1.2 – Camille

This post is rated 13. Mild language and sexual content is in this post

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I glanced at myself in the mirror one last time. My hair was flowing loosely at my shoulders, my makeup from the shoot made me look like a fairy. But still, even though I knew I looked amazing, what was this feeling in my stomach? Who do I feel so ridiculously stupid?

Because you’ve been told your whole life that you are.

I rolled my eyes at the thought that crossed my mind. It was true, though – going from a physically abusive household to an emotionally abusive one resulted in a pretty messed up person. In all fairness, the Hamilton household was the root and reason as to why I find myself in Dragon Valley. If my father’s drunken abuse hadn’t ever affected me, I wouldn’t have been so vulnerable that I fled into Timothy Westbrook’s arms. I would never have viewed him as my saviour. I would never have had-

Okay, calm down Camille. Leave them behind.

I was going senile. Who’d have thought someone who was 26 could feel like an old lady? Mind you, being Lady Westbrook for over 8 years changes one – having to act like you’re 85 makes you feel 85 – even if you’re not.

Maybe, it’s not because you’ve been told you’re stupid. Maybe you’re just nervous.

That was always a massive possibility. I mean, Kendell looks so insanely confident. And here I am…

Why am I even overreacting, though? This isn’t even a date. It’s been two months since we went for our first dinner, and then there were around 5 other agents and models there. We’ve been out around 7 or so times since, yet always in a group.

Now we’re alone.

It’s a work dinner. Nothing more than that. Plus, I wouldn’t want to even date Kendell. I just escaped a dysfunctional marriage two months ago, for god’s sake. There no need to rush things. And if he tries to put a move on me, I’ll just say, “No, thank you. I’m married.” No, wait, that prevents anything from happening between us in the future. Why don’t I say, “Let’s just stay friends, Ken.” Maybe that’s a little too friendly? Mind you, he’d be being pretty friendly by stroking my hand or sliding his foot up my leg or whatever.

Oh god, who’s to say he’s even going to make a move? Calm down, Camille. It’s just a business dinner. We’ll go to some crowded restaurant, and there’ll probably be some agent or whatever next to him, like last time. And honestly, there’s a difference between being friendly and flirty. Dinner is far more formal and business-like than coffee in any case.

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“Camilllllle?”Josaphia, the BnB owner shouted out from the hallway. “A gentleman caller is sitting here, waiting for youuu!”

I took a deep breath and gave myself another dazzling smile in the mirror.

“Thanks, Josaphia, I’ll be right down!” I laughed, imagining what Kendell thought of being called “a gentleman caller”.

I slid down the steps of the BnB to the entrance, where Kendell stood – looking casual and gorgeous in chinos and a pressed shirt.

“Let’s go,”He grinned and gestured to the road where an orange car stood.

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Once we were comfortably off on the road, I glanced out the window. We were speeding past all the town’s restaurants. Oh, my goodness. Maybe we’re going to some cool outsider’s dinner club?

“In other news, Victoria’s Secret model Gerna Kazee has been caught in a compromising position with her ex, fellow model Benj Vicki! A fan stumbled onto an interesting sight of her and Benj in an elevator when it opened unexpectedly on the couple..”

I glanced back at Kendell – his face was taut and his hands were gripped tightly on the wheel. He was absorbed in what the radio was saying. Maybe it wasn’t the best time to ask where we were going.

Gerna has been linked to several men throughout her career, most notably, her 2 year engagement to renowned photographer Kendell Delgrasso, who she met at a shoot-”

“Let’s listen to something else, alright?”

“Sure!”I said, faux brightly, my mind racing over what I had just heard. He had been engaged to Gerna? He’s clearly still bitter about it being broken off. I took a deep breath.

Come on Camille. It’s not like you thought this was more than a business meeting. You barely know him, it’s not your place to comment on his love life.

I gazed out the window as the song Femme Fatale by Nico & The Velvet Underground began to softly play in the background. How ironic.

My eyes began to slide across the still bright Dragon Valley scenery. Where on earth were we going? It was the middle of the Dragon Valley suburbs. Oh god, where the hell are we going?

Maybe he is going to try to make a move on me. Maybe that move will involve a knife and a black plastic bag.

“Kendell?”

At least it’s still light. So maybe someone could find me quicker?

“Yes?”He turned to glance at me with his piercing gaze. Oh, goodness. Either this man is a serial killer or he’s just really intense. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out which was which.

This is what happens, you fool, when you rush into something that you shouldn’t rush into. You just left Timothy,  and this is what you do? Now you’re going to end up in a ditch somewhere.

“May I ask where we’re going?”I asked, ultra casually.

“Right here,”He chortled as we slid into another residential road. “I thought we might have some dinner at my rental. It’s just a little more casual. Oh, and Camille – ” he shot me an amused expression, ” I’m not a serial killer.”

“Where do you get that idea?”I laughed somewhat hysterically.

“Well, I could tell you were getting a little anxious when we drove past the restaurants. I should’ve told you,”He conceded, “But it was more fun to watch you panic.”

“Hmmph,” I stuck my tongue out teasingly and giggled. I was starting to feel more and more comfortable with him, despite the thoughts racing through my mind.

We’re eating at his house?? This is definitely not a business meeting!

He’s so fun! I’m really feeling comfortable with him. Thank god he’s not a serial killer. Wait, maybe that’s what they say to make you more comfortable –

“We’re here.”

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I opened my door to the refreshing scent of damp autumn leaves. Following Kendell, I stepped through an oak door and wandered towards the kitchen.

“Oh my, is that all for little old me?” I teased as I spotted the delectable berry cheesecake resting atop the granite countertop.

“I’d love to tell you so, but I made it last night for my daughter. Her mother didn’t pitch to collect it, so I thought screw it – and kept it all for myself during a Sex and The City marathon.” His eyes twinkled with amusement. “Unfortunately, you came along and ruined my plans.”

He has a child?

“It was a silly plan, anyway. Everyone knows you eat ice-cream when it’s Sex and The City. You watch The Notebook and eat cheesecake,” I corrected as I glanced at the room.

A tiny table was adorned with two beers and a candle. The only word for the look was romantic. The lighting was just perfect for some footsie and some kissing, despite the beers making it a little more playful.

Oh, god. This isn’t a business meeting.

“I haven’t lived with a woman for over 7 years, I’m afraid. I’m a little out of touch.”

“We are actually quite simple creatures,”I grinned. “Don’t overthink it.”

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“Thinking of simple things, how’s about some Mac ‘n Cheese? It’s not the Kraft stuff, I promise. I like making my own sauce.”

“That’d be lovely,” I said, studying his sturdy back as he ambled to the fridge to grab the ingredients. “So, what inspired you to start cooking and baking?”

“I went through a pretty shitty break-up awhile ago. I suffered from a bad bout of insomnia. So each evening, instead of taking pills, I’d start to bake. It started off with cookies, then ended up with deconstructed angel food cake. Whenever I wanted to punch someone, or cry, or just give it all up – I’d bake.

I got through it, thanks to some flour and a couple of eggs. And Eloise, my daughter. She’s only 12, but she’s my rock. I was such a baby when found out we were expecting – I was only around 24. Now, I couldn’t imagine a world without her. It was her baby pictures that inspired me to take up photography. I realised that there was so much beauty in the world, and I couldn’t let it pass me.”

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“That’s truly beautiful, Kendell. But didn’t you meet Gerna at a shoot?”

I regretted the words as soon as they slipped out my mouth. Who’s to say Gerna is Eloise’s mother? Too much stupid had spilled out of my mouth in one sentence, especially because it sounded so flippant towards the beautiful story he’d just told me.

“Now this is a funny story, actually,” He grinned and relief flooded through me. “I used to be the coffee guy. And she was an assistant to one of the agents. So yes, we did, but not in the way it’s conventionally told.

Then one day, very much like you today, she filled in. And now she’s this massive star.”

I watched him carefully. I loved hearing him open up – it was something so different to what I’ve experienced with the strict, staunch professional earlier today. It was this instant feeling of comfort. This was something I’d never experienced before, especially not with a man.

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“I guess Eloise just came at the wrong time, you know?”He added as he stirred the gooey goodness on the stove. “Gerna was constantly at shoots – and so was I. If we weren’t, she was out socialising at clubs or at the gym. I was left alone with Eloise, having to raise her on my own, while Gerna was out doing who knows what with who knows who. Relationships can’t last that kind of strain. But I was dedicated to making it work, you know? We went to therapy for over 5 years. Hell, I even proposed to her. She was gaining interest from Victoria’s Secret so it seemed like she’d stop taking on all the side jobs. But then there seemed like there was even more work to be done.”

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“We’d been engaged for 2 years, and I decided one day to surprise her at home. She’d just finished with the Swimsuit Special and I’d just had one of my biggest shoots cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. I had ordered some gormet takeout, I had dropped Eloise at my sister’s. I saw she was home, so I snuck through the front door. I opened the door to my bedroom and saw my wife’s curvy ass riding one of my closest friends, Benj, like he was Seabiscuit.”

“My god!”I exclaimed as he set the Mac ‘n Cheese in front of me. It smelt absolutely divine.

“That wasn’t the worst part,” he grinned as he took off the tops of our beers. “She tried to act like they wanted me to watch. Like it was one of her fantasies that we’d discussed. Needless to say, that famous bod was most certainly kicked to the curb that evening.”

I stared at him incredulously for a second.

“Are you kidding me? You know, 7 years ago I was obsessed with Victoria’s Secret. et, I never quite liked her. Something just told me she was a bad person.” I winked at him as I took a bite of the meal. It was absolutely divine.

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“You enjoying that?” He asked amusedly.
“Mmmmm,”I said, the flavour resonating around my mouth.

“I’ve spoken about myself the whole evening,”Kendell sighed in apology. “Now it’s time to hear from the far more interesting Camille Hamilton. What were you doing 7 years ago?”

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– 

Timothy grabbed my hand. His carress was still so exciting, so familiar. I couldn’t wait to have him carry me to bed and make love to me for the second time that day.

“Did I tell you how absolutely sexy you look in that dress, Mil? I’d do you right now if I could,” He whispered in my ear. The dinner table was long and slender, and several ambassadors sat at it. It was Timothy’s brother, Fredrick’s wedding rehersal dinner. I could barely believe we’d been married for 3 years. They’d certainly been the best years of my life. 

“You could,” I whispered in his ear and slid my hand closer up his trousers.

“Anticipation is always best,” He grinned, before turning to some ancient countess, his hand never leaving my upper thigh.

“Mil?” Kendell gently prodded.

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“Uh, yes, sorry. Well, I was in a relationship then,”I admitted. “His name was Tim – I mean, Toby. It was such a whirlwind. He was one of the most emotionally draining people I’d ever met and we were passionately in love, but we were just not compatible. He was just a little controlling,” I lied, filling my mouth with another bite of his food. It wasn’t a complete lie, was it?

“I’m so sorry Mil, that must’ve been horrible – ”

“Kendell, I hate to intterupt and sound so rude,” I said suddenly, “But please don’t call me Mil. Toby used to call me that,” I admitted. “How about Millie?”

“Sounds perfect. Sorry about that, it just-“Screenshot-86

“No stress. Tell me about Eloise,”I said suddenly.

I can’t handle talking about that time of my life. He can’t contaminate everything I do.

 

“I know it sounds gross, but I totally loved it when I was younger. Grasshopper pie was my life.”

“You’re totally gross, Millie. First kiss?”

“My brother’s best friend, Kurtis. I was twelve,” I laughed. “Things go quicker in Britain. Yourself?”

“Jennifer Osbourne,” He winked.

“Are you joking? The Oscar winning actress?”I gasped, adjusting myself on the floor.

“Not joking. She was a particularly bad kisser. I couldn’t stop laughing while it was going on. She thought she was irresitable, but to be honest…”

“I’m going to sell that the Gawker!” I laughed. “Okay, so your first time? ”

“It was Gerna. When we met we were still interns, around 17 years old. She was truly my first love, even if she was a shitty one,”He laughed, but his eyes were empty.

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“Well, Ken, I don’t want to say I understand exactly what you’ve been through, because I don’t and I won’t. But you’re such  special person and I hate to see you down. I’ve gotten to know you so much recently, through all the modelling, you’re an amazing and irreplaceable person. So let’s grab some cheesecake, and chill later, okay?”

I jumped up from my seat and pulled him forward to the countertop.

“This looks gorgeous! Where’s a knife?”

“Camille.”

“Yes?”

He took a step closer to me. His face was so close that I could see the flecks of grey in his eyes.

“Kend-”

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I was silenced by his mouth on mine – I could feel the chemistry surging between us as our lips moulded together. His hands grabbed at my ass as I pulled him closer to me. His lips went to my neck, nibbling and kissing it with passion.

“Oh, Kendell…”

He pushed me closer against the counter, his motions fueled by desire. I hoisted my legs around his wait. Our lips never left one another.

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“Oh damn, Kendell, the cheesecake!” I yelled, pulling away from his embrace as I glanced down at the berries and filling smudged against my skirt.

I looked at him and we burst out laughing. I’m not sure what it was – the ridiculousness of the situation or the genuine happiness that we felt. I had never felt quite such a burst of elation before, nor do I think I could again with anyone else.

I left that evening, after an oddly satisfying make-out only sesh with thoughts of elation running through my mind. Timothy seemed so distant. All I could think and dream about was Kendell’s lips.

As I fell asleep, the last thing I thought was that we never did talk business.

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Hope you all enjoyed Chapter 2 of The Hamilton Legacy! 

I would love to hear feedback and any advice you’d like to share.

 

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1.1 – Camille

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The taxi pulled to a stop outside my brand new home.

I glanced out the window, the sun glaring in my grey eyes. I foucused on the pine door. To my dismay, a wonky ‘8’ winked back at me. Weeds danced around a rusty postbox.

My new home looked like a pile of crap.

“This is your stop, Miss…?”

“Hamilton,” I murmured after a slight pause.

Yes. Camille Hamilton. I’m no longer Lady Camille Westbrook. I’m back to being boring, middle class Camille. Which suited me just fine.

My fingers left my sides and lifted to the empty space where my necklace used to be.

Camille, what the hell are you doing?

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I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I jut needed to calm down. I was going to – rather, I needed to do this. I couldn’t go back to Rockbourne – not now, not ever. So what if my new house didn’t live up to standard? It was time for me to start over. Honestly, I didn’t give a shit whether the place I lived in was a hell-hole. Because it’s mine. Mine.

I didn’t owe anyone anything.

All I need to focus on was me.

Come on, Camille. It’s time to move on from that. You got this far. 

“Cool, then love. Time to hop out! Sure I can’t help ya with your box?” The taxi driver said cheerfully.

“Well, no. I’m not sure you offered, though,” I laughed as he teasingly tipped his hat.

“Just some nice Dragon Valley hospitality,” He grinned. “Please enjoy your stay here ma’am. Just a word of advice?”

“Sure,”I huffed as I pulled out my lone box from the trunk and carefully set it down besides me.

“Don’t rent houses from Kingsley Jaks,” He rolled his eyes as he gesticulated to the mess of a house behind me. “They’re always a pile of shit. If I were you, I’d go visit my son-in-law asap to find another. His name is Jase Pilingston. He can find you an emergency place chop-chop.

Usually I wouldn’t say anything, but really,” He rolled his eyes as he handed me a small card. “That is absolutely ridiculous. Especially considering it’s in the middle of a pretty affluent neighbourhood.”

“Thank you so much!” I smiled as I read the carefully scribbled words:

Pilingston Property

Rent or buy anywhere in Dragon Valley

Jase Pilingston

341-234-674

“Only a pleasure, sweets. Now, I ought to go. Enjoy your day, and please call Jase anytime. He’ll help you out in a flash.” He gave me one last dip of his cap before he drove off.

Alright Camille. Let’s do this.

Leaving my box of prized possesions outside, I opened the door tentatively and stepped inside.

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The mustard tiles reeked of grime and the edges of my trust Uggs slid against the grease that had clearly collected from the begin of time. The wood looked a little more trustworthy, yet a single half-step made the wood scream out in a loud creak. My hands reached automatically to Jase’s card tucked in the band of my sweats, yet I refrained myself. I needed to at least give this place a chance.

I turned around and glanced at the cheap fridge. Oh god. The fridge had the most revolting stench wafting from it. In that moment, I wanted to turn and dash straight out of this place. But no, somehow I managed to remind myself that honestly, anything is better than where I was coming from.

Yet, when I stared at the contents of that fridge, I was resolute in my choice to whip out my phone and call Jase as soon as possible.

Staring right back at me, with lifeless eyes, was the head of a dead possum. That had clearly been in the lukewarm fridge for over a week – judging by the various maggots dancing away at the skin of the poor animal.

I slammed the door and turned around and sighed a sigh of relief.

Okay, so it wasn’t perfect. Okay, so I’ll need to make a quick move. But I’m free, and freedom has never felt so damn amazing.

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The next morning, after checking myself into a cute bnb, I decided to start the general wander about town in order to aqquaint myself with my hideaway.

The town was gorgeous in general – the kind of quaint little place you could imagine just about anyone settling down in. Maybe one day I’d start a family here, lay down some roots. On my own terms – not having to hide my pills and pray to whatever god that I wasn’t pregnant.

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I strolled past the gorgeous medieval bistro and decided to treat myself to a little brunch. Enjoying my freedom once again, I switched on my phone and saw that he’d tried to call me over 20 times. Texts flickered on my screen, all in that similar threatening tone, all in that similar demanding way. I began reading the first one-

Camille, I don’t know where you are, but this nonsense is not going to last. Time to grow up and get yourself home – or there’ll be trouble. T

I was about to open the next one when a tall, slender woman brought me out of my haze.

“Miss?”

“Yes?”  I said, tucking my phone away.

“My name is Kerza Jema. I’m  a modelling scout – you’re exactly the type of person I’d like to represent us. Would you mind coming down to a shoot we’re doing qucikly?”

“It’ll only take a minute,” she implored as she saw my dubious expression. “This isn’t what we do normally – normaly we’d need headshots and a proper portfolio. But my star client, Kedun was abandoned by this totally flaky girl, who’s just honestly, such a bitch. But she gets the sponsorships…” Kerza ran her fingers through her black hair, obviously stressed.

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“Look, I’m actually offering you the oppourtunity of a lifetime. To model, with no experience, with someone like Kedun – it’s unheard of. But girl, you’ve got the body. You’re gorgeous. You’ve got the quality. You may suck, but I’m too desparate to give you up. If those goes well, we can talk about working together.”

“Well…”

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I mean, it’s not like I was going to do anything today. And it’d be nice to get some extra cash to cover the BnB cost.

“I’ll do it! I’m Camille, by the way.”

“Great, Camille.” She grinned. “Let’s go.”

We arrived at the shoot, and damn. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing. I stood there for a moment and stared at the flashing camera and the gorgeous male model posing – his face indignant and arrogant.

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After hours of being prodded at and pulled, I shlying walked into the shoot again. I took a deep breath and slid onto to white fabric (at the hand of Kerza’s gentle prodding.)

“You must be Camille. Come stand by Kedun – we’re gonna start off slow so just show me what you feel. Don’t be nervous,” The photgrapher gave me a gorgeous grin. “I’m Kendell.”

“Thanks, Kendell.” I walked forward and smiled at Kedun. He ignored me and pulled his pose in tighter.

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I pulled in my stomach and flowed into the motions that Kendell called out. Nothing has ever felt so natural, so comfortable. Yes, I needed adjustments and slight corrections by Kendell, but after being so caged for so many years, this was just the release I needed.

“That’s pretty good, folks,” Kendell shouted to the crew after him and Kenza discussed the images for quite some time. “Camille, may I talk to you for a moment?”

“Uhm, sure!” I smiled nervously. To be honest, Kendell intimidated me. Despite his friendly demenour, he was pretty scary and scolded any crew members that didn’t pull their weight.

“Hi, K-Kendell, you wanted to talk?”

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“Yes. Camille, frankly, you’re brilliant. I enjoyed having you on the set – you pretty much outshone Kedun. I think you should consider signing onto Kenza’s agency for the time being. You could be going places. The last time I saw modelling this good, well… Have you heard of Gerna Kazee?”

“The VS Angel?” I gasped.

“Yep. You have the same charisma, the same charm. You have a future, kiddo.”

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“T-Thank you Kendell. That means so much to me, you know, especially since you’ve seen them all-”

“So listen, Camille. Perhaps you’d like to discuss your prospects over dinner?”

Did he just ask me out?

“I’d like that.”

“Pick you up at 7?”

“Sounds perfect.”

As I sat in the taxi home, similar to the one the previous morning, I mulled over how different my life had become within two days.

It’s almost like his grasp is loosening it’s grip – finger by finger, day by day.