Let the Games Begin

Blake walked into the Morienne household aiming to have a very long chat with his mother but remembered wanting to kill his brother when he heard loud music coming from the area of the house Carbrey occupied. Blake didn't understand how Penny tolerated Carbrey's childish ways. Carbrey did not work, had no intentions of going back to school and helping their parents with the family business was out of the question. He just sat around all day and when he got tired of that he would take one of the cars out for a spin, come back with a few women on his arm and head straight for his room putting the do not disturb sign on the doorknob.

Blake didn't understand what women saw in his brother. It wasn't that Carbrey was an idiot or horrible looking. In fact they looked alike. But Carbrey just didn't stand around anyone's daughter long enough unless he was sure to be getting into the girl's panties within the next few hours. And all the girls knew that but they chose to put up with it. Blake knew that their mother allowing Carbrey to do what he pleased was Penny's way of ensuring her other son didn't leave her behind the way he did but she needed to do something about his daily urges to be a pain in the ass for the rest of his life. Carbrey Morienne needed someone to stop him in his tracks and tell him what to do. Too bad the only girl he knew capable of doing that was Vyvienne and Blake wouldn't allow Vyv within three feet of his brother. It wasn't that he didn't trust Vyv to handle his brother but because he didn't want to worry about anything that happened to Carbrey due to the fact that he couldn't keep his mouth shut. Not every girl found his forward flirting attractive. As he entered his brother's bedroom he headed for the TV remote as talking would be impossible with all the noise coming from the surround sound system.

Carbrey was on his bed in boxers watching his brother with a smile. He'd been waiting for Blake to call all morning since he avoided coming over here at all costs. Blake had not visited within the past few months as a result of his current relationship but the fact that he was here meant that his blind date didn't go so well. Blake switched off the flat screen causing both the music to stop and the surround sound to switch to low power. Big brother mode was definitely not on idle.

"I am dying to hear how that date of yours went," Carbrey sat up ginning. By the look on Blake's face he could tell his brother wanted to make his life miserable for at least a few seconds.

"Why the hell do you have the shower running?" Blake knew Carbrey was lazy but he wouldn't leave water running on any occasion. There had to be a female in there. "I hope the girl in there is legal."

"I didn't check to see if she is legal," he stood up, stretched then started to approach. "But since mom taught us to share I am willing to walk out of here and give you time alone with her to figure out if she is. Her name's Lindsay by the way and she won't mind entertaining you for a while if I tell her you're in dire need of some real sex. And I will tell her you like to talk during sex so it won't surprise her when you ask her something just before her time to climax."

"Would you ever change?"

"And I can guarantee you that she is better than Vanessa. Frank's words not mine."

"Tell Frank no one cares about his half-ass comments."

"Come on bro. Vanessa's nice and all but she's not Mrs. Blake Morienne material."

"Let it go Carbrey."

"No, you let it go. I don't even know why you gave her a second chance. I know you want to get married and have kids and shit but this is you being delusional. Vanessa's the wrong girl for you and everyone knows it."

"You think I care about what everyone thinks?"

"I know you don't care about everyone else's opinion but there is one opinion that matters and we both know it. There is no escaping that."

"I know," Blake sighed knowing this was why his brother followed his mother's rules. Carbrey didn't want to get her attention on him. He loved the spotlight but not when it came from his mother. Even if Blake had moved out Penny still had control of him.

"Vanessa is out of the question. Just break up with her and call it a day."

"And Vyvienne is what?" his words brought a confused expression to Carbrey's face.

"Vyvienne? You mean that chick you celebrated with after graduating? You never gave me a chance to hit that by the way. I am still holding that against you," he teased then saw his brother's bored expression and decided to be serious. "So why are talking about her?"

"She was the blind date last night."

"Really?"

"Yes really. Why the hell would you do that to me?"

"Blake if I had known it was her do you really think I would have sent you? I would have gotten all dressed up and gone there myself. I'm still in love with her you know. She may be an older woman but I can handle anything a girl can throw at me."

"You're trying to tell me you had nothing to do with setting this up?" Blake ignored Carbrey's confession of love. If his brother loved anyone it was himself. Not some girl.

"No. It was mom's idea."

"You want me to believe mom set me up on a date with Vyvienne?"

"I didn't question who the girl was because I knew it was her time to intervene. I was just following orders Blake. I had no idea your date would be Vyv. What I can tell you is that Vanessa has been scratched off your list. Why else would mom go out of her way to find you a date?"

"I know. It's why I decided to play along. I was hoping to find a really nice girl."

"Too bad instead of a really nice girl you met the girl of your dreams who mom doesn't approve of right?"

"Vyvienne was a phase."

"Blake it's me you're talking to. We both know you still love her. The girl looks better than she did before having a child and Vyv was pretty hot back then. She wasn't a phase. She was the reason you breathed."

"Carbrey do me a favor and-"

"Shut the hell up?"

"No. Well that too but it's not what I was going to say. I was going to tell you to not sign that contract."

"How did you think I got mom to agree to make me drop out of college Blake? Magic?"

"You already did?" Blake was surprised. His brother always seemed to have his life all figured out.

"If Penny is running the last half mile in your life do you think she would wait to cross the finish line before signing up for mine? It's why I've been living carefree bro. When she's done with you, my stress begins."

"Why didn't you come talk to me about this?"

"What could you have done?"

"I'm your brother-"

"And she's Penny Morienne. As much as I wanted to involve you, I knew you had your own problems to deal with. Plus it was my choice."

"I hope you're prepared for this?" Blake gave a smile that indicated he was sorry for his brother.

"No matter how ready you think you are, you're never even halfway there."

"But you have time. I know she makes the final decision but you still have control of where you want to go."

"For now. So when you saw Vyv did your heart stop? Did you find yourself constantly imagining her without clothes? What happened last night?"

"Let me count all the ways you and I are not going there," Blake headed out.

"I'm your brother. We should be able to talk about anything. I want to know," Carbrey shouted.

"Tough Carbrey. Tough."

(((())))

Penny Morienne knew of only one reason her office door would be opening without being warned that she had a visitor. Even if she worked from home it was still required of people to make appointments to see her. Only two people could walk in this way. Her husband and Blake. If Carbrey needed her he would just call her cell. Her second son hardly ever graced her with his company during the day. But it was good enough that he was within her reach and that he listened to her.

As she looked up at him she smiled. Yes she missed him these past months but she didn't try to reach out to him because she knew this day would come. And whether Blake wanted to admit it, he knew any decision he made had to pass through her before it could be set in stone. That was the way of the Moriennes and there was no way around it.

"Blake honey," she stood up to hug and kiss him, smile and all.

"Mom," he held onto her knowing it really was too long. Even if he didn't like the idea that she was controlling she was still his mother and he loved her. "I missed you."

"I missed you more. Let me have a look at you," she stepped back but still held onto him. "You're looking more and more like your daddy these days. Take pride in that. It's Morienne trademark."

"I know and I will. So how have you been," he walked towards the couch near the window ensuring she sat before he took a seat beside her.

"Same. Pampered and loving every moment of it."

"Spending most of your day in the home office is not what I would call being pampered."

"It's my version of it. Sitting in a spa all day is not what I signed up for when I became a Morienne."

"But you could sit in a spa all day."

"A real woman doesn't sit back and let her husband do all the dirty work."

Blake only laughed. His mother was a proud workaholic.

"So what's the verdict?" he saw her smile so she knew he was asking about Vanessa.

"On what?"

"Why did you want me to go out on a date last night?" he delayed his real question on purpose. He never wanted to talk to his mother about Vanessa but there was no avoiding it. Delaying a few minutes was all he could get as of now.

"Because I know you spend most of your time at the office with your father and you needed a break."

"With Vyvienne?"

"I think that was a great idea. Don't you?"

"Why?"

"Why not?"

"Because you were against us, I don't know, eight year ago."

"I was against you two twelve years ago."

"I wasn't with Vyvienne twelve years ago."

"I was against anything Blackwood longer than eight years ago. That's my point."

"Why is this such a great idea suddenly? Are you sick?"

"I am fine thank you. I am doing this because a Morienne looks after another Morienne and Kendal Blackwood is one of us."

"So why did you hide her from me? Wasn't she my daughter back then?"

"You wouldn't have left for college if you had known about her and don't bother trying to lie about that. I know you."

"Is that the only reason? Because I've been back here for quite a while and you still had not mentioned it to me."

"No matter how much I twist it Blake, Vyvienne was a Blackwood in my mind. I couldn't get past that."

"Why do you always have to make things about you? Maybe I needed to be in my daughter's life."

"When you came back from school you had not made your decision about working alongside your father and Carbrey wasn't a guarantee. I knew deep down that if you knew what I had done by sending you away there was no chance in hell you would listen to my reasoning, you would have run off with her and I wouldn't see you again."

"And after I signed? What stopped you then?"

"By then the damage was already done. I tried getting into contact with Vyvienne but she refuses to take my calls, answer my emails or even schedule a meeting. She wants nothing to do with me and I totally understand but I saw no other option when I found out you knocked up a Blackwood."

"That and she was the one girl you would never approve of?"

"At the time yes. I know all about them Blake. Her mother would never approve. Vyvienne even moved out after a few months being pregnant. Abigail Blackwood would die before she accepts you as her son-in-law honey. That's just how bitter she is about us."

"Is there any way I can convince you to tell me why you two hate each other this much?"

"I don't want you to look at anyone differently so I won't say anything about it."

"Fair enough. So you setting us up on a date means what exactly?"

"I am willing to give my grandchild the life she deserves. If Abby wants her blood living like a pauper then that is her problem. Kendal deserves better than what she has. So if it means accepting Vyvienne as the next Mrs. Morienne then so be it. She is a refined young lady and she works for what she wants."

"And Vanessa?"

"Who's Vanessa?"

"Don't play with me mom. I know you know about her. She says hello by the way."

"Did she say goodbye? I don't approve of her Blake. She is too ambitious for her own good. I hate that about a girl. Vanessa is not going to happen."

"Was it this hard for you and dad?"

"Your father followed what his mother wanted. It's the Morienne way. Getting Vyvienne pregnant is forgivable but marrying Vanessa can be undone so don't even think about doing when I look away."

"I wasn't planning on it."

"Is that why you never brought her over to meet me?"

"I knew you wouldn't approve. Why waste my time?"

"Did she ever ask to come meet me?"

"More times than I wish to talk about."

"Does she know about my reputation?"

"She knows. She thinks she can win you over."

"See what I mean about her being too ambitious for her own good? She would never live up to the Morienne name. When are you going to break up with her?"

"I don't know."

"Get it done Blake. I need to get you married and having kids soon."

"And if she refuses?" he asked knowing Vanessa would fight this.

"Then I will step in. If she thinks she can marry my son without my approval she has another thing coming. Someone didn't invent the reputation I'm known to have. I earned it."

Blake was silent for some time. It was as if he was contemplating standing by Vanessa.

"So do you have a backup plan for if Vyvienne refuses to become my wife?"

"I'm a Morienne Blake. I get what I want by doing what I have to. Have you met Kendal yet?"

"I met her this morning. She looks everything like Vyv except that she has my eyes."

"At least the kid was smart enough to take your most prominent feature," she paused. "But to answer your question, yes. I have a second girl in mind if Vyv doesn't want to marry you. The point of this whole shebang after all is to focus on carrying on the Morienne name, not falling in love."

"I know," Blake needed to talk about something else. "Carbrey told me he signed."

"He doesn't have a choice."

"If Kendal becomes a part of this family does she also have to live by these rules?"

"If a Morienne is to inherit a penny from the fortune then they have to marry someone their mother approves of. That has to be done by the age of twenty-five."

"Twenty-five?"

"Yes. Once you turn eighteen you start to learn about the business so that you can understand the responsibility that comes with the name. At age twenty you decide if you want to work with your father or if you want to branch out and do something else. So you have two years to make your mind up. Once that is settled then you sign the contract stating you're committing your life to being a true Morienne. You then have five years to find a companion your mother approves of. If at the age of twenty-five you still haven't found someone then it's up to your mother to find the right girl for you."

"I am not twenty-five mom."

"I broke the rules for you because you have already provided and heir. That is the point of marrying at such an early age. If Vyv doesn't want Kendal to become a Morienne there will be a day where she can't stop the child. Kendal will be able to make decisions without her mother's input and that is why you got more time than is usually given. Because an unplanned and inappropriate pregnancy can be fixed."

"And if a child decides that she doesn't want to sign the contract?"

"She does not inherit from the family. Simple as that."

"And if I marry Vanessa?"

"You have to divorce her or risk losing your inheritance and you're stripped of everything but your name."

"Everything?"

"Everything. You're not to associate yourself with your family and it's up to you to make a life for you and the people you chose to love. But you will never get a good enough job because all the families of the upper class belong to a sort of club. They look after each other and if I disown you then they all have to turn their backs on you also."

"But Vyvienne walked out on her family."

"The Blackwood family does not belong to that group of families. It was their choice to leave. A decision was made concerning both our family and theirs and Abby didn't like the outcome and refused to let it go some years later so they were ordered to give up their positions."

"So that's why I wasn't allowed to be with Vyv?"

"Yes. She was still under Blackwood care. Now that she isn't, even though she carries the surname, you can marry her because she would eventually change her name to yours."

"Will she be able to have contact with her family?"

"She can. But her first priorities will be to her husband and children."

"This is stupid if you ask me."

"I didn't make up the rules Blake. It's something all the families practice and I just follow them. It's a way of protecting your family financially. It's why mothers are so strict on who their children pick. If they don't make the right choice their successors can make one wrong move, they can lose everything and the next generation will have nothing called financial support. It's like being born into royalty but without the crown and a country to run."

"When I spoke to Vyv this morning she made it very clear to me that she doesn't want you anywhere near Kendal."

"Well now that you're in her life it's up to you to convince her to marry you."

"She's already with David mom."

"With a little push again and I'm certain they wouldn't be a couple anymore. When I called him concerning the meeting between you two, he was happy to set the meeting up without a second thought. He wants Vyvienne without Kendal Blake. It's why he's pushing this."

"Did he actually say that to you?"

"No but it was obvious. So what is your take on all this?"

"I will do what you want."

"And Vanessa?"

"I will take care of that."

"Good. I don't want to get involved and make things more messy that they need to be. And you should visit more often."

"I will," he stood up and hugged his mother. "I love you mom."

"I love you too Blake. Talk to Vyvienne. Let her know that I have Kendal's best interest at heart."

"I will try."

(((())))

"Kendal?" Vyv poked her head into her daughter's bedroom on her way downstairs with the laundry basket in hand. She ensured Kendal's basket was empty.

"Yeah mom?" she was on her bed typing away on her laptop.

"I want you to tidy up this room okay? What would you like for dinner?"

"Can we please order Chinese?"

"Sure," she sat on the bed waiting for her daughter to look at her.

"What?"

"What do you think of Blake?" she wanted to ask this since they got home but she didn't want to crowd Kendal. "It's up to you if you want him to be in your life or not and he would understand if you don't want him there."

"What about David?"

"What about him?"

"Nothing. Blake seems like a nice guy."

"Okay. We'll talk about this over dinner then?"

"Sure. Mom?"

"Yes sweetheart?"

"Never mind," Kendal smiled just to ensure her mother she was okay. The doorbell also rang which served as the distraction she needed.

"I'll call you when dinner arrives," Vyv headed downstairs and placed the basket with clothes in the corridor before going to answer the door. When she pulled the door open she froze.

"Hello Vyvienne," her visitor smiled for a moment.

"What are you doing here?"

"Can we talk inside? We don't need to cause a scene now do we?"

"Sure. Come in," Vyv stepped aside to let the woman inside. The last person she expected to see on the front step was her mother.

(((())))

A/N: It's 2 a.m. and I am still awake for no reason at all. Hope this chapter makes you review. Check out The Vanity Affair if you're not aware of the other story I'm currently updating. Thanks.