He wanted her to stay true to herself, but lie.
Camille listened in a half-daze as they sat on his luxury private jet, while he explained what he wanted her to do. She understood. She couldn't say how they really met. Too many questions were bound to arise. What was he doing there? In a town considered the middle of nowhere. A town that was more insignificant than a dot on the map. She didn't have to pretend she came from a wealthy background, but she did have to pretend they met somewhere else and that she went to a different college. Most likely in New York and he suggested either Columbia or NYU. Of course Camille instantly felt more comfortable with NYU than the school belonging to the Ivy League. They would've met in one of those coffee shops New York was so famous for. She would've spilled her coffee on him. Apologizes would have been muttered, conversation would have ensued, numbers eventually exchanged. It was all very cliché. She wasn't sure she could believe it much less convince others.
The whole thing bothered her more than she cared to admit. But she reminded herself that he wasn't telling her to lie because he was ashamed of her but rather to protect his sister Kat. It was a lie she had almost convinced herself of. Almost.
"And where should I say I grew up?" she mused as she stared across to the screen that faced them. "I'm guessing I can't tell them where I'm truly from."
Jace looked at her. She wondered if he could see how unhappy she was about having to lie, but she bit the inside of her cheek instead. She would handle all their obstacles with grace and style; at least she hoped she would. It had taken much to get her to this point and it was too late to turn back now. It seemed these days like it was always too late to turn back.
"Well you could if it wasn't for my mother. It would be too much of a coincidence and she'd figure it all out."
Camille wondered if he was going to do anything about Kat and their mother, but didn't press that issue further. Instead she sighed. This was exactly what she didn't want- to have to pretend. "Jace-"
He sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. "I know this is hard Ky, and I hate that I have to ask you to do this-"
"It's fine Jace. I get it. We need to protect Kat."
Jace blinked but said nothing.
Camille did understand but it sucked that she had to lie. She wasn't the world's best liar either and now she would have to do it perfectly. Perhaps she was being too negative about the whole thing. This wasn't so bad. She realized she could have fun with it. She could create a whole fairytale life. However, she didn't want to take the chance that she'd let her guard down and get caught in the web of lies that she would have woven. That was more shame and embarrassment than it was worth. She would keep it as close to the truth as possible. Some research would be needed though.
"I'm going to go use your laptop," she said as she got up from the couch.
Jace grabbed her hand. "Camille, you can still change your mind. If you'd rather spend Christmas with your family, I'll understand…. and if you want me to come with you I will."
She blinked at him. She imagined bringing him home with her. She already felt the courage to face Alice and Greg knowing he was there. Her mother would be happy to have her home for the holidays. She wouldn't have to lie and pretend. All her anxiety would disappear. But no, she wouldn't run away from this. She would have to face these people sooner or later and perhaps sooner was better. Besides she wasn't sure she'd have the courage to do this again.
"No. I'm fine Jace. Besides I can't wait to see what stuffed animals you have on your bed," she teased lightly.
He smiled. "I think you're gonna be sorely disappointed there."
Camille laughed as she shook her head before she headed into the bedroom. Sitting at the desk, the sound of her fingers clicking against the keys of the laptop filled the room. After a quick search on the web, she found that the Fashion Institute of Technology would be the best fit for her. Camille internally chuckled since its letters also made FIT. There, she would continue to major in fashion designing. She could even say that she would be spending her fourth year of college in Milan. Perhaps that would impress those uptight, pretentious people. She shook her head at that. However, exploring the school almost made her want to transfer and become an actual student there, but she knew she would rather stay close to her family. Besides her college was fine enough. A part of her became excited at the prospect of finally returning to school.
After deciding on the school, Camille realized she hadn't figured out where she would say her hometown was. She quickly decided she would stick to a small town to make it easier, just in a different state. Trying to think of other questions she might be asked, Camille came up blank. Since she was keeping the majority of her life the same, she wouldn't have to lie too much. She knew by doing this instead of spinning a lavish story, they would most likely look down at her. However, she would rather feel their judgment than judge herself for all the lies she would have to otherwise tell.
"How's it going?" Jace asked.
Camille looked up. "Great."
Jace frowned. "Don't lie to me Ky."
"I'm not. I've created a story I could tell in my sleep. Also I think we should go over what we're going to say so that we're on the same page."
With a sigh, Jace conceded. They went over the lie of how they met and everything that had transpired between them since. They went over it until they had convinced themselves it was true.
They landed an hour later. Camille stood on the step of the plane. The bright sun assaulted her eyes as the harsh cold bit her face. She dug her hands deeper into the pockets of her coat as she continued to make her way down. This time there wasn't any one there to greet them but a silver Porsche which waited while quietly purring.
"Where is everyone?" she asked as she turned to look at Jace.
He shrugged. "I gave them the day off."
Well what could she say to that?
As they drove around town, they passed homes and schools. She smiled as she saw all the people milling about going into various stores. She saw kids lined up to get into a small ice-cream shop. In this weather, perhaps it sold hot chocolate as well? Other kids were on the sidewalk playing hopscotch and skipping rope. Or perhaps these kids were more resilient and didn't allow the cold to deter their fun? She supposed it wasn't that cold. Regardless, she felt like she was transported back to the past and she was overwhelmed by the feeling of a sense of community.
"You know I never took you for a small town kinda guy," she said.
He quickly turned to her with a smile. "Yeah well. This place is a bit different."
"Oh really how so?"
His hand tightened on the steering wheel. "Well for one, my family owns the whole town."
Camille blinked. "What? How?"
"Well, my ancestors came from Europe and got rich off selling and exporting tobacco. They ended up building up much of this town and they allowed others to come and work for them either growing tobacco or running one of the many shops. Eventually they built enough housing and provided the necessary schools for people to stay and so families have actually been living here for generations."
"Well talk about a legacy. Of course your family has a company town. I don't know why I'm even surprised."
Jace looked at her sheepishly. "I could show you around later if you'd like. Before I was sent away to boarding school, I had a good relationship with most of the people here, well in the sense that I was just another kid who lived here and got ice-cream after school."
Camille doubted that he was treated just like every kid around here, but she appreciated the gesture. "I'd like that actually," she smiled. These people were probably more genuine and friendlier than the ones she was about to meet.
After a few moments, the buildings of the town began to fade behind them. Soon Jace took a quick right into a wooded area. Camille had expected them to begin driving on a dirt road and found instead that there was a narrow paved road flanked on each side by a densely packed forest filled with pines, spruces and hemlocks.
After a few minutes, Jace slowed to stop in front of a sprawling, intricately designed iron wrought gate. He rolled down the window to punch in a quick password into an inconspicuous keypad. As the gates began to roll aside, Jace shifted the car back into gear and they continued driving up a winding road.
"Fancy," Camille mocked quietly.
Jace chuckled softly but said nothing. As they drove along, Camille began seeing the roofs of various houses peeking between the trees. "How many people live here?" she asked.
"Well really just my family but those houses you're seeing are for our guests."
"Those are guest homes?" She couldn't see much but from just the sizes of the roofs, she could imagine those guest homes were quite large.
"Well I mean there aren't really any hotels around here- well none that her guests would stay in- and with my mother throwing her ball every year, well they need a place to stay and so those guest homes were built. I mean they treat our town as if it's some kinda quaint tourist destination, but they aren't willing to stay in the bed and breakfast there. But at least they bring in more revenue, well for those that do venture beyond the gates that is."
Although this town was different from her own, Camille already felt a connection with the people there and she felt sickened that those people would treat them as if they were just there for their amusement and pleasure.
Jace slowed the car as they came upon a large, imposing, brick colonial style home. It was at least three storeys and had glass windows that littered each floor. The walls had a staggered effect so that each one created more depth than the last. The mahogany door was surrounded by greek inspired columns and was framed by windows on each side.
"Welcome to my part of the house or as its known, the East Wing."
"So there's also a North, South and West Wing then," she asked in slight awe as she stared at the grand house.
He nodded. "Well my parents live in the North Wing and my sister has the West Wing and guests can stay in the South Wing; that one is basically just for entertaining. That's actually where the ball will be held in a few days."
"And all the wings look like their own mansion?"
"More or less," he said. "They're also all connected and surround a courtyard that's in the center, which I think you'll really like," he said softly.
Wow, was all she could think. This was all for a family of four, who probably didn't even spend much of their time there. It still made her uncomfortable to believe that, but she would have to come to accept that this was just another part of his life. Just like she was. That last part made her smile.
"Don't tell me, but this house actually has a million and one bedrooms doesn't it?"
He smiled. "Well a million and three to be exact."
"Darn so close," she grinned.
Jace stared at her a moment before he cupped her face. Camille closed her eyes and wanted to melt as his thumb gently caressed her skin.
"I'm glad you came Ky," he said, his grey eyes darkening.
Camille wrapped her arms around him, pulling him closer. She brushed her lips softly against his before she whispered, "Me too."
Then he kissed her and she held him tighter as her skin tingled with anticipation. She wanted his hands on her, touching her, feeling her. She wanted to feel every inch of him. She gently bit his lip and she could feel him smirk against hers before he began kissing her so hard that she could hardly breathe. Eventually, they pulled away, Jace resting his forehead against hers while they both tried to catch their breaths.
After a few more moments, Jace said, "What did I tell you about biting Ky?"
She shrugged. "You said nothing about biting you," she smiled coyly. Amusement sparkled in his eyes at her response. "Now if you don't mind I'd like the grand tour of your grand house Mr. Kraft."
"As you wish Ms. Livingston."
After gathering their luggage, they stepped into the foyer. Now if she thought his house in Massachusetts was luxurious…
She stood in awe as she stared at the glossy marble floors, which had light tones of gray woven within. The floors shone and sparkled in the lights that scattered across the ceiling. The intricately designed glass chandelier hung above an exquisitely designed circular pattern carved into the marble floor. The spiral staircases were back but this time they had had beautifully designed black metal banisters and instead of leading and disappearing into hallways, the banister led to an airy open area which created miniature balconies that curved along each side of the walls. Camille could see three doors on the left, each separated by columns, while the right only had a large cream double door in the middle. Nestled between the spiral staircase were expensive looking gray couches separated by a circular gray and cream rug. Above was an intricately designed gray and gold painted ceiling that spiraled inward until it met a glass dome that allowed a natural light to stream in which served to make the place feel even larger. Beyond the couches was a lofty glass window that spanned the length of the entire wall to the second floor and exposed a luscious, green courtyard outside.
Camille quickly glanced to her right to see more columns and steps leading to creamy white couches and expensive paintings that complemented the furniture and to the left of her held a good sized gray dining table surrounded by gray and white chairs. She knew if she stepped in further she would most likely see a very chic and upscale kitchen as well.
Camille gulped. "Well this is-"
"-Excessive," Jace provided.
She nodded. "Well that's one word at least." She took in her surroundings again. "It's absolutely stunning to be honest," she breathed.
Jace laughed. "I can tell you that my mother would love to hear that since she had it designed like this."
"Well that explains the feminine feel it has about it," she mused.
Jace chuckled. "Well I guess she thought all the gray would balance that out. Don't tell her she failed at that part," he winked.
"When do I meet them? Your parents," she asked hesitantly.
Jace ran a hand through his hair. "Most likely before dinner. Don't worry we aren't eating with them at least. I want you to feel more comfortable with the whole thing first. And honestly I haven't sat down and had dinner with my parents in years."
She nodded. She was relieved at that. The anxiety she had over embarrassing herself at dinner was still very much present although she had researched fine dining etiquette before they had landed.
"What about Laila? I'm sure she's dying to see you," she smiled.
"We'll see her tomorrow. I believe she has a busy day today and so do we," he said vaguely. Camille wanted to press him about that but knew his response would offer nothing. Instead, she decided to change the topic.
"Where is everyone anyway?" She realized that the house was eerily quiet and devoid of any maids, chefs, and butlers.
"Like I said, I gave everyone the day off, well at least from this wing. Unfortunately, they might still have been diverted to either the South Wing to prepare for the ball or to the guest homes."
"Trying to tone it down are you?" she teased.
Jace grinned. "Something like that." He grabbed her hand and intertwined their fingers. Camille blushed at how intimate the gesture felt. "Come let me show you rest of the wing."
"The rest?" she asked confused.
He gave her a small smile before pulling to her an alcove tucked away along the right wall. There held an elevator with a small, elegant table, which had an exquisite vase that held white roses.
"Of course," she said. "I couldn't imagine this house being complete without one of these," she said commenting on the elevator.
"I'm just trying to meet your expectations," he smiled as he pressed the arrow pointing down.
The elevator instantly dinged open and they stepped inside. The interior was entirely fitted with glass. Camille looked at her reflection staring back at her. Even it screamed that she wasn't supposed to be here, but she blinked those thoughts away. She was growing quite tired of hearing those negative views. Chanelle's words came back to fuel her new perspective. She did belong. Although that still felt like a bit of a stretch at the moment, she would work to believe it.
As soon as the doors closed, Jace captured her hands and held them above her head. He pressed his lips against hers and Camille felt a hunger ignite within her as she pressed her body against his. As he teased her lips open and their tongues met, the elevator dinged and a cough came from behind them.
They quickly broke apart and looked to see where the sound came from.
"Well what do we have here," a familiar voice said. It was a British accent mixed with one of someone who lived in New York. Matthew Worthington. He had seemed like a nice person before all hell broke loose in Jace's apartment. She had never gotten the chance to get to know him. She hadn't expected to ever see him again either.
"Camille," he said sounding pleasantly surprised.
"Hello Matthew," she replied as her eyes took him in. She smiled as she saw his dark brown hair and those dark blue eyes that she had barely seen before, yet they somehow comforted her.
"Jace why didn't you bloody say you were bringing Camille," he said as he pulled her into a hug, surprising her. After he pulled away, he said, "I know we didn't get to really meet last time but if you're here now that says a lot. I hope we'll get to know each other a lot better this time." Camille bit her lip at his words.
Jace clenched his jaw as he took in his friend. "What the hell are you doing here Matt?"
"Well you see Fiona wanted us to have something of a reunion before the ball. You know what with you moving into Harvard's library and all."
Jace shook his head, before sticking out his hand. Camille watched as a strange handshake ensued before they gave each other one of those manly hugs.
"Good to see you man," Jace said.
"You too mate," Matthew responded.
Hearing her name Fiona came strolling over, her red tresses were curled elegantly around her shoulder, which was clothed in a white cashmere sweater. As soon as she saw Jace though, she practically leapt into his arms. Jace grunted as he caught her and looked mildly upset at her gesture before he grinned at her. Camille watched as Jace hugged her tightly. She bit her lips at how intimate they seemed.
"Jacey-poo! I was wondering what was taking you so long," she said as she placed a kiss on each of his cheek. She glanced over at Camille. "But I see what held up your time."
"Fiona," Camille said politely. She thought they had made some kind of peace after the whole Mike thing but perhaps now that she had stepped into their territory, all bets were off. Camille sighed internally. Great she already had one enemy to worry about.
"Camille," she said in a syrupy sweet voice that sounded incredibly fake. "Didn't expect to see you here."
"Well… surprise," she said dryly.
"Fiona," Jace warned knowing the tension that existed between the two.
"Oh Jacey don't worry your pretty little face. Camille and I will be fast friends after this trip, won't we?"
Camille wanted to roll her eyes. Did she think anyone believed her? "Looking forward to it," Camille said sweetly.
"See?" Fiona sent a look to Jace who still stared at her warningly. "Now where's Eddie. He's missing the party."
"Did someone call my name?" came another voice. A guy came into view. He looked very similar to Matthew except he had light green eyes and a boyish grin on his face. Camille instantly felt that he was the laidback one of the group. His eyes lit up as he saw Jace although his expression became puzzled as he looked at her. Camille felt a bit hurt that Jace hadn't told his friends that she was coming. Or in this case that she even existed.
"Hey Mate! We heard you were coming in today and thought we'd surprise you," Edward said. "Especially since I haven't seen you in what, years? Hurt a guy's feelings why don't you. I thought we were friends here."
"Always so dramatic Ed," Jace sighed before grinning and pulling him into one of those manly hugs again.
"Nice to finally see you too mate."
Then he turned to her. " You'd think we hadn't all practically grown up together. Anyway, I guess I'm the only one you haven't met then. I'm Edward Worthington: the much better looking version of that bloke over there," he grinned, which instantly put her at ease. He stuck out his hand, which Camille shook.
"Great now that you're here Jace we can get this party started. Diva Vodka anyone?" Fiona asked.
Diva Vodka was right.
After just a one shot of a drink actually called Diva Vodka, Camille was starting to feel a bit lightheaded. She clutched the counter of the bar to steady herself. She looked around the room that held black couches and a screen that took up an entire wall. There was also a pool table to the right of them. The whole room screamed bachelor pad. She half expected to see a stripper pole descend from the ceiling. Although she really hoped she was completely wrong about that one.
Fiona placed another glass in front of her. "Drink up."
Camille shook her head. "I don't think that's a good idea."
"Oh come on, how are we going to play drunk truth or dare if you're not drunk Camille."
Truth or dare?
What were they? In middle school?
"Fiona stop," Jace said.
She pouted. "Fine we can just play pool then."
"Don't we have to meet your parents Jace," Camille said slowly, trying to keep her wits together.
Jace wrapped his arms protectively around her waist. "First I think we need to get something other than vodka in your system."
"Oh come on. It was just one shot," Fiona whined. She scoffed as she took in Camille. "What a lightweight."
Jace glared at her. "Not everyone has been drinking since they were in diapers Fi."
Fiona simply shrugged, and held up the shot in a mock salute before quickly downing the drink. "Have fun meeting his parents Camille. I'm sure they'll simply enjoy seeing you," she said sarcastically.
Camille gulped. She was already intimidated by the idea and Fiona just had to rub it in.
"Lay off her Fiona. Jace's parents are scary enough without you making it worse," Ed said. Then he shot a sheepish grin at Jace. "No offense mate."
"Well I think she'll do great with them," Matt said with a soft smile; his dark blue eyes exuding warmth and comfort.
Camille smiled back gently, appreciating his vote of confidence.
She felt Jace's hand grip her waist more tightly. "Of course she will," he said. "We'll see you guys later." Then he narrowed his eyes at Fiona. "Watch her and make sure she doesn't drink everything."
"Will do mate!" Ed grinned, albeit mischievously.
Matt simply shrugged before waving goodbye at Jace who was about step into the elevator and then winking at Camille. She wasn't sure how to take that.
As the elevator door closed, Jace turned to her. "I'm sorry about Fiona."
"It's fine Jace. I'm used to it."
He shook his head. "She's actually not usually like that. I'll talk to her. I won't let her treat you that way."
Not usually like that? Although it touched her that Jace was trying to come to her rescue, unfortunately, that was the only way she knew Fiona, well except when it came to Mike. Perhaps if they did become 'fast friends' like Fiona said, then she'd be able to find out about that complicated story.
He continued. "Also I didn't know they'd be here or-"
"Or what? You'd have actually told them about me? About us?" The door opened and Camille stalked out.
Jace grabbed her hand and spun her around. "Camille."
She bit the inside of her cheek to prevent tears from welling in her eyes. "It's fine Jace. I get it."
"That's not it Ky. I was just focused on other things that I hadn't gotten around to telling them yet."
She looked away. Jace slipped a finger under her chin, forcing her to look up at him. "If I were trying to keep you, us, a secret then I certainly wouldn't have brought you here. We certainly wouldn't be moments from meeting my parents."
He ran a hand through his hair. "Believe me when I say that it just slipped my mind Ky and that's it."
She sighed. "Okay, okay." Then she glanced in the direction of the kitchen. "So what did you say you're putting in my system again?" Then she held up a hand. "And please refrain from any perverted jokes Mr. Kraft."
Jace chuckled softly. "You just know how to ruin my fun don't you Ms. Livingston."
Camille shook her head with a smile.
After scarfing down a quick turkey and cheese sandwich with a side of pickles and whipped cream, Camille was feeling much better. Although she now wished she had some more vodka to calm her frazzled nerves. Jace had told her that it was time to meet his parents in the courtyard. Apparently the courtyard was a great halfway point since his mother had to go entertain some of the guests who had arrived and were staying in the South Wing.
She had on a beige, knitted winter dress with boots. Jace assured her it was warm enough in the courtyard to not wear her coat since it was temperature controlled and since it was winter they had the glass roof erected. This glass roof could also apparently slide out of place in the summer time to allow the courtyard to have more of an open space. All she could do was nod as if she had ever heard of such a thing. Camille was more anxious about whether her outfit was appropriate, she had planned to change but since this was a quick meet and greet, he had assured her that she had nothing to worry about.
She didn't believe that.
As they waited patiently in the courtyard for Jace's parents to arrive, Camille could feel her hand sweating. The courtyard on the other hand was quite serene. A grand fountain was situated in the middle surrounded by lush green foliage. Beneath laid a circle, which swirled outward until it met the marble pathways coming from each wing of the house. Other than those pathways, the rest of ground was made of delicately placed refined stones. Stone benches were purposely placed along the the walls of the North and South wing while a small glass table and chairs was placed at one corner of the East and West Wing. She looked up at the glass roof to see the moon peaking behind the clouds. The gentle light shimmered down to cast a tranquil glow on the water spouting from the elegant fountain. However, none of this managed to soothe her uneasiness.
"Don't be nervous," Jace said reassuringly as he placed her fingers against his lips and kissed each one softly. She was reminded of when he did the same gesture on her first plane ride. She instantly felt warmed and invigorated.
The clicking of heels against the marble pathway leading from the North Wing to the fountain where they stood, alerted them to the arrival of Jace's parents. Soon, Diane Kraft and Charles Kraft stood before her. Diane's black hair was elegantly coiffed and her blue eyes were sharp. She was dressed in a simple yet elegant long sleeved black dress and heels. Charles who looked very much like his son was dressed also in a simple black suit. They both had those same piercing grey eyes and similar facial features. The only real contrasting feature was their hair. While Jace had gotten his dark hair from his mother, his father had blonde hair, which was greying around the edges. He was a bit shorter than Jace, but what he lacked in stature he made up in presence.
"William," Charles boomed with a gentle smile. She could almost feel Jace tense.
"Good evening father," Jace said curtly extending his hand to his father who grasped it strongly. He turned to Diane. "Mother," he said with a small smile as his mother embraced him and kissed both of his cheeks.
"My darling son. It's so wonderful to see you home at last."
"Of course mother. I wouldn't miss your ball for the world," he said warmly. Then he turned to Camille. "Father, mother, I'd like you to meet Ms. Camille Livingston," he said with a small tight smile.
" Well it's lovely to meet you Camille," Charles said as he extended his hand. Camille made sure to shake his hand firmly.
"Quite a grip you've got there Ms. Livingston," Charles said approvingly.
Diane, however, embraced her. "It's such a pleasure to meet you as well Camille. I do hope my son has been treating you well."
"Oh yes. You have raised quite the gentleman."
"He gets that from me," Charles interjected jokingly and Diane laughed softly. From the corner of her eye, however, she could see Jace tightly clench his jaw.
"Camille do you mind if I speak to my son alone for a bit. I promise I won't keep him away from you for too long."
Diane smiled. "I do hope you mean that Charles. We do have to meet the Archibald's and the Henderson's for dinner in a few."
"Of course my dear," he said as he placed a gentle kiss on his wife's cheek before heading back to the North Wing, Jace following in tow.
Camille began to feel relaxed. That went much better than she had expected. She almost felt silly at how much anxiety she had experienced over meeting his parents. She turned to Diane, a smile sliding into place as she said,"Mrs. Kraft, I have heard so much about your ball and I can't wait-"
"Where are you from Camille?" she asked curtly.
Camille blinked at her sudden change in demeanor. "I'm just from a small town in Michigan," she said, the lie rolling off her tongue with ease.
I see," she said dryly. She pursed her lips as she took in Camille's appearance. " "And tell me Camille, just what do you think you're doing here?"
Camille's eyes widened. "I'm sorry?"
"You know in my house, parading around on my son's arm."
Camille clasped her hand together tightly. "Mrs. Kraft, I think-"
"You want to know what I think Camille. I think you found out who my son was and you set your greedy little eyes on him. Did you think he was going to be your prince charming, come to rescue you from your desolate life and provide you a fairytale?"
"No! That's not true at all. I don't care about his money," Camille said indignantly.
"Oh is that what you told him? That you don't want him for his money, that you see beyond all the luxury and just see him for him." Diane narrowed her eyes at Camille. "Now Ms. Livingston you may have gotten him to believe such lies with whatever charm that's worked for you thus far, but I know girls like you and you only want one thing and its not his heart. After all I was in a very similar situation when I met Charles. I'll be honest, I myself came from a small town and I knew he was my ticket out of that life. So you see I know just what kind of tricks you have up your sleeve."
"With all due respect Mrs. Kraft, we are not the same person," she said, clenching her fists.
Diane scoffed. "I can see you're going to continue to pretend but if you think I am going to allow you to stay with my son, you're in for a rude awakening. I will not allow some girl such as yourself impede his future in any way. I have worked very hard to ensure he's had everything and I will not let you ruin it."
Camille bit the inside of her cheek to stop herself from trembling. "Jace isn't a child. You do not dictate what he can and cannot do-"
"Oh please," she said with a wave of her hand, "you have a very naïve view of this world if you actually believe that. Clearly he hasn't told you about the cont-"
Just then Charles stepped into the courtyard causing Diane to pause. "I hope you two have gotten to know each other a little better," he smiled at Camille before turning to his wife.
"Oh yes darling. I was just inviting Camille to our Ladies Luncheon tomorrow in The Gardens. Remember to be there promptly at 11:30," she said politely with an almost genuine smile.
"Of course Mrs. Kraft," Camille replied just as sweetly. "Thank you again for extending the invitation."
"Why of course my dear," she said with a tight smile plastered on her lips.
"Well we will see you both tomorrow," Charles said before he extended his arm to his wife and they headed into the South Wing.
"Camille," Jace said as he gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
It took all her strength not to collapse and curl up into a ball.
Happy 4th of July!