Dear Diary, this trip to Monte Vista has been so nostalgic for me. The most delightful thing, though, is that I’ve created new memories here with my family. Since Charles had his birthday, it’s become more and more clear to me that it won’t be long before all of the children will be of an age where they will want to explore their own futures.
It’s with a heavy heart that I write to you now, full of the knowledge that this may be the last moments my family is together at the same time. Who knows what the children will want to do when they are grown? As I observe each of them, it occurs to me that some or most of them will leave Winchester behind. This is not necessarily a bad thing as long as they are prepared. But I will miss them terribly.
I can’t help but feel I’ve done Matt a disservice by letting the children spend a few weeks here and there with my parents, who have never known our quiet life here on the island. Had I not been an outsider, the children most likely wouldn’t even think about leaving permanently.
But there we are. The kids do have a sense of how exciting life can be away from our little farm in this closed community. And I can plainly see the hunger in at least four of them. The desire for more.
Matthieu assures me that while our kids have had more exposure than most of the residents in Winchester of the outside world, he always knew that couldn’t be avoided if he wanted a life with me. I can’t say he fully understood what having a famous and wealthy grandfather would mean for our offspring. Still, he insists he had an inkling that life would be different with me.
I stood on the highest balcony of the villa, my fingers laced together and my eyes closed as I contemplated all of these things. After a while, I’m not sure how long, I sensed that the love of my life was standing behind me. He was close enough to feel although he wasn’t touching me.
“Are you thinking about Caroline?” he asked softly.
Turning to face him, I said, “Oh, I should have been. I’ve been thinking about many things this evening.”
As he moved closer to me, his blond hair caught the setting sun just right and I smiled tenderly at him, thinking about how he looked like an angel complete with halo.
“You’re in a strange mood.”
“I suppose I am,” I agreed.
He looked now, toward the sun, his hazel eyes squinting, showing off the fine wrinkles around his middle aged eyes. “I want you to know that even with the fuss we had with Carrie and that boy… uh, what’s his name… I’ve enjoyed our time here.”
“Really?” I asked. I thought he’d been enjoying himself to an extent, mainly because when things got to be too much, he could go to the little garden and do something he found to be normal.
He nodded and looked back, his eyes locking with mine and expressing the sincerity he felt. “Yes. There are things I’m not real fond of, that’s true, but what I really want to tell you is that if you need to stay here permanently, I understand and will make that change with you.”
Hearing what he said didn’t register right away. I think I stared at him pretty dumbly for an eternity before my eyes grew huge and my jaw dropped.
“Um… are you okay?”
“Y-yes.” You can’t imagine how tempted I was to jump on this. It would have been so wonderful to spend the rest of our days in Monte Vista with the luxuries other people take for granted. But I knew better. I knew my husband and he was making a sacrifice for something he thought I needed. Did I need to be here more than he needed to be in Winchester? When it came down to it, I didn’t think so. I’d gotten used to Winchester and the way of life there. And I could go back refreshed after this long vacation.
Suddenly, I rushed into his arms and closed my eyes as I felt his familiar fingers wind through my hair, stroking my neck.
“Does this mean we’re staying?”
With my eyes still closed, I embraced him tighter. “No. I know you’ll be completely crushed and devastated, but we’re going to go home as we planned.”
Pulling away, he stared down at me, blinking in surprise. “Listen, Darlin’, it’s fine. Really. As long as we can get rid of the TV’s I’m good.”
Chuckling a little, I smiled at him, my heart swelling with the love and appreciation I felt for him. “I know you’d be fine. But I miss our farm. We worked hard to get it going and we’ve done just fine there.”
“I think some of our children aren’t going to be as happy there.”
“That’s true, but when they’re old enough, they’ll make their own decisions and perhaps even come back. If not to stay, at least to visit.”
Shaking his head, he said, “Are you sure about this?”
As tears filled my eyes, I took his face in my hands so he would understand how serious I was. “I know this might come off as cliche or sappy, but I chose to marry you. I understood what that meant then, and I understand it now. This is no sacrifice for me, it’s what I want – what I’ve always wanted. Even after all this time, I still want to spend every day with you knowing that we’re partners for life.”
Before I could say anything more, he bent down and kissed me as passionately as any other time. Yet this felt a little different in some way. It was as if we’d made a new covenant with one another and we were sealing it in that moment.
When I spoke again, my voice was breathy. “As long as I have you at my side, it’s all that matters.”
Later, I found Carrie in her and her sisters’ bedroom. Glancing around, it was familiar and it wasn’t. When I’d used this bedroom as a child, I’d had a huge four poster bed. Now there were four, albeit very nice, twin beds so that all the girls could be in here. Inwardly, I smiled a little thinking about how my dad had really overdone this space for me and how much sweeter it looked now. At last, I turned my attention back to my daughter.
“Carrie, we need to talk.”
“I don’t want to, Momma.”
“Well, that’s a shame because I’m not going anywhere. Now, turn around so we can get on with it.”
Reluctantly, she turned to face me, her eyes red and her chin jutted out defiantly.
“Now, what do you have to say for yourself?”
She hesitated for a moment as if she wasn’t sure she should say exactly what was on her mind. Luckily, she couldn’t help but tell me.
“I really wanted to go to the movie with Luca and I’m pretty angry you and daddy embarrassed me the way you did.”
“I see. First of all, it was Charles’ birthday.”
“I’ve been to every family function we’ve ever had! Why couldn’t I miss just this one to do something I wanted to do?”
“Perhaps you could have missed Charles’ birthday party. But if you want to do things like that, you have to choose better.”
Confusion clouded her eyes as she asked, “What do you mean?”
“I think Luca was probably not the best choice. In fact, I’m wondering what you saw in him?”
“Why do you say that? Didn’t you see how good looking he was? And, Momma, he wanted to go to the movies with me. Not with Lissie or one of the other girls. He chose me.”
I cleared my throat before I answered her. This was going to be more complicated than I’d thought. “I’ll admit, that can be flattering. But I’ve known boys like Luca before and trust me when I say he would hurt you.”
She thought about this for a moment. “Have you been hurt by a boy like Luca?”
My pulse quickened as I pulled the memories forward of things I’d wanted to keep buried forever. “To be honest, I was hoping I would never have to think about Rob Killian again. But you need to know so that you can understand what I’m trying to tell you.”
My voice sounded far away, even to myself, as I told her about meeting Rob in grade school and having a crush on him even as a young girl. I wasn’t far into the story before I realized that in order to give her a frame of reference, I would have to explain what growing up a rock star’s daughter meant. So, I backtracked.
Finally, I told her how excited I was when Rob asked me to prom. It was so thrilling to go with Ruby to pick out dresses and get our hair and nails done just right. I promised Carrie I would show her pictures from my diary when we got back home.
In the meantime, I continued with my story about how charming Rob had been that night, opening doors for me and making sure I was having a good time. I explained what it felt like to slow dance with him and how special I felt. So special, in fact, that when things heated up after the dance, I didn’t stop him.
Carrie was quiet as she listened but when I got to that part, she obviously couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Does daddy know this?” she gasped.
“Let me finish,” I said firmly, rolling my eyes. “What you need to know is that once Rob had his way, he dumped me. When he passed me in the halls at school, he ignored me while his buddies elbowed him and laughed as if he was the big man that got the famous guy’s daughter to sleep with him.”
“Momma, that’s awful.”
“Don’t I know it. I was never really the same after that. It did something to me and, so, I want to prevent something like that happening to you.”
“How do you know Luca would do that?”
“I don’t for certain, but did you notice how rude he was to your father? And to you? He treated you terribly as if all he cared about was how cute you were. You don’t want a man like that, do you?”
“Well, no. I want what you and daddy have. I love how daddy looks at you. But does that mean I can’t date at all?”
My expression softened. “Of course not. But they need to speak to your father and it needs to be a boy who is respectful toward us and especially for you. We only want what’s best for you because we love you so much.”
Her expression seemed to soften, too, as she considered what I said. “How will I know if a boy showing me attention is a boy I should date or not?”
Something inside me felt bothered by the fact that she asked this. Why couldn’t she see that Luca was all wrong?
“I suppose that will come with time,” I finally said as a new determination to keep a close eye on her overtook me.
“Now, I think we should find Daddy so you can tell him you’re sorry about the way you carried on.”
She frowned but at least it wasn’t in a defiant way and said, “Yes, ma’am.”
After that business was taken care of, Lissie pulled me aside in the kitchen. I’d barely had a moment to myself this evening, but that’s what happens when you decide you’d like six children!
The look of distress on her face alarmed me.
“What’s the matter?”
“I wanted to talk to you so bad,” she said. “I’m really worried.”
“About what, honey?”
“Carrie was absolutely horrible in town and it was so humiliating to even be near that situation.”
“And, momma, I look just like her!” she exclaimed as if she couldn’t believe how dense I was.
“You’re identical twins.”
She took that moment to throw her arms up in the air in exasperation. “Exactly! I’m so tired of people mixing us up. And now that she’s acting that way, what if people think it was me? She’s so stupid to let that dumb boy near her!”
“She was flattered, not stupid,” I corrected. “Besides, we’ll be back in Winchester soon and everyone there knows you’re a twin.”
Tears welled in her eyes as she shook her head. “That’s all fine, but I’m really getting tired of being ‘the twin’ or ‘one of the twins.’ I want my own life – I want to be me!”
This house was full to the brim with teenage angst and I was getting tired. Still, I tried to understand where she was coming from.
“You know, my Aunt Rachel and Aunt Daylynn are twins and I think they felt the same way. When they became young adults, they led very separate lives.”
“And were they happier?”
“Honestly, I don’t know that they were ever unhappy about being twins, but they both lead very happy lives, yes.” Pulling her into my arms for what must have been my hundredth hug of the day (though I would never actually complain about that!), I stroked her long blond hair and firmly told her, “You are your own person, twin or not. You are not Carrie or Carrie’s twin only. You are Elisabeth with your own distinct personality – your own goals and wants. Daddy and I appreciate the young woman you’ve become.”
“Thank you,” she sighed, drying her eyes.
Finally, Matthieu and I were alone. We sat on the wicker settee in the kitchen and I filled him in on my chats with Carrie and Lissie.
Then, Charles found us. As we looked up at him expectantly, he got right to the point.
“Now that I’m a young adult, I think I’ve earned the right to go to a movie in town by myself. Without any children tagging along, that is.”
He seemed surprised when Matthieu smiled at him and said, “Don’t be out too late, son.”
Charles stared at us as if he couldn’t believe it had been that easy, then he dashed out the door.
I laughed as I snuggled up to Matthieu’s side. “Did you see his face?”
Matt grinned as he put his arm around me. “That was priceless.”
Charles came back before midnight and announced that it had been a boring time without his siblings and that at the least, he should have brought Laurent along. Then, he climbed the stairs to go to bed.
And so, with all the children home and my husband at my side, my heart felt full. I was certain that whatever the future held for them, and no matter where they went in the world, the children would be all right.
I know I said that the poll for the Generation 4 heir would not be held until September 2, but then I realized that didn’t give very much time to vote. I decided that two weeks would be a better time frame, so I’m opening the voting today! Woot! I can’t wait to see who wins!
Next week, there won’t be a chapter. Instead, there will be a reminder to vote and perhaps a special update, I haven’t decided exactly what to do yet.
This poll ends on September 6 at midnight. That should give me some time to finish up the passing of the torch chapter which will be posted on September 9.
Below are the teen pics of the girls, their traits, and a little about them.
Happy voting and thank you in advance for your input!
Martha Larochette (“Marty”)
Traits: Ambitious, Brave, Rebellious
What we know about her: Marty is a tomboy although she has newly discovered a love for clothes. She will want to go to university and pursue something adventurous such as archaeology or anthropology.
Elisabeth Larochette (“Lissie”)
Traits: Athletic, Eco Friendly, Virtuoso
What we know about her: Lissie has been rather quiet, a wallflower, if you will. She has talents for music and athletics but has kept this to herself. She feels as if she must keep an eye on her twin Carrie but she wants to break away and assume her own, unique identity.
Caroline Larochette (“Carrie”)
Traits: Absent Minded, Hopeless Romantic, Diva
What we know about her: Carrie (who now wants to go by “Caroline”) is boy crazy. She will fall for most advances, if not all, and will perhaps end up in a rather unsavory relationship if she is not careful.
Traits: Bookworm, Shy, Artistic
What we know about her: Susan is a thinker. She considers consequences before actions and likes to weigh her options. She would like to lead a life that is stable and will want to attend university to make this happen. She also struggles with her body image.
So, let the voting begin!