“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change”-Albert Einstein
First – a prolog, a sort of ‘where are they now’ state of the union kinda deal to get everyone caught up who doesn’t follow the Facebook updates, as there have been so many, way too many to all mention here, but I tried to cover the most significant ones.
The only thing constant in life is change, they say. This never held more true for the Cameron family than in the recent months, even though for them, the saying should go something like ‘The only constant in life is family.’.
Babies were born and growing like weeds, luckily all healthy, as were their mothers.
Jordan and Jenna’s grandson Rhys, Eric’s little boy, was now a rambunctious toddler, mastered walking and was now running. He had been born into a fitness obsessed, active family, so this was just karma.
Abby had her triplets, Esmé, Ewan and Emmy in that order. Barely 22 years old now, she had her hands full now and was grateful for all the help from her family.
Liam and Vivien had welcomed the light of their lives, their little Nicholas. Liam got his vasectomy not long after his son’s birth, once safe to do so Vivien had her surgery. They had meant it, when they announced he would be an only child.
Then it had been Leonie’s turn to give birth. She and Zeke had a healthy, happy boy, Oliver.
A few months later, after a family dinner, Blake and Mila’s twins Sheridan and Reed had been suddenly in a rush to get out into the world.
New ones were conceived, most of the time by happy and excited parents, notable difference would be Blaine and Scarlett’s former foster daughter Celeste, who had just found out she was pregnant with their second child, a girl this time she would name Leticia, when she caught her husband and father of both her children cheating.
After a big fight, followed by drama later that day when Riordan had to track down Blaine who was about to turn Robbie Collins into mush, they were now divorced. The mansion had always belonged to Celeste, Kai made sure she kept the kids.
Everleigh and Justin were expecting a little girl, Sarah (Banks).
Evey’s older brother, now on his second marriage to his ten year younger wife Vanessa was finally expecting a longed for child as well. Their little Hannah (Cameron).
Leonie (Cameron) Calderas was already pregnant again, they wanted at least three kids close in age so they were far from done yet. It would be another boy for them. She was only a few weeks along, so it wasn’t widely shared news yet. Once they hit the 12 week mark, they would announce it along with their chosen name. He would be named Lucas. Both said they would keep trying until they had a girl, after which they would consider their family complete. Whether that was joking or serious remained to be seen. They made a great couple, amazing parents and prolific farmers, well known for their quality produce and milk, and their grade A chickens and eggs were famous in several surrounding counties.
Blaine and Scarlett’s youngest, Caitlin Rose, turned 6 and was now in school.
Many living situations changed.
The Calderas took out a loan to seriously upgrade and remodel their farm.
Blake and Mila had remodeled yet again and seemed to finally be happy for good. Maybe it was having two infants that took their minds of finding hairs in the soup with their home.
Everleigh and Justin sold the big home in Brindleton Bay, after realizing they would never be able to keep it without constant financial help from her parents, so they moved to a new build in Newcrest. With a baby on the way they wanted to be self-relying. As sad as Evey was to leave her beloved birthplace of Brindleton Bay, she and Justin very quickly loved their new home Newcrest. Justin had finally given up on his failed dreams to be a musician, music was now his hobby, and he got a real world office job. It didn’t pay much, but at least was a reliable income, while Evey still freelanced as a writer, sometimes more financially rewarding than others. This allowed her to work from home, which was important to both once their baby girl was born.
Decades of guitar playing had given both Everett and Maeve trouble with rheumatism, he was 81 and she 78 now, the loads of rain and cooler weather most of the year in Windenburg didn’t help that at all, so they moved back to Del Sol Valley into the Cameron Mansion which seemed nearly empty for its enormous size with three of the kids moved out. They were welcomed back with open arms by Blaine’s family. Vivien’s old room with en-suite bathroom in the wing opposite that where the rest of the family had their rooms was perfect for them. They could socialize if they wanted to, or have their peace and quiet if they chose.
A complicated water-mainline break underneath the foundation at the Cameron Estates temporarily forced its residents Jamie, Averie, Abigail and the triplet babies to find other accommodations for a few months until extensive – and expensive – repairs could be completed.
Jamie and Averie moved into the guestroom at the Lake House with his elderly parents, while Abigail moved into the home Everett and Maeve recently vacated, with a now also displaced Jay to help her with the babies.
Del Sol Valley
Chase joined his father in the recording studio, where Blaine was tuning one of his many guitars. After a while of silence, Blaine looked up.
“Are you just gonna stand there and stare at me like a chameleon at a bug or are you gonna tell me what you want?”
“Lights were off, so I thought we could talk.” Chase said, referring to the red lights outside the home studio door, which if lit signaled to not enter, or if, make no sound whatsoever.
“Yes, thanks, I know how the studio works and am beyond thrilled to see you do too. I don’t have nerves to play hard-to-get with my son. We both know you want something, so just get it out.” Blaine rolled his eyes.
“Okay, so with grandma and grandpa moving back in, I thought maybe you and mom wanted to dedicate your time to taking care of them and all, I mean, they both are very VERY old now, maybe you want to take them around town, since a lot has changed since they moved away, maybe take them shopping for decorations for their room and all, so maybe you do not want to worry about a teen, so I thought .. you know … maybe …”
“Your grandparents are fit as sneakers and don’t need me to wipe for them, they have been here millions of times to visit and both know how to drive a car. Matter of fact, dad’s barely home now that he is not stuck on a car-free island anymore, has all his exotic ‘babies’ back and is out driving most of the time, usually with mom to the point that I have to go into their room and check if their shit’s still there or if they listened to you and your little sister in action and bailed. HA! If either of them heard you mutter anything like that geriatric BS, they would show you how fit they really are by chasing you around the house until they both spank full brain function back into you! Nice try, but you are NOT moving to Vatore Castle!” Blaine told Chase, while playing a ‘Mwap mwap mwap mwaaaaaap’ chord on his guitar.
“How did you know?!” Chase was used to his dad’s antics and asked undeterred.
“Well, I know you love your grandparents, but your teenage mind just doesn’t give a shit where they live, so that was some fresh-from-the-ass-BS-nonsense to make your request sound legit. I also know you normally would give yourself a rectal exam with a rabid porcupine before staying with your grandfather Caleb any longer than necessary, but none of the other family living anywhere near Newcrest have any guestrooms anymore after all that downsizing and baby-making, his constant lecturing and strict practice schedules seem like the lesser evil, so it wasn’t too much mental acrobatics required.”
“Oh .. but … I wasn’t….. dad!” Chase stuttered, everything about him just confirming Blaine had hit the bull’s eye, proving once more how sharp and observant he really was underneath that ultra-casual and carefree demeanor.
“Chase, daddy’s busy. It’s a no, a firm no, your ass is moving NOWHERE. Capisce?!”
“Fine dad. Can you or mom take me out there though this weekend? There’s a gaming tournament at …”
“Chase! You are NOT staying ANYWHERE for longer than a day visit. You are not the type that can be left without supervision for any longer period of time, I would know, cos I was just like that and looking at you is like looking into a mirror, where I am 16 again. You cannot pull a fast one over on this guy, and I am not gonna enable you getting yourself – and probably us – into trouble.”
“Fine dad, treat me like an toddler then. If I cannot be left alone there, can Hailey come spend the weekend then? You can hold both our hands and tuck us in each night, so you know we are good kids. You can even do that medieval thing where I get sewn into the sheets. Please ….”
“Do I look like a fucking medieval seamstress to you, son?! Besides, is it a holiday weekend or a school break?”
“Uh … no ….”
“There is your answer. You both have school, education is important, blah blah blah. Next long weekend or holiday, she can stay for a weekend, if her parents allow. But this time YOU are asking yourself, not sending your mother and me in to beg on our knees for you.”
Chase may have a memory like a strainer for most anything his parents told him usually, but that he remembered well. And then summer break happened, and Hailey was allowed to stay with the Camerons for an entire week.
When finally the adults and now 6 year old Caitlin went out to a party at Blake and Mila’s home down the street, neither Chase nor Hailey had much interest in joining them. They were much more interested in being alone and undisturbed for a change.
Teens being teens, they giggled while doing things they would normally not do with parents or grandparents around. Spray whipped cream from a can straight into each other’s mouths, go through Scarlett’s lingerie drawer, giggling and blushing and other shenanigans. Until they ended up in his room, making out on his bed and things leveled up more and more. They had been a couple for almost half a year now, but never done more than kissing. Hailey seemed just as hungry to explore what all the fuss was about as Chase had become.
Tonight was the night. It would happen. Chase would finally become a man, and Hailey a woman, in every sense of that term. She excused herself to his bathroom, Chase remained with shaking hands on the bed, imagining the bliss ahead of him with great anticipation, while wondering if he should stay as is or get undressed already, when he heard her voice from the bathroom.
“OH. MY. GOD!” it echoed through the door in a tone he didn’t like. One that wasn’t good.
He jumped up and yelled through the door.
“NO! Are you kidding me?!”
“Did you start your period? It’s okay, I am okay with that .. I think … I don’t know …”
The door opened and a grimacing Hailey gave view to the inside, where Chase made the horrific discovery of a literal pyramid of condom boxes, towering over the toilet bowl, a handwritten note stuck to the top.
‘Gotcha! So busted!
P.S. Remember the Cameron Curse! XO Dad’
“Chase, mind explaining?”
“That wasn’t me! That was … my dad.” Chase realized his defense was almost worse than her thinking he had stocked up himself.
“Excuse me?! I didn’t even know we would … you know. But you and your dad made a joke about it?”
“NO! I didn’t know either! I swear this wasn’t planned. You know my dad. He has a screwed up sense of humor! I swear Hailz, I didn’t do this or talk to him about this. I swear it!”
Hailey’s anger lit up, and eventually she started giggling, then laughing, when realizing Chase was truly frayed about this. His cornucopia of facial derailments alone was hilarious to her. Finally he laughed too.
“Your dad’s such a ham! We gotta get him back for this. So he likes humiliating pranks and sexual innuendos, huh? I have an idea.” her usually sweet smile turned slightly devilish, something Chase just found incredibly enticing. Hailey was really something. Wow.
After Blaine and Scarlett had returned, Caitlin tucked in for the night, they disappeared in their bedroom. Scarlett went into the bathroom to get ready for the night, when she called for Blaine. Something in her voice …
When he entered, he found a bunch of what looked like used condoms in his sink, and a note.
‘Thanks dad! Helped a lot, so thoughtful!
P.S. Got any extras? Need enough to last us through the rest of the week.’
Blaine burst into laughter and had the hardest time letting Scarlett in on the prank payback as he couldn’t stop laughing so hard, but finally he got it out and she laughed as well. Clearly, the items weren’t really used, just made to look like that.
The next morning at the coffeemaker Chase and Blaine had a moment.
“Hey kid, gotta hand it to ya, good one. Touche.”
“Thanks. I wish I could take credit, but it wasn’t all my idea.”
“Nice. She’s a definite keeper. Hey, gotta ask though, did ya or didn’t ya?”
“I am definitely not the kiss and tell type, dad. Especially not after what you did to us yesterday. You lost all privileges to be privy to my special secrets for a while, daddy dearest.” Chase winked and smirked then walked off.
“Definitely looking into a mirror. Wondering if it makes me vain or just fucked up to be bursting with pride right now. I raised another great kid with Letty, and he found his own Scarlett. Hopefully those two realize this and don’t do the dumbass detours his mother and I have under our belts.”
A few days after Hailey had returned home, Blaine got a call from her dad.
“Blaine, I will cut straight to the chase, I am no idiot, allowing her to stay with her boyfriend repeatedly for a whole week at a time and such I always knew this could happen, but now that it has, I need to make sure I do my part as her father. I think there shouldn’t be any more weekends or weeks over at your place for Hailey again. Ella and I found a pregnancy test in the bathroom trashcan. Used.”
“Oh shit! She’s knocked up?!”
“No, luckily it was negative, we asked her about it and she told us they both used protection and this was just her being nervous, but the fact that she felt the need to take one made me a little jumpy. I trust my daughter, she has never given us a reason not to, but I am not a fool, I know she and Chase are at that age, of course I am happy for her and want her to experience first love with everything it entails, I met my wife in high school and never regretted anything, but I do not want Hailey to end up missing out on having real choices for her future. I am not against her choosing him, I think those kids are perfect for each other, I am not against them having kids together one day, just not right now. They both have dreams of college and careers. This time it was false alarm, maybe she was just a bit skittish, or maybe they slipped up, we will never know for sure as neither of us was there, but maybe next time we won’t be so lucky. A baby would be loved by all, not doubt about it, even now, but it would limit Hailey’s choices and I just don’t want that for her.”
“Yeah, I get it. And you’re right, Wade. But if we try keep them apart, we’ll just pour oil in the fire and make it all worse. Maybe we need to have the birds and bees talk with our respective kids again. Maybe a bit more dramatic about what ifs.”
“I appreciate that, no offense, but knowing you and your demonstrative ways, I am quite certain they have all the answers they need. What I am talking about are accidents, not deliberate actions or neglect. Chase talked about a lot of your family having unexpected pregnancies, and my wife and I didn’t want another child, let alone in our late forties, but Michelle happened regardless. I love my youngest, but that is not what Ella or I wanted at this point in life when our oldest is gonna start seriously applying to colleges this time next year.”
“Look, Wade, I don’t usually like to play the VIP card, cos I think those who do are real pricks, but if something were to happen, I am sure we could work something out to still let Hailey have all the choices she could want. Scarlett and I don’t need another grandkid at this moment either, but if it were to happen, we’d make sure it would be the fucking happiest, most spoiled kid out there. You wouldn’t be alone in this, neither would Hailey. We Camerons take care of our own. Hell or high water.”
“I appreciate that, as do we Hansons, but I know my daughter. As feisty as she can be, if she were to get pregnant, seeing how much she loves your son, she’d probably barely finish high school and dedicate herself to being a mom, maybe with three jobs to support them, as she would be too proud to take your money. There is nothing Ella or I – or Chase – could say to change her mind then.”
“Yeah, I am realizing more and more why those two are so crazy for each other. They’re like twins, in a non-weird way. Chase is the same way, and I was like that too. Okay, fine, I’ll talk to the wife and we’ll figure out how to fix that. Just asking, what are your feelings about bringing chastity belts back, for him and her?” Blaine snickered.
Chuckling on the other end of the line told him the joke was recognized and appreciated.
“Hahaha – definitely in favor! I am probably gonna do an online search for availability here after we hang up.”
The call ended on a pleasant note and with laughter, leaving a Blaine smiling. Man, history really had a way of repeating itself. The same problems, generation after generation, just always dressed in a little different costume and with a new set each time, as actor Blake would say.
“Well, a wise man once said, all the world’s a stage, all the men and women merely players … ha, if my old college prof could hear I actually retained this.” Blaine mumbled to himself as he made his way to his son’s room of a no-nonsense, serious talk about life, choices, love and the ignorance of youth, confident Hailey’s father was doing the very same as well and guessing both would come to the same conclusion: we can only teach our kids to make solid choices, how they choose to apply them, will ultimately always be up to them and that merely trying to keep lovers apart would only ever have the opposite effect.