Ah! I'm sorry for posting this later in the day guys, but I have some school stuff for the next two weeks that happens in the morning, so for now, chapters on Tuesday are going to be posted in the afternoon. However, I have a treat for you! This is a loooonnggg chapter, hopefully it will fit into one post. But I hope you like it! Here it is!
Chapter 5: Where We Began
“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” - Lewis Carroll
Hey, babe! I’m so sorry I can’t be there at the party with you today, work has been CRAZY. But I hope that you have a great time, and text me all about it! Love you so much, sweets, can’t wait for this to be over so I could see you again. XOXO
Amy placed the phone back on the desk and let out a long, mildly disappointed sigh. She already knew about Jake not being able to make it to the surprise engagement party, of course - after all, being with him meant knowing that his slave driver of a boss didn’t care that her top-of-the-notch, hard working boyfriend had a life outside the office. Still, at times it hurt to witness special events - like the one occurring tonight - alone. It often left her with no one to really talk to or have a good time with, and the promise of a wonderful evening was usually ruined within the first five minutes of attendance.
Whatever, she thought, brushing through her hair as she stared into her mirror. Tonight isn’t about me.
Yes, tonight she would put on a good face, and really, really try to make an effort. Which, of course, meant keeping the sarcasm on the down low, not sulking in the corner, and making polite small talk with her relatives.
Oh god, her relatives!
Amy groaned. How could the thought of actually interacting with the people that she called “family” simply slip her mind when she agreed to this? And why did she not already have an exit strategy prepared? What was she, a novice?
She already felt a massive headache coming on. This is going to be the Cahill reunion of my nightmares.
“It’s cool, you’re cool,” she said to herself quietly, wiping away her ruined eyeliner with a makeup wipe. This was bound to happen sooner or later, though quite honestly, she would have preferred later.
Swallowing a lump in her throat, Amy continued to apply her makeup, attempting to not mess it up with her shaking hands. She hadn’t seen a majority of her family in . . . well, a while, to say the least. And she’s barely spoken to any of them over the years. In fact, Amy could count on one hand the people that she still kept in touch with. It wasn’t because she hated them, or because they didn’t get along or something (well, that was the case with most of them), it was simply because they had lost touch with each other as adulthood gradually consumed their lives. Or at least that’s what she liked to tell herself, anyway.
Amy wondered how they would react when they saw her. Honestly, their thoughts of her frightened the the young woman more than she liked to admit.
Fastening a delicate bracelet around her wrist, Amy stood up and went to take a look at herself in the full length mirror. Veronica had let her borrow an absolutely gorgeous floor length gown which she scored from a designer friend, and although Amy objected to wearing such finery at first, she eventually gave in after much pleading from her future sister-in-law. Apparently, the dress made her look -
“So incredibly amazing, why everyone is going to have sweet dreams for a long time after seeing you like this!” squealed the bride-to-be as she barged into Amy’s room.
Amy smiled at the sight of the energetic twenty-four year old. “Thanks, Veronica. You look great, too.”
The brunette grinned at the compliment and gave a little twirl. Her navy blue gown had a long train, and a bunch of flowers embroidered on it, and it made the smiling O’Malley girl look like an elegant Rococo painting come to life.
“I’m so psyched for tonight! I can’t believe that I’m finally going to meet your’s and Dan’s family. I know I should be more nervous about this, but I’ve found a way to channel all that negative energy into excitement, and now, I’m totally fine!” Veronica laughed, and plopped down on the bed. “God, I hope they like me.”
“Of course they will! Who wouldn’t?” Amy was surprised to find how much she meant that. Despite Veronica’s sometimes overly enthusiastic and bubbly moments, Amy found her to be funny and sweet - maybe a little immature and naive at times, but that added to her personal charm. Yes, she found that the younger girl may have started to grow on her a little bit.
“Besides,” she continued. “They honestly can’t judge you. In fact, out of everyone in my social circle, I can confidently say that you are the most normal one.”
Veronica giggled. “Really?”
Smoothing out her dress, Veronica headed to the window to watch the many guests arriving in their beautiful sleek rides. “Are you excited to see anyone? I know it’s been a while.”
Amy tucked a stray hair behind her ear. “Mostly nervous, to be completely honest here.” She let out a soft smile. “But I guess I’m going to be happy to see one person. My former ‘au pair’, Nellie. She’s like the big sister I never had, I don’t know how I would have survived adolescence without her.”
“Oh, I think I met her and her husband before! She’s a caterer, right?” asked Veronica
“Yeah!” Amy responded. “You know, you should ask her to do the wedding. Her food will blow everyone away, and I’m not saying that just because she’s family.”
“Maybe I will!” exclaimed the brunette. “I’ll ask her after ‘the big reveal’.”
“You do that.” Amy joined Veronica at the window. “Looking for anyone?”
“Just my parents. They promised they’d be here today, and I haven’t seen them in a while,” the girl replied. “Is your date going to be here soon?”
“My boyfriend works long hours, and his boss is a nightmare. I swear, I tell him to quit almost every day, but he loves the firm too much - despite its awful management,” Amy complained, frowning a bit.
Veronica gave her a pitying glance, and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. “I’m sorry,” she said. “No matter, even without a date, you are still going to have an unforgettable night, promise me.”
“I promise,” Amy laughed, putting on a sparkling diamond necklace. The younger girl was already making her feel better . . . maybe it wasn’t going to be such a terrible evening after all.
“Well, I think I should go grab Dan - we better start greeting our guests,” the brunette said. “Meet us in the ballroom in five?”
Veronica smiled at her once more, gave herself a once over in the mirror, and left Amy alone to her thoughts.
She had five minutes to gather up the nerve to simply walk down a set of stairs. She knew this was ridiculous - after all, in her short lifetime, she had been greeted with far more horrific sights than strangers in their formal wear. Yet, the thought of being in the same room as . . .
No, she thought. It’s time to stop running.
Yes, it most certainly was. With that final thought, Amy smoothed down her hair, put on the torture devices known as her shoes, and made her way out of the room.
She was ready for this.
She was not ready for this.
Amy clearly underestimated the importance of this event, because oh my god, the splendor and extravagance of the mansion left her lost for words. For a moment she wondered if this was really the same house that she grew up in, because it looked nothing like it. Fresh flowers were everywhere, and they made the place smell like some sort of botanical garden dreams were made of. The floors and windows shined with a blinding cleanliness Amy had never seen before, and the white glove service passed around fragile flutes of expensive champagne to the elegant guests taking in the stunning scenery. There was live entertainment, a smooth jazz band and a string quartet, as well as two separate areas - one for dancing and one for dinner. She hadn’t even taken a look outside, but she was sure that it was marvelous. Everything was like a fairytale come to life.
As Amy made her way down the stairs, she surveyed the increasing crowds. Surprisingly, most of them seemed like they were made up of mainly Veronica’s people - bubbly relatives and fashion industry friends, all dolled up and glamorized, and most importantly, ready to party. That was fine and dandy with her, the way she saw it, the less Cahills she had to make small talk with the better. But as she quickened her pace, a flash of ginger caught her eyes that made her stop in her tracks - Sinead. Unfortunately for her, the woman in gold spotted her too. Sinead’s eyes widened for a moment, but returned to normal when she sent Amy a tight smile and a small wave. Amy returned the gesture with equal stiffness.
Regrettably, after Sinead’s betrayal, the two girls were never able to fully salvage their friendship. Hell, at first, Amy couldn’t even be in the same room with the redhead without wanting to tear her limb from limb for everything that she had done. But after Sinead broke down in front of her, and practically begged on her knees for forgiveness, Amy felt a twinge of pity for the girl. Along with the other leaders of the branches, she decided to pardon Sinead for her crimes with the condition that Sinead leave the ‘States immediately - there was just too much blood on her hands and she had to pay in one way or another. Time and distance proved to be working remedies, for now Amy couldn’t detect a hint of malice in Sinead’s blue orbs. Just regret.
Amy closed her eyes. She could remember her own murderous screaming as if it were yesterday.
“You nearly got Natalie killed, a thirteen-year-old girl! You nearly killed a thirteen-year-old girl! Do you know what that would have done to Ian? Ian, remember him? The one you attempted to frame and ostracize? You blackmailed Hamilton with a secret so delicate - I mean, that’s - that’s despicable! And don’t even get me started on what you did to Jonah and his poor cousin! Oh, and me - you lied to me, your so-called best friend! And Evan, oh god, Evan! How could your depraved mind justify what you did to Evan, he wasn’t even a Cahill! What is wrong with you?!”
Snapping out of her trance, Amy sharply turned her head another way, and swiftly made her way through the masses of socializing people. She couldn’t deal with this right now, she just had to get some air. Walking briskly, she didn’t notice where she was going until it was too late.
“Oof!” she let out, as she bumped into a hard body of a tall man. “Excuse me, sir.”
Amy’s jaw dropped. It couldn’t be . . . “Ham?”
The hulking blonde man beamed merrily showing all his teeth and all but happily yelled, “Amy!” He picked the New Yorker up and twirled her in the air despite her many protests. They were attracting quite an audience, but Hamilton Holt could not care less, it’s been way too long and he wasn’t going to let a couple of judgy people ruin this moment. “I have missed you so much, you fearless leader you!” He lowered the blushing woman down to the ground. “Honestly, where have you been?”
Amy just stared. He seemed so . . . happy to see her. Really, she expected a much colder reception. “New York,” she finally replied, still sporting a semi-dazed look.
“Yeah,” she said, finally allowing herself to smile. “It’s home.”
“Whatever you say, girlie,” he shrugged, grabbing at an hor d'oeuvre. “Mm, crab cakes, good stuff. So, how’ve you been? Tell me, how’s life with that non-Cahill treating you?”
Amy chuckled awkwardly. “Well, Jake just got another promotion, and we have this great new flat now. Oh, and I wrote another article for the New York Times - ”
“I know, I read it.” At Amy’s baffled look Hamilton just rolled his eyes. “What? I know that stuff usually isn’t my thing, but I got to keep up with my girl!”
Amy was so ecstatic she could’ve cried. Hamilton Holt read her article, which meant that despite having all the reasons to, Hamilton Holt didn’t hate her. It was the best news she’d had all day.
Suddenly, there was a loud shriek. “Hamilton!”
The blonde man closed his eyes. “Oh lord.”
A young, blonde woman in a light pink dress and a tight updo marched up to Hamilton with an adamant expression. “What now, Madison?”
Madison Holt scrunched up her face into a sour expression. “You promised that you would introduce me to him, and so far, that hasn’t happened! How am I supposed to judge if I’ve never even met the man?”
“Never met whom?”
It was then that Madison took notice of Amy’s presence, and it took her a moment to form her dumbfounded look back into a poker face. “Well, well, well, ladies and gentlemen, she finally speaks after years of radio silence! Thank god we’re back in her good graces even though we didn’t do anything to deserve that unwarranted silent treatment. Tell me, Ames, what brought you back to us peasants, a change of mind or a change of heart? Or were you just forcefully dragged down here to finally say ‘hi’?”
“Mads, cut it out,” Hamilton barked.
“It’s okay, Hamilton,” Amy assured. “I deserved that.”
“You still do,” sneered Madison.
“Enough!” Hamilton interrupted. “And no, she doesn’t. It wasn’t her fault, and it’s none of our business. Plus, we’ve already discussed this a long time ago, need I remind you, sis.”
Amy raised an eyebrow in curiosity. Discussed what?
“Whatever,” Madison replied, and tugged on her brother’s arm. “Let’s go already!”
Hamilton sighed in exasperation. “Okay, I’ll tell you what - you go find him, and I’ll catch up with you in a sec, okay?”
“Fine, just hurry up!” With one last look at Amy, Madison disappeared.
“Who’s she trying to find?” Now it was Hamilton’s turn to blush.
“My boyfriend, Matt,” he whispered, rubbing the back of his neck.
Amy’s eyes widened at the revelation of the Holt brother’s newfound joy. “Hamilton, that’s great! I’m so happy for you! And you’re happy too, right?”
“Happier than I have been in a while,” he replied with a grin.
Amy smiled. “I’d love to meet him too, you know.”
“And you will!” Hamilton exclaimed. “Just after my family does, they’re still . . . adjusting, so to say, and I promised them that tonight they’ll be the first to meet him.”
“Of course, take your time,” she responded.
“I’ll see you around, Amy, and please don’t be a stranger.” Hamilton said with a thoughtful expression on his handsome face. “We all miss you, you know.”
Amy really did have tears in her eyes when she replied, “Let’s grab lunch sometime, Ham.”
Hamilton smiled. “I’ll hold you to that!” With that, he walked away, leaving Amy to quickly wipe away her tears in peace. It seemed like she was wanted after all.
What do you guys think? And if you've read my previous draft, you'd know that I changed a few things around since then, but I just thought that it would be more believable and interesting this way. Also, one question, since I haven't been keeping up with the series: is Hamilton gay or bi? Let me know, and look out for the next update on Friday, where we'll meet some more of our favorite characters!