A few years had gone by, today was Chase’s 30th birthday celebration at the Beach House.
He had stolen away from the hustle and bustle out onto the patio, where he now stood listening to the calming crashing of the waves against the shore, the squawking of the seagulls and the rustling of the sea breeze in the leaves of the trees.
“Hey sweet birthday brother of mine …” Kiera stepped out onto the patio into Chase’s brooding.
“You and your issues with crowds. Even if it’s just our family and at your ripe old age, that still hasn’t changed, huh?”
“Ripe old age? I just turned 30! That’s still young! And you are not that far behind!”
“Not 13 anymore though … can you believe it? 30. Seems like only yesterday you were chasing me around the sandy path right there, dad after us yelling to go nowhere near the water without him there. Sometimes when it gets quiet and I look over the Bay, it feels like I am still a child, living here with you, mom and dad.”
“It gets quiet at your house?” Chase smirked.
“Funny. Yes, it does. Not very often, but it happens. And I don’t like it, because it makes me melancholic.”
“Melancholy isn’t always bad. I was just thinking how wrong I had been about how things would play out for us. I thought I’d lose everyone somehow and felt so helpless, trapped. Like you. I hated it when Logan proposed, when you got married, thinking I’d lose the tight bond you and I always shared, that we’d become strangers in a way. Yet, many years and three kids between us later, here we are, still.” Chase told her candidly.
“Chase, our family has a bond that cannot ever be broken. No matter how many kids either of us has or how many times we get married. Just like with mom and dad, we’ll always be close. The three of us, Briar Rose too, even with Bri, Stryker and their kiddos moved away to Del Sol Valley. You know I am right, everything has changed, yet somehow everything is still also the same in a way. And even Logan loves how we all are, he has never been this close with his family. We see them at holidays and that’s it. Logan much rather comes here than go see his own folks.” Kiera told Chase.
“Yeah, I guess you are right. Still hate that Bri is so far away now. Dumb kids who bullied Hope in school about Stryker’s criminal past. She is such a sweetie. Kids can be assholes sometimes.”
“Well, truth be told, since I was one of the teachers at the conference, let me tell you something I shouldn’t: the parents were much much worse! I felt so sorry for Bri, but I had to remain neutral. I get why Bri and Stryker took this show elsewhere. I know Bri had gotten looks at the supermarket too. Now she is not one to take shit from anyone, but Hope is too delicate. And we’ve been to their mansion several times now. She definitely did not pull the short straw there. She loves it.” Kiera smiled.
“Yeah, she and her new jet-setting family. She told me that unofficially they even hang out with grandma’s royal family at the castle, off the record though. The king also made sure the O’Connors were accepted in society and nobody gave them any grief. Vitamin C for connections, I guess. Not what you know, but whom you know.” Chase added. It was an open secret to all that he hated that Bri had moved away.
“Topic change: you really should get going on that second child, if you are planning to have another, so Eric isn’t too much older than his sibling. Logan and I waited too long to have Hannah, Bryan is in school now and those three years separating them make such a huge difference at that age.”
“Second child?! Shea and I have our hands full with Eric and mom, dad and Shea with your Hannah on top of that while you and Logan and I are working. No second kid for us.”
“Aww, really? Hannah and Eric get along so great. Unless Ewan comes over. What is up with that? Alone with either he is fine, all three of them and he goes bezerk!”
“Probably his mother’s genes.” Chase shrugged. Ewan is Elias and Sarah’s toddler son, a late surprise pregnancy in their mid-forties.
“Sarah has calmed down a lot. Pisses Bri off, all her life she had to basically do without a mother, and now her little late surprise brother gets all she never had.”
“Yeah, she mentioned that to me as well. Sounds pretty bitter about that. Poor Bri.” Chase said quietly.
“Bri is a lot of things, but poor is not one of them. That mansion though, in the hills. I felt like a movie star when we were visiting. Logan hated it so much! He and dad were constantly hiding somewhere. That man. He is gorgeous, but HATES attention.”
“A lot of us do.”
“Kids! Come on inside, we are serving the cake, birthday boy!” Blake joined them on the patio.
“I think mom made a special cake for you, dad, sugar-free and low fat.” Chase told his father smirking.
“Sugar-free cake? What the … ?! Okay, no cake for my son. More for me. Kiera, you coming?” Blake grumbled.
“We’re both coming for the usual normal fatty, sugary birthday cake, right Chase?” Kiera tried to mediate the playful teasing between the men.
“Yeah … if only to keep my father from worsening his dad bod by making sure he won’t fall into the leftovers tomorrow.” Chase poked more in Blake’s sore subject: his weight.
“That’s it, you brat! You are going to be in huge trouble as soon as your mother isn’t looking! This may have been your last birthday ever!” Blake threatened.
Chase and Kiera laughed, even Blake failed trying to hide his grin. This was how they had always been with each other, there had always been lightheartedness and laughter in this home.
The party was as much fun as the Cameron get-togethers usually were.
And as usual, all the guests overstayed their welcome well into the darkness … but the hosts were used to it. Your son only turned 30 once.
A few days later at the Beach House.
The young man looked shyly at Blake, then sheepishly smiled as he took the offered hand, carefully shaking it during introductions. His face had meanwhile reached a deep shade of pink.
“Mr. Cameron, so nice to meet you. An honor. I grew up listening to your music. My father and I are big fans of yours, I am even named after you. Well, kinda. Your family at least. I am Cameron Cole.”
“Oh – how – uh, Hailey what’s the right word?” Blake looked surprised.
“Delightful. I am Hailey, his wife, so very nice to meet you. Please, come on inside. Do you like coffee, Cameron?”
“Uh – sure. Thanks. Ma’am.” Cameron smirked carefully.
“Don’t call her Ma’am, she’ll have your hide. Makes her feel old. That’s Hailey, I am Blake.” Blake instructed.
“Dammit kid, I just told you to call me Blake! Not Sir. ”
“What my husband means to say is, he is honored that you came to see him and please, call him by his first name. Right, honey, that’s what you meant, right?”
“Sure. But I also meant that ‘Sir’ is my father maybe, especially when he’s mad. Which is every time I don’t do what I am supposed to in his book, which is pretty much always.” Blake stubbornly insisted.
“But you are so successful! He must be bursting with pride for all you have achieved and still do. You just brought out another album that made the Top 10 on release day. That is … epic!” Cameron went straight into fangirling.
“Yeah, sure he is proud, but to an Ethan Cameron music and acting is but a hobby, not a career. I might just as well glue some shit together I find around the house and sell it as art on Etsy. Unless you are an architect or lawyer, he will barely listen with one ear about achievements.” Blake explained.
“My father is a lawyer.” Cameron said, visibly still nervous.
“Then my father would love him.” Blake confirmed.
“You have a brother, right? Like 10 years younger, correct?” Cameron asked.
“Half-brother, and two of those. One from each remarried parent. Do you have siblings, Cameron?” Blake asked.
“Do I ever! Three, all younger. Two sisters and a brother.”
“Damn, my condolences.” Blake blurted out.
“Blaaaaaaake!” Hailey warned.
“It’s okay. My father has always been a huge fan of Liam Cameron as well, your … umm … not really sure what relationship exactly he would be to you. But dad has seen all of his movies a million times over and ever since I was little we watched them together, was kind of our thing. Watched your flicks too, of course. Personally, I liked yours better, more current issues. But since I am the oldest I spent time with dad when I was little before the others were born and he had me listen to Liam’s father, Blaine Cameron, even back to his band times with ‘Skyline’. Is it true that there is a club in San Myshuno called ‘Skyline’ after Blaine’s band? He is one of my idols for my music, too, just like you. My younger brother was named Blaine, after Liam’s father. I always suspected the four kids were because Liam had four as well.”
“Goddamn! Poor kids! Or poor parents, not sure exactly which one I am rooting for. Better not tell your father that Liam and his wife also adopted a couple more kids after theirs were out of the house. And yes, there is a club in San Myshuno, still run by extended family, the ‘Skyline’ named after Blaine’s band after they got famous. It’s where they started out at, and later Blaine bought it. My grandfather KC ran it until his death, I inherited the shack, but couldn’t be bothered to drive to San Myshuno every day, so a distant cousin runs it currently, but I still own it. And I don’t know what Liam or Blaine would be to me other than ancestors. Like grandfathers with a bunch of ‘greats’ in front of it. Can’t say I care too much, never met either, was long before my time. All I know is when I was starting out in acting and music, I constantly got compared to both of them, always followed with ‘but he is a lot shorter’. As if I didn’t know that myself! Also got dinged for being blonde instead of dark haired and for my eyes being blue instead of that Cameron green. Well, all I gotta say to that would be something my wife would hit me over the head with a frying pan for, so let’s just have a listen to what you sound like kid.”
“You want me to play my guitar for you!?” Cameron’s voice reflected utter amazement.
“Yeah, unless you can do other tricks with it, then I want to see those first.” Blake smirked, as Hailey rolled her eyes.
“Blake, be nice, and show our guest into the living room, please!”
“I think he’d be more interested in my studio, wouldn’t you Cameron?”
“Follow me down the stairs into the abyss that is my studio then, kid.. Through that door there is my wife’s home office, she’s a writer. So, don’t go in there and don’t touch anything. I like to think I live here, but even I am not allowed to touch anything not directly assigned to me.” Blake winked at Cameron as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
“I won’t touch anything, Sir.”
“One more ‘Sir’ out of you and I’ll make you do twenty push-ups every time!”
“Sorry, Si… Blake!”
“Well, let’s get to it then, kid. You can use that guitar there. Let’s see what you got under the hood.”
Cameron Cole played for him, little pearls of sweat forming on his forehead, but not because of the temperature, it was actually rather chilly in the basement. Once he was done, he put down the guitar and looked expectantly at Blake.
“Not bad, kid. Room for improvement before I even think about producing or recommending a single note that comes out of you, but I see definite potential. Only problem being that you live where again? And how old did you say you were?” Blake sounded all business now.
“Just moved to Del Sol Valley. And I am 20.”
“Yeah. My rosy red behind and I ain’t going there again for anything than brief family visits, meaning you’d have to commute, which is not feasible. So, let me make some calls and see if I can hook you up with someone there locally to get you started out right. Sound good?” Blake suggested.
“Yes, Sir, thank you Sir. Uhm – Blake! Thank you so much, Blake.” Cameron was excited.
“A+ for the quick recovery, Cam! And now let me show you a few things you can improve on right away. First of all, don’t hold your guitar like one of your siblings is trying to take it from you, but hold it like a woman, soft and gentle so it don’t hurt her, but firm enough so she remembers why she thought you were better than the rest. Like your girlfriend.”
“I .. don’t have a girlfriend. Just haven’t met anyone that interesting yet, I guess.” the young man blushed deeply again.
“Oh. Well, then hold it like your siblings when they were still babies. Firm enough to not drop but still gentle. Yeah, like that. Next, don’t keep looking at the strings all the time. If you do not recall what’s what, you need to learn. If you do, look at the people you are playing to. Frighting, I know, but at least you can see if you are starting to tank and play a happy jolly tune to throw them off before you look up and they’re already all gone.”
Blake demonstrated, then had Cameron show what he had picked up.
Cameron stayed for a cup of coffee – naturally – and then left.
“So, how was it, being someone’s mentor whom you are not related to?”
“Interesting. Nice kid. But remind me, where does he come from again?” Blake asked, confused.
“Is that an anatomy/biology question or are you asking me who made the connection?” Hailey smirked deviously.
“The latter. Also, there is only room for one smartass in this house and that job is already taken by THIS guy here. You are supposed to be the sweet one, Hailz.”
“Noted. Ally knows his dad through work, I think they worked on a case together and he helped her a great deal, he is a laywer like her, and mentioned to her that his oldest wants to be a musician, so she hooked him up as a favor. With her favorite cousin – you!” Hailey explained.
“Dammit Ally. And dammit Hailz for pimping me out like a cheap hoe.” Blake laughed.
“If I were to ‘pimp out’ my husband, trust me I would be smart enough to do it for a healthy payment up front, not for free. This is a favor to Ally because she is awesome. And I thought you liked Cameron?”
“I do. And he’s got potential, but I hate this favor thing around corners. Had he sucked, it would have been really awkward.”
“Well, can you go around the corner and take care of our grandkids? I hear Hannah and Eric stirring upstairs, guess nap time is over and I need to get busy on dinner before Chase gets off work and Shea comes back home.”
“Yes, wifey, I am on it like a duck on a June bug.”
-to be continued-
EN: The handsome Cameron Cole is by hillybeth29, named in honor of my legacy guys, so I just had to invite him along for a cameo in the storyline. He is currently attending college to do this music thing right, I hear he now has published several albums and may well be on his way to a Starlight Accolade nomination.