks had never been lost on them. Getting turned, finally, when in her early twenties had almost been a relief to Keira. No regrets. Especially not knowing that him being the one having turned her forever bonded, ‘Sired’ as it was called in vampire circles, her to Connor.
Cup of coffee in hand now, she turned around the tiny rental home, pondering what to do with herself for the rest of the day.
TV? Computer game? Long bath? Read? Another lonely walk exploring cool things with nobody here to share it with? A knock on the door nearly startled her enough to drop the cup, as did the fact that through the top windows of the front door of her rental she spotted some telltale buttery blonde hair which she would recognize anywhere! Placing her cup on the counter she nearly tripped over her own feet hurrying to answer.
Some time earlier that same day
Connor groaned at the rough pat on his back, turned to find his grandfather Blaine.
“Kid, if you don’t cheer up we need to put up traffic cones so nobody trips over your long face! One could break something important.”
“Oh grandpa …”
“Ah. I know THAT sound. Answers my question too. So you’re still playing hard to get, huh?”
“I am NOT playing hard to get. It’s just … it’s … not so easy.”
“What? The part where you’re butthurt and cranky and want her to know how it feels to be rejected?”
“That is NOT it … it’s …”
“It’s EXACTLY it! Connor, you’re a fucking dumbass sometimes.”
“Wow, thanks grandpa. NOW I feel MUCH better. Thanks for the support.” Connor’s tone oozed sarcasm.
“I am not a binkie to make you feel better, and if you need support I’ll buy you a bra. For being a genius, you really have trouble seeing the big picture. All the stories your grandmother and I have told you about our bullshit, which was EXACTLY … to the T …. like your bullshit with Keira. All the fuckin’ heartbreak … you’d think you would have remembered back to that, I know we have told our kids and grandkids that old tale ad nauseum to make sure you don’t end up down that path yourselves. Yet here we are with the family genius sitting here sulking at his one-man permanent pity party, while Keira sits somewhere else, probably crying her precious little heart out …”
“Grandpa that’s just stupid, I am not sulking and Keira isn’t the type of uber-emotional girl, she doesn’t cry!”
“Connor, heartbreak makes EVERYONE cry. I cried. You cried. You probably STILL cry when you think nobody notices. I know I cried my little heart out, the full-on ugly scene with snot running and all when I went through this self-inflicted crap with your grandma when we were about your age. She gave me the boot cos I was mortal back then and she wasn’t, yet she wouldn’t even hear of turning me. I begged my lips bloody with her. Did a whole lotta nothing, so I took my toys and went home and wouldn’t even talk to her when she came after me to make things right, being ultra-stubborn of feeding her her own medicine I resented and rejected her like a total tool. Then I found out I had a daughter with her, we started acting more like adults, started to sorta get along, until we got along a little too well, and I started screwing around with her again – in secret. Trust me, sounds cool on paper but is a BITCH to live out, looking over your shoulder, pretending.
And when I FINALLY after many years had Scarlett convinced we could make it work, my own goddamn mother sends her running again cos she didn’t want her precious rainbow baby to end up with fangs. ARGH! Back to square one, except this time Scarlett wasn’t even talking to me. I was left in the dust holding my dick under some big permanent raincloud! I was still crying when I had married Bristol. Well, you know how the story ends. Then your damn Aunt Vivien and Uncle Liam did the merry-go-round of heartbreak for DECADES. One would think if you didn’t want to learn from my mistakes, you’d take heed to their struggles, but nooooo … here I am looking at the rinse, repeat yet AGAIN! I am not one to meddle in my family’s shit, but if you think for one second, I will let you go and marry that Lexie … I did that to Bristol, KNOWING I loved another, and I broke that poor girl’s heart. She’s dead and I am forever stuck with that regret I cannot fix. If you think for one second I would stand by and let you marry another, you haven’t met me yet! I’d wedding crash the shit out of that!”
“GRANDPA! Keep your panties on! Nobody is getting married! Where did you get that idea?! First of all, Lexie and I broke up. Weeks ago! I KNOW Caelan has gloated to everyone about how he had to save my ass because I can’t do all the vampire stuff properly. So don’t pretend, and I know my mom and dad definitely told you all about how and why I ended up going to Lexie’s dad’s funeral with her, which made her go from bullying me at work to trying to rekindle what we had, which made everything even more awkward. I am not marrying anyone, least of all Lexie Carrington. She’s a great girl, I am sure she’ll make someone a great wife one day, but that someone isn’t me!”
“Well, first good news I hear about all that Connor/Keira bullshit! So let me tell you this then, Connor, take it from me, you’re fucking yourself here with a big fat cactus. Keira screwed up first, yes yes, we all know that, she knows that. We all know she has been proverbially crawling after you on her knees begging for forgiveness, so, how long are you gonna make a girl whom you love so much run after you, kissing your ass? You had you moment of glory, she was wrong, you were right, whoop-de-do, moving on. You want her, she wants you, get over it already. Shit or get off the pot, kid. The longer you sit on your ass playing hard to get – and don’t you argue with me, yes, that is EXACTLY what’s up right now, you are punishing Keira – the longer you do that, they longer and worse you will hurt and she will hurt and your parents are all in an awkward position, your little siblings are confused AF – just like the rest of us. Why would you want to hurt the one you so clearly love? A blind man can see she loves you and is begging you to forgive her! That’s some next level cruel. Have you no mercy AT ALL?!”
“Mercy? Are you kidding me? And of course I don’t want to hurt Keira! In fact, the very last thing I ever wanted to do is hurt Keira! But you gotta admit it’s kinda hard to just walk this one off and act like nothing ever happened. So, fine grandpa, lay your wisdom on me, what do you suggest I do then?”
“Funny you should ask …” Blaine started, then the next thing Connor knew was his grandpa was very close, things went black and a loud buzz was surrounding them … they were porting somewhere and Connor could already guess where to.
Eucalyptus Lane Rental Home
“Connor!” Keira exclaimed, while he smirked at her awkwardly.
“Got room for one more?”
“YES! Always! You’re here! I can’t believe you came! Where’s your car? Don’t tell me you mastered porting while I was gone! It was only three days! I thought we were learning together.”
“Chill woman, we are … I was sort of … well, let me call it unceremoniously dropped off by my dearest grandpa, and most definitely an unplanned trip on my end. Long story …” Connor struggled to explain when he was interrupted when at that moment the canned sounding voice of Patsy Kline’s well-known classic filled the air out of seemingly nowhere, except both could see a tattooed arm with a sleeve of a black shirt peeking from beneath the shrubs, and the screen of a cell phone reflecting the rising sun.
“I’m back in baby’s arms
How I missed those lovin’ arms
I’m back where I belong
Back in baby’s arms
Don’t know why we quarreled
We never did before
Since we found out how it hurt
I bet we never quarrel anymore …”
Chuckling, Connor yelled into the great void
“Okay okay … stop the oldie station please … thanks grandpa, I got it from here now. Message received.”
Next, some heavy metal rock music howled up, right into the chorus of WASP’s song “Animal (F**k Like a Beast)” then remnants of a black cloud so telltale for Blaine’s departure blew from behind some nearby bushes. Connor and Keira grimaced at each other.
“Yeah, that wasn’t awkward at all … spare time suggestions by grandpa. I sure hope not all grandfathers are like that.” Connor said.
“I think Blaine Cameron only has two main gears, awkward or crude, but even by his standards, he’s on a roll, huh? Great introduction of the Cameron way to the neighbors. Bet they won’t come knocking anytime soon after hearing those plans … good thing you and I are not easily offended.” laughed Keira. Connor joined in.
“Yeah, he’s been in rare form today. I didn’t even get to pack. THIS is how I travel these days, evidently. I am lucky I had shoes on when grandpa did his relationship-fixer-drive-by thing and just abducted me.” Connor opened his arms and gestured up and down himself, snorting unamused laughter.
“Oh. Well, you look great to me, but maybe we can buy you some San Sequoia merch to represent and so you have a change of clothing. If you’re staying that is.”
“Do you want me to stay?”
“Is that a serious question?”
“It is a question I REALLY need to hear you say the answer to.”
“Okay. Yes, Connor, I REALLY want you to stay.”
Connor smiled big.
“Well, truth be told I don’t even have my phone, so I don’t have much of a choice but to stay. Do I smell fresh coffee?”
“You do! Cameron-strength too.”
Connor pulled Keira into an embrace, she slid her hands over his midsection extra slowly until she wrapped her arms around him.
“I miss you.” he said sincerely, and in those simple words were all the feelings, emotions, questions, realizations of the past year.
“I miss you more, always, everywhere.”
“Let’s go inside and figure out what I am gonna do. I may need to borrow your phone and call into work to see if I can take next week off. And then I need to see how I can find a toothbrush and something to wear, considering I don’t have my wallet either. This place doesn’t look like it has a lot of bedrooms.”
Smiling, she shook her head, then followed him inside, watched him look around, before turning back to her.
“This is … quaint.” he said.
“Tiny.” she agreed.
“One bed, I presume?”
“I can take the couch.”
She just looked up at him with a ‘WTF?!’ expression written all over her face.
He sighed, then nodded.
“That would be silly, wouldn’t it?” he acknowledged.
Keira nodded, her heart melting at the view of the grown, athletic man before her who currently seemed so much like the guy she had known since birth, with his irresistible boyish charm and smile.
“Immensely. We used to be engaged. Even with our breakup and detours, couch is way off the roster. We can manage a bed together without humping like rabbits. I have THAT much faith in us.”
He nodded, then followed her to the kitchen for the coffee.
Later that same day they had explored some parts of San Sequoia, had eaten a late lunch or early dinner when the sun began to set by the harbor. Keira insisted on buying Connor one of the hoodies from the merchandize stands and being the good sport he was, he wore it. The baby blue fabric matched the color of his bright blue eyes, the photo of San Sequoia’s famous bridge in the sunset was sweet, but the tagline was tongue in cheek for the young pair. In big letters it read “Getting Together in San Sequoia”.
Walking next to each other, her heart jumped when her fingers carefully played with his, their hands intertwined and for a moment they walked like that, hand in hand, like a real couple again, until Connor stopped them by pulling her closer.
Keira’s heart felt as if it would burst for joy when his lips found hers. Closing her eyes she completely let herself get lost in the kiss, felt his walls melt like ice in the sunshine, while the kiss seemed to want to go on forever. This kiss was different than those during their savage sex sessions while both were with other people. That was pure passion, angry, wild. This kiss was tender, gentle, sweet, but meaningful. This kiss meant he was ready. He had forgiven her. It meant both were ready for a new start.
When it did end, it wasn’t sad. Their eyes locked, even when the back of his hand gently rubbed across her cheek.
“Connor …” Keira spoke quietly.
He just nodded and she understood. She could feel him, feel what he felt, feel what he was thinking. Slow. Steady. Calm. Real.
“Con-Bear … my Con-Bear. Mine …” her words were but a breath as he brushed a strand of her hair behind her ear.
“Yeah. Yours. Always yours, Keke. We still got a lot of repairing to do. We need to do this the right way. But we’re doing it. I guess I was ready for a while, just needed someone to nudge me. Mom and dad tried, sweet and gentle, like great parents should, but I guess I needed a louder wakeup call. Enter my grandpa with the tough love. I still feel the outline of his proverbial boot on my butt.”
“Gotta love the tough love. Connor, you set the pace. I’ve waited for you to come back to me, I’ll wait for you to show me the pace you need. Anything, as long as you’re the prize I get to take home in the end – and get to keep you.”
“Your prize needs a shower badly or things are gonna take a bad turn here since I thought today was gonna be a lazy day in, wasn’t exactly planning for an impromptu vacation. And maybe I could text my parents from your phone, letting them know what happened to me courtesy my dad’s fabulous dad and maybe beg them to pack me some overnight bag and port over to the rental with it or this is gonna be a vacation to remember for sure. I have these clothes on my back and that’s it, no phone, no wallet, no change of clothes, so unless I wanna spend the next 7 days in the same underwear till they stand on their own, I need to handwash something, leaving me pretty exposed, which maybe you don’t mind too much, but the neighbors and passersby might feel differently, especially considering the rental doesn’t have any blinds or curtains. Knowing my luck, I’ll spend most of the week in jail for accidental indecent exposure.”
“Well, you’re probably right, even though personally I wouldn’t mind you indecently exposed. I even take you musky and sweaty. Won’t even complain. But I agree, no free show for others, that’s where I draw the line for sure. I learned I don’t like sharing, especially not you. And I also don’t enjoy jailtime. We both tried that before. Let’s just not.”
They began to walk, hand in hand, Keira close to his side as they made their way back to the rental home and the vacation truly began for Keira.
There would be a Connor and Keira again.
Subsequent to that day they spent a wonderful Summer week in San Sequoia, neither could recall laughing this much in a very long time. The had serious talks, fun teasing, shared sad memories, good ones … and everything in between. Together.
They explored the seaside town, played in the water, went to the art center, watched several movies, missing most of the on-screen events too busy rediscovering how much fun kissing each other was. They tried every restaurant they could find, every cafe, went on walks, rented bikes, and they fully indulged in being friends and in love again. They kissed, they held hands, but the nights were spent in each other’s embrace, without taking it to the final level, until the night before the last day in town, when they became lovers again in every sense of the word.
Unrushed, unplanned, unscripted, but slow and tender, each of them was ready and enjoyed every moment of it. This wasn’t the brute, unbridled passion from the last two times they landed between the sheets with each other, this was right, part of the natural flow of things for them.
A few days after they returned home, Keira came over to pick Connor up to go to the movies, but he asked her to the backyard first.
“I spent a LOT of time here sitting on that bench, staring into the fountain, seeking answers, hoping it would give me a clue on what to do. I love this spot, so peaceful and serene, but I have the enlightenment I need. I don’t know if this is too soon, but .. here. I want you to wear it again. It’s yours. Has always been yours. I only held on to it.” Connor said, then took her hand and slid something on her finger.
Her engagement ring.
He still had it! He had kept it. And he wanted her to have it again! Keira’s heart nearly burst. She looked at the ring like the second rising of Christ, swallowed. Then she looked up at Connor and told him,
“Connor Cameron! DOCTOR Connor Cameron … I wasn’t expecting this, but I need to do something first, beg for your heart to officially be mine again for all eternity. Connor, my handsome, beautiful Con-Bear, will you make me the happiest, luckiest girl in the world and marry me?” while speaking, Keira had slipped the ring off her finger again, lowered herself down on one knee, holding his ring out to him.
Chuckling, Connor took the ring while pulling her back up to standing and into his embrace with ease, while slipping his ring back on her finger once more.
“Of course I’ll marry you, Keke. I love you. And thank God you didn’t get fat and the ring still fits. That would have been seriously awkward.” he said, laughing she swatted at him.
“Wow, rude! You are lucky that I love you so much.”
His laughter, became a sweet smile and he nodded when he told her with sincerity in his voice.
“I know.” he winked and Keira understood the ‘Star Wars’ movie reference.
Author's Note: That last bit there was completely unplanned. While I was playing Connor, Keira came over, so I worked on building up their Romance Bar again and she went totally off script (see in-game shot below). I was hoping a little bit that he would say no, at least for now, since this is not exactly the 'taking it slow' I kept pushing in the storyline chapters up to this one, but of course he went for it. So, evidently these two want to be engaged and who am I to stand in their way? Now, if you know me, you know there won't be a wedding right away. They still have to rebuild a lot of trust and maybe, just maybe, move out of mommy and daddy's places first? So before we walk down any aisles aside from grocery store ones, we have a long to do list and I am putting my foot down, there won't be any off-scripting this over my head. 🙂 Also, the photos at the end went from sunshine to VERY foggy - and me living in a very similar setting to San Sequoia in real life, I can confirm that actually DOES happen. The fog is called a 'marine layer' and plops down juuuuust like that. 😉
The cute little rental they are staying at in San Sequoia is actually my first residential build in that town, I have been busy replacing the buildings and filling the empty spots, as I do. It may get uploaded eventually, but hasn’t yet.
6 thoughts on “Chapter 451) Song”
Blaine to the rescue in his no holds barred way, cutting to the chase and telling it like it is. I’m glad they didn’t jump into bed right away, but let it happen naturally. And yes, if the game took over and he said, well,it was meant to be. Lovely pictures as always imparting the right mood. ❤️ I’m glad they will continue to take it slow. Eventually the hurt does go away as long as they are committed and it certainly looks that way.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much for your lovely words on the photos! I appreciate that more than you know!
Connor admitted that his parents were so supportive with his plight, but he apparently needed a swift kick in the butt as only a Blaine can give. And Blaine was never mean, just direct. And a little bit crude, but that’s his brand. 😉
Connor and Keira back together. They way it was meant to be. TBH, I didn’t like them apart, I much prefer this and judging by that impromptu proposal via Keira, so do they. Sometimes you just gotta lose something to appreciate it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree. Them with other people didn’t feel right. It was hard to see it. I’m glad neither hold ill feelings towards Josh and Lexie and maybe they can hook them up together. Feels like Josh/Lexie is a much better match and I can totally see them together.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Josh and Lexie? Hm, hadn’t really thought about that, but not a bad idea. Next time I switch to Connor I am gonna have him pimp Josh to Lexie during their next shift at the hospital together (yeah, they REALLY work together, as does Rohan).
LikeLiked by 2 people
Lol. It’s a small world errr hospital! Lol.
LikeLiked by 1 person
It makes sense. They all live in the same region. I am good with it.
LikeLiked by 2 people