“Never say “never” about anything, because if you do, life has a way of humbling you.”-Mike Colter
Hey, it’s Aria-Grace again, remember me? It’s been a while, I know.
You’ve heard the expression “Never Say Never”, right? If I didn’t know better, I would believe it was coined for me and my family. My entire life is filled with ‘nevers’ that ended up happening anyway. Oh lemme tell you the ways … well, some of them at least.
How about a little recap, I promise I keep it short and sweet. So, my parents, I love them to pieces, but they are not your average parents. Maybe because of that I always felt that I was destined for greatness. My mom is Vivien Vatore-Cameron, also known as pop icon ViVa, meaning very famous worldwide and Del Sol Valley royalty. My dad is Liam Cameron, one of the best attorneys you will ever find, and both have fiery tempers in common, but also a deep love for each other. So, they are VERY passionate, in the good ways, but also in the bad ones. Bad meaning fighting, loudly and intensely, objects being thrown, doors slammed. Happened so much, my big brother Nick and I barely even were fazed by it anymore growing up.
They had vowed to quit fighting so many times, everyone lost count. Long before I was ever born, back when my older brother Nicholas was conceived, my parents were excited about the baby and swore to ‘never’ fight again.
It didn’t last, and when Nick was little, they split and even divorced. Also still before my time. Poor Nick, he witnessed all that. Including new lovers of mom’s and dad’s. Yikes. I can’t even imagine.
They were ‘never’ gonna get back together again, neither admitted what was obvious to everyone else that they were both miserable with, but even more so without each other, at some point my mom even had to have her stomach pumped after taking a few handfuls of sleeping pills when she couldn’t bear the pain of having lost dad anymore, she was inconsolable, and none other than dad rushed to her side to make her feel better. They weren’t exactly on speaking terms, but this is how strong their bond was, even when divorced. If one needed the other, they were there.
It worked, he made her feel so much better that 9 months later I came around. Yeah, one of my grandpa Blaine’s favorite stories to this day is that I was conceived in the main bedroom suite’s shower of Villa ViVa, my childhood home. One of the many reasons that house is very special to my parents. I am still not 100% sure how I really feel about my conception location being such a topic but then again, if you’re born a Cameron, you don’t have a chance for ‘normal’.
Then we were never gonna move again, that was said every time we moved, every single one of the over two dozen times. Earned us the nickname “The Cameron Gypsies”.
There was a time when my parents were split – again – at the time, Nick was in his mid-teens, since I am 6 years his junior I was probably 9 or 10 and living with my mom in Del Sol Valley, Nick with dad in San Myshuno, and with Rohan Sharma, Nick’s best friend, who was an orphan when he and Nick first became friends, raised by his ailing grandparents, who died when he was 16, so dad took him in and gained custody of him. Nick and Rohan were inseparable, like brothers, even went on vacations with us. Despite the physical separation, I saw my dad and brother – and Rohan – quite a lot.
Dad and my Grandpa Blaine both footed the bill to send Rohan to med school and Rohan actually ended up saving my dad’s life years later when he suddenly had a heart attack during another fight with my mom. Due to the age gap, Rohan and Nick had long graduated when I was at uni, where I was in my second semester when I swore I would never love or trust a man I am not blood-related to again.
Reason being that ever since I was maybe 10 or 11, I had the biggest crush on my brother’s best friend Rohan. The older I got, the more intense my feelings for him became and the more grown up I became, the more he started to notice me as a woman, not his best friend’s little sister. So, what was bound to happen, happened. Reluctant at first, he would eventually become my first love, my first man ever, and the first man to break my heart when he realized he was gay.
Rohan and I had broken up before, we were even engaged at that point, but ended up back together. But not this time. He was gay and the breakup was final, there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t fight for him, how was I to compete with a man?
I was absolutely heartbroken and bitter. I wanted to be supportive but couldn’t. It just hurt too much.
Rohan and me breaking up didn’t just cause a rift between us for a long while, there is a reason why they say to never date your brother’s best friend. All that caused a lot of issues for the whole family, nobody was sure whom to side with.
Even after the boys graduated uni, Rohan had always celebrated all holidays with us. Except the Thanksgiving after the breakup. It felt so strange without him there …
Back then I swore I’d never fall in love again. But guess what? I did.
I was at the university library when a cute, but kinda nerdy looking guy just wouldn’t leave me be. He was charming and sweet, not as intense as some of the other boys who had tried to pick me up, so it felt wrong for me to be as direct with him as I was with them. And the more he spoke, with that Henfordian accent, the more my defenses melted. God, he was cute! And I had never felt so lonely in my life. My best friend Bianca had been my roommate and just dropped out, long story why, leaving me all alone in my misery.
At first, I fought it so hard, I didn’t want to feel that pain the break-up with Rohan had put me through ever again.
But eventually I allowed myself to fall … and I fell hard. He was so very different from any boy I had ever met, yet, back then, I didn’t have to first clue HOW different this guy actually was.
Anyway, I fell head over heels for a sweet and immensely patient guy, a political science student in his last semester at U-Brite.
His name is Maximilian Cromwell, well, actually, his full name is Maximilian Edward Henry Cromwell, but he goes by Max, and he turned out to be a real-life prince. Yeah, that shithead took me to ‘meet his parents’, totally omitting the part where they live in a huge castle and are king and queen! I wasn’t sure whether to faint, kiss Max or kill him. Saying I was surprised was underselling it big time!
Well, I graduated college and instead of moving back home to figure out my life, I went to live with my prince at the castle.
It wasn’t long until he proposed to me.
Then, when I was tender 22 years old we were married in the biggest wedding I have ever seen, to this day and being from a pretty prolific and notoriously famous family, I have seen a lot of huge weddings.
Before the wedding I was even crowned a princess, and for several years we were a royal couple.
Oh, it was pompous. In so many ways.
Life at the castle was hard for me, I was very homesick, missed my family and my freedom, but Max always found ways to make me happy. He really is genuinely sweet, incredibly patient and charming. Prince Charming. Literally.
As with any fairytale, there is an evil character, in our case it were those who decided to abolish all royalty in the last two remaining kingdoms, Henford-on-Bagley and Tartosa. So suddenly, he was a prince no more, and I was no princess anymore, even though to me he always will be the prince of my dreams, he always calls me the ‘queen of his heart’.
That was a really tough time for all, especially for Max. He felt as if he had lost all purpose in life, except being a husband and father, he was suffering. He tried so many different ways to find something new to strive for in life, but since birth he had been groomed to one day be king and finding another calling was hard for him. Naturally, we ended up moving – A LOT – and without nannies and all the staff we both realized we had the hardest time being parents. Both of us had been forced into it back when the king was still alive, since Max was the Crown Prince one of his main tasks was to produce a viable heir. I was way too young or at least too immature to have children in my opinion but did it anyway, for my Max.
I wasn’t ready to be a mother, but with all the staff and nannies, the hardest part had been the two births. Without all the help, we had no idea what we were doing, both jealous of my brother Nick and Addy and how easy they made parenthood seem. It wasn’t! Luckily, we lived next door to my parents and grandparents in Del Sol Valley for a few years, who helped us learn what we needed to know. It took me a long time, but now I fully embrace motherhood. I love my kids.
Max has two younger siblings, a sister, Genevieve, who ironically had married the future king of Tartosa, meaning both had been in the same boat as us, just in another country when royalty was abolished, and a younger brother, Leopold, who never left Henford-on-Bagley. Max and his siblings had never been close, it broke my heart when he once confessed to me that he envied me for the relationship I have with my brother Nick. Nick and I are 6 years apart but have always been super-tight, even when we weren’t living together during our parents’ splits or when one of us was at college, we always found ways to stay in touch and still do. I was determined to fix Max’ longing for a relationship with his two siblings, it took us many visits and literal years of those to finally get some sort of sense of belonging and closeness to develop between the three siblings and their families and ours. But we did it. It may never be like what Nick and I have, but then again, I think that is pretty rare anyway.
While living in San Myshuno for a while Max thought he found a new calling.
He ran for mayor of San Myshuno, with big plans to run for presidency if it worked out. Oh, he was so popular with the people, he was living his best life – until just before the elections one of his opponents found some old law stating that citizens of a former kingdom or independent city state could not be elected mayor, let alone president, of the mainland of United Simdonia. And just like that Max’ big dream went up in flames. He was devasted and it broke my heart. I felt so helpless, watching him lose his goal line for the second time in our lives together.
And then it happened. Max got a phone call. One of THOSE calls that end up changing lives. The surprise caller was none other than the current prime minister of Henford-on-Bagley, currently the highest ranking official there, who revealed that his declining health was making it necessary for him to find a suitable replacement fast, surveys of the people have been conducted and revealed very surprising results. The people didn’t just want any old politician candidates to elect, they missed having a Cromwell at the helm. Oh, the irony.
You probably already guessed where this is going. I was so gonna veto all that, the Cameron in me wanted to tell everyone to go fuck themselves, please pardon my French, but the lady in me couldn’t ignore the way my husband’s face lit up, his eyes had that hopeful glimmer in them again – I couldn’t rain on his parade. Just couldn’t. Max had never complained about anything I put him through because of my crazy family, he had even forgiven me for a really stupid Rohan-incident, where confessions of love between my gay ex and me went viral all over social media. Yeah. Remembering all that, I decided I owed this to him, and it was my time to bite my tongue and swallow my pride to let Max’ have his time to shine again in his homeland. And he did. We were packed up and moving to Henfordshire in record time!
So, here we are, back in good old scenic Henford-on-Bagley once more, our new home being one of the previously publicly seized properties once owned by the former Royal House of Cromwell, now it is officially ours again to have and to keep, and it is nothing short of a small castle if I had to describe it, even though humbly called Cromwell Manor, which makes it sound much smaller than it is, in my opinion. It is huge. To me, it seems the same size as Cromwell Castle was. Sadly, the original castle is no more. It was torn down, to assure there would never be royalty again. By the same people who once gave Max and his family the boot, the same people who are now crawling back, begging for Max to return. He sure was a lot more forgiving than I was.
The once royal Cromwells had historically always been beloved by the people, fair and just leaders, kind, his long line of ancestors were well recorded throughout history to always have ruled with the greater good in mind, which to me made us being so abruptly stripped of our titles and estate some years ago just because those good people of HOB had decided we cost too much taxes and nobody needs monarchy anymore all the more shocking. Not as shocking as this though: The good people of Henfordshire decided that while royalty was bad and yucky and belonged abolished forever, nobility was different and hella cool, but needed to be different and much simpler than it was before, so they reinstated only three official noble title ranks, in order of importance; Count, Viscount and Baron along with their feminine counterparts, which would immediately be given to members of the former royalty and nobility. There were no ceremonies, not lavish balls, no big receptions, just some documents to sign and official photos being taken while shaking a bunch of politicians’ hands who had placed tiaras on the heads of the female nobles, which were my daughter and I, my sister-in-law Lady Eugenia and her daughter Lady Eloise and Eugenia’s sister-in-law, Lady Cathleen Ashford. The men just got some pins and stuff to hang around their necks, no headdress. Technically, much like the tiaras and pins, the new titles were just a pretty adornment to a name, we didn’t get to decide shit for anyone but ourselves just as before, except that members of such nobility were often given preferential treatment in some respects, you know things like free stuff in the village, better seats at the restaurants, but also – and this is important – when trying to attain political leadership positions, which was where it became very relevant to Max. More on that in a bit.
So, Max and I were now Count and Countess Cromwell of Henfordshire, or your Lord and Ladyship Cromwell, parents to Lord William and Lady Victoria Rose. Yeah, I know, right? As pissy as I still may be, I can’t deny liking the sound of all that.
Max’ younger brother Leopold was given the title of Viscount Cromwell, his wife Eugenia Viscountess Cromwell, their daughter Eloise and infant son Alexander were officially to be addressed as Lady and Lord as well.
While being placed a rank below Max, his brother Leopold was actually happy about the new titles. For him, it was kind of a promotion, while he had technically been a prince just like Max had been before, he knew that in his case it would never have been more than an honorary title. Just the way the monarchy worked then. He used to hold a deep grudge about the fact that the only reason he was conceived was as potential replacement should anything ever happen to Max, and in case he would ever need an organ transplant or such. Yeah, cruel rules, I know, which is what I have been telling you all along. Castle life wasn’t all fun and games and most definitely not a fairytale. It actually was surprisingly dull and sad at times and immensely restrictive.
THIS, what we have right now, is SO much better. Cool titles, tiaras and ballgowns, being the center of attention, but still having all our freedoms, yes please. THIS is how I can roll all day long! Watch out bitchez, her ladyship Countess Cromwell is in da house! Oh yeah. I’ll be rocking that shit big time.
Anyway, Viscount Leopold and Viscountess Eugenia were given Cromwell Hall.
It is another lavish mansion from the former royal Cromwell estate that had been seized and it is very beautiful and scenic, I don’t hate to visit at all. I think it once was used by former royal generations as a sort of hunting cabin, but if monarchy calls something a ‘cabin’ they still mean castle-like, so don’t think Leopold got short-changed. The surrounding area alone makes this a gem. The views are lovely! Max having his brother so close seems to do wonders for their once so damaged and basically non-existent relationship, the kids love playing with their cousin Eloise, the other cousin, little Alexander is still too little to be interesting for them, but Eugenia and I frequently meet up. Yes, we are literally ‘ladies who lunch’. She isn’t whom I would normally pick as a friend, but she is nice, and I do look forward to spending time with her. I just always have to remember to censor myself again around her and Leopold, they are not fond of the cursing ways of the Camerons.
And while Max’ and Leopold’s sister Genevieve’s marriage to Gaetano Rinaldi, the former Crown Prince of Tartosa was very much arranged by their late parents long before both were old enough to even grasp the meaning of it, they are actually happy, very obviously very much in love and parents to two children, a boy, Frederico, and a little infant girl, Francesca.
Frederico is a feisty one, reminds me a lot of my nephew Ryan, Nick and Addy’s son. Since Adrianna was originally born in Tartosa, she and Nick visit there a lot, and their son Ryan speaks Italian fluently just as Frederico is fluent in English, it is needless to say, whenever the boys meet, they get along sublimely – and get into a LOT of trouble together.
Gaetano really is super-nice, very charming and SOOOOOOOOO handsome! You know, in that Italian tall, dark, handsome kinda way. Mee-ooww!
His son Frederico looks a lot like him, he’ll be a heartbreaker one day for sure.
Max and my kids are both very light complected, William has his father’s lighter blonde hair, while Victoria’s is darkening more and more. Currently it’s a medium to dark blonde. Probably because of my brown hair influence. Blond or brown, my little girl is beautiful. As is my little boy. Another heartbreaker in the making. And so smart! Yes, I am biased. Sue me.
Leopold’s wife Eugenia’s brother Harry Ashford, his wife Cathleen and their children, two boys, Devon already grown in his early 20s, the other, Adam, 17, were reinstated their old noble titles of Baron and Baroness. They lived in Ashford House all along, since they weren’t royalty and didn’t get anything taken away except their noble titles. Ashford House is not as impressive as the Cromwell estates, but nothing to huff at either.
All through history, if one of the two remaining former kingdoms did something, the other would always follow suit, so Tartosa didn’t disappoint, when they did the same with Max’s sister Genevieve and her husband, the former Crown Prince Gaetano, who now held equal titles to Max and me, just in their native tongue, so they were Conte and Contessa Rinaldi da Tartosa. They too got one of the large estates back which formerly belonged to the Royal House of Rinaldi, named Villa Rinaldi. I have visited there and let me put it this way: they most certainly didn’t get shortchanged there. A beautiful property with killer views of the ocean.
So, now I officially wear a tiara again, as does my daughter, I attend official events in fancy dresses again, am expected to dress more conservative while still being fashionable again, and since I am nearing 30 years-of-age – mind you, I am not there yet, but closer to it than to 20 now – I have kinda outgrown my miniskirt and hot pants phase anyway, and luckily my poor children don’t have to learn all those many royal rules and things while abiding by shackling restrictions of palace life, like I had when I first was engaged to be married to a future king. All they have to learn in addition to what other kids their age get taught is the extensive history of House Cromwell and everything about Henford-on-Bagley. Small price to pay to have free roam of a quasi-castle and the rolling hills of HOB. They both even agree.
Trust me, back when I first met and fell in love with my real-life Prince Charming, living at Cromwell Castle wasn’t as glamorous as you may think, as it may have appeared, even though I will admit it had its moments, so I actually like this very simplified nobility system. Both my children were born at the palace but were way too young when it all came to an end to remember anything.
And my beautiful Prince is now a handsome Count and once more in charge of running the City State of Henford-on-Bagley, officially as its Prime Minister. Just like his brother-in-law Gaetano Rinaldi now does for Tartosa, of course. It’s actually fun being his first lady and strangely, after living in San Myshuno and Del Sol Valley almost all their lives that they can remember, our children love every minute of living at Cromwell Manor in Henford-on-Bagley.
And if I am truly honest, so do I. The peace and quiet here, the truly good and fresh country air, it even makes my morning coffee smell different, better, especially when enjoyed outside, weather allowing.
Max hasn’t been this fulfilled and happy since we first met and there is something to be said for having staff again.
As the descendant of a long line of famous performers I must admit I bask in the attention given to me as Countess Cromwell. Even when not by Max’ side, I get asked to do openings for public parks and such, when I go into the village to do some shopping I get fussed over which I admit I enjoy tremendously, since I am used to special treatment as ViVa’s daughter, and the former future king’s wife, but now with a lot more liberties.
Everyone in my family has now come home. Mom and dad to Villa ViVa in Del Sol Valley. Mom just belongs there, no doubt about it and dad actually realized that he really isn’t the Windenburgian suburb boy he may once have been. He was always meant for greatness, and Del Sol Valley is where he really belongs too. He quit fighting that fact, embraces it now and they both are living their best lives. Without fighting, mind you, just the usual bickering you’d expect from long-time couples.
Nick, Addy and their son Ryan into dad’s old penthouse – fully remodeled now – in San Myshuno. It’s modern, it’s fancy, it is nice.
Of course, Rohan followed Nick like a shadow, since being across town from each other was too far away, so he moved back into his old big apartment in the high rise next to Nick’s, to keep an eye on him, as he jokes.
And my prince and I back in Henford-on-Bagley, which finally feels like a home to Max, our kids and even me. And of course, do my parents and Nick and we visit frequently and call almost daily.
Never say never.
7 thoughts on “Chapter 462) Never Say Never”
AG was made to be a “Lady”. She’s so awesome. And Max looks so dapper as always!
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She was made to be Lady, born for greatness for sure. And HOB seems to not be the worst place to raise her children, especially not in that beautiful home. Max does looks so nice. Nobility suits him. 🙂
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Happy about how the things worked out for these families. It’s good they sorta got their lives back, but living like they did, as nothing special makes them appreciate what they have even more. I can see that AG does, and having the spark back in Max was well worth it to her. She’s also enjoying it too, even after her initial hesitation.
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Glad you liked it, I am happy about it too. Max really always felt out of place in every career and town he was in, he belongs to HOB and needs a title, just not one too complex, just like he has now. And despite the occasional cursing, AG was always born for greatness.
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I love how you’ve woven this change into the storyline. AG & Max look amazing, as do the others. So glad she’s embraced that life again and also that they have their freedom, rather than the restrictions of a Monarchy. Good to see (or rather, hear) that Max is happy and feeling fulfilled again!
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Thank you for acknowledging it, sometimes things in game feel off, but fixing them presents a whole new problem, namely to have it make sense in the story.
I like this better too, they are very special and different from the rest, but it’s not as complex as keeping up with all the monarchy rules and such. I already have so much of that for the vampires, it would be too much. Nobility is a lot more storyfriendly, but still a step above.
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It’s a great balance without the complexity 🙂