Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Miskin Legacy - Generation Nine, Part Five: Cheatin' Woman Make You Crazy


Literally shaking with rage, Max raced over to the side of the bed, seized Oscar roughly, and dragged him onto the floor with a violent yank.

"You lousy, God-damn son of a - !"

Oscar protested in vain as Max brutally kicked him down, stamping on his head - too blinded by fury to give his actions any real consideration. Katie, shrieking in horror, pulled frantically at her husband's arm, desperate to stop him.
"Max - please, don't hurt him! I can explain!"

After releasing a deep, anguished roar, Max composed himself, and turned towards her, scowling - Oscar's hand flying to his temple as he groaned in agony.

"I think you'd better," Max muttered to Katie, folding his arms. "When the hell did this all start?"

Katie slowly clambered down from the bed, and started to walk in small circles around the room, not quite sure how to phrase things. Max approached her, watching her quietly for a while, until finally, his patience ran out.

"Well?!" he snapped.

"Max," Katie began, sighing, "Oscar and I have been a couple for years. We were together before you and I even met."

Max's jaw dropped in horror.

"So... he's not the other man?" he asked, breathlessly. "I am?"

Katie nodded.

"Yes," she admitted. "And what's more - Nathan is his son, not yours. I was fairly certain, what with the dates, but... I had a test done, just to be sure. To be honest, I'm surprised you didn't realise sooner. You've got to admit - he doesn't look very much like you."

Max's knees began to buckle. He felt as if the whole world was about to cave in underneath him. Katie was telling him all this so swiftly, so bluntly... each sentence felt like a sharp, piercing stab of a stiletto knife in his heart. He stared at his wife helplessly, too stunned to make a sound.

"My career was going nowhere fast," Katie continued. "A role in a soap opera nosediving in the ratings, and walk-ons in the odd B-movie. When Oscar took you on, and you began topping the charts and selling out gigs worldwide, he swiftly realised that me having a connection to you would give me a major boost. We talked the whole thing over, and he agreed to play matchmaker. Our whole marriage was planned for the start. Becoming your wife gave me the opportunities I needed - and with you performing, recording, and generally being busy all the time, Oscar and I could continue seeing each other."

"You - you mean..." Max stammered, "f-from the beginning? All - all this time...?!" 

He buried his face in his hands, emitting a pained howl of anguish. 

"You're lying... Max whispered in disbelief. "You're... you're just making all of this up..."

"It's true, Max," Oscar said from across the room, apologetically. "I'm sorry. You weren't ever supposed to find out."

His breathing now a series of heavy grunts, Max's head snapped back upwards, and he glared at Katie with blazing, fierce eyes.

"You evil little wh**e!" he screamed. "I'll never forgive you for this!!! I'll divorce you! You'll have nothing without me!"

Much to Max's confusion, Katie began to chuckle, turning towards him with a condescending smirk.

"You're not going anywhere," she said matter-of-factly. "You're far too valuable and useful to me. Besides... just as your father wanted, I have been doing a little research into your family tree. Ever since the Miskins' days as nobles, not one of their marriages has ended in divorce. Do you really want to be the first one to have that black mark against their name? To bring that dishonour onto your ancestors? Surely your family would never forgive you... not after you so easily gave them up for me?"

Max stared at her blankly, have been made uneasy by her comments. Harsh, yes... but true.

"What's more," continued Katie confidently, "you've forgotten I'm an actress, and I have the press eating out of the palm of my hand. It would be so simple to turn all this against you... to make you the bad guy."

Shuddering, she suddenly broke down into a shower of convincing crocodile tears.

"I... I tried so hard to be a good wife to him! But all he ever cared about was work, work, work! What about us?! And then he started with the pills and the booze... wanting to live life like a rockstar! It changed him! Even his fans could see it! You don't want to know how much worse he was behind closed doors! The things he did! I simply couldn't tell you - it's all so horrible! And in front of our beautiful little baby, too!"

Wiping her eyes, she finished her grand performance, and grinned at the musician. 

"The press would think it was Christmas," she cackled. "As far as Joe Public is concerned, I've been the perfect bride to you, whilst you've been acting out and getting aggressive. Even if you told them about me and Oscar, who'd believe you? And where would your evidence be? I'd refuse another DNA test on Nathan - after all, that would be the final insult, wouldn't it? They'd buy my story hook, line and sinker. My God, the shame that such a scandal would bring on that legacy you hold so dear..."

Max hung his head. There was simply nothing he could say. Katie had him right where she wanted him.

"So," Katie hissed, "if you know what's good for you, I suggest you play along. Be the good little hubby the world wants you to be. Keeping working hard and bringing in all that money. Perhaps you and I will have our own children one day - Hell, I'll even let you call them any stupid name you want -  but you'd best believe that I'll keep having Oscar's babies, too. I'm staying with him. I have absolutely no intention of giving him up."

Max turned towards the agent, aghast.

"And you're just going to let her do this?" he cried in alarm.

"Of course," Oscar replied. "I love Katie. I'll do anything to make her happy."

Max simply couldn't stand up anymore - his system had been thrown into complete and utter shock. As he staggered over to Katie's dressing table and took a seat, placing a hand against his dizzy, overwhelmed brain, the sound of Nathan wailing in hunger broke out from down the hallway.

"Oh, great," Katie muttered. "As if I didn't have enough of a headache already. Go and feed him, Max."

Scowling, Max turned towards Oscar with a narrow, fixed gaze.

"It's his baby," he stated gruffly. "He can take care of him."

Rising, Max turned on his heel and stormed out of the bedroom, slamming the doors behind him. He headed straight downstairs and marched towards the front door, unsure when he'd be able to face coming back. Eventually, he'd have to, or face dire consequences. He had no choice... he had become a mere pawn in Katie's villainous game of chess. But right now, he was desperate to get some space.

As he passed the lounge, he made a quick detour to the minibar, grabbing several bottles of alcohol - chiefly whisky, his poison of choice as of late - before heading out. If was going to keep living in this nightmare, he'd need all the help he could get.

Meanwhile, Oscar headed towards Nathan's nursery - with Katie swiftly following - and held his son for the first time, cuddling him close as he shushed him gently.


Laura was tucking in to a sandwich and muffin at the Brown Sugar Café when she heard the familiar "ping" of a text notification. Carefully chewing her mouthful of BLT, she skimmed over the rather odd message. It was from Max.

Plz come tour buss asip its al f***ed up

From the misspellings and rather vulgar language, Laura instantly got the feeling that things hadn't improved since the abandoned recording session this morning. And indeed, when she arrived at the bus, opening the door with the key Oscar had given her when her knocks went unanswered, it became clear the musician had ignored her sound advice from earlier. She found Max asleep at his dressing table, snoring loudly as his head rested uncomfortably on the oak surface - surrounded by pill containers and half-empty bottles of booze.

Christ - what had happened?

As the door slid shut behind Laura, Max awoke with a jolt, popping up like a meerkat.

"Huh? Whats going on?"

Noticing his PA, he exhaled in relief.

"Oh... hi, Laura," he slurred, turning to look at his red eyes in the mirror. "Thanks for coming."

"What the hell's going on?" Laura asked, shocked. "I thought you were going home to rest?"

"Can't go home," Max muttered. "Not right now. Not while those two evil backstabbing b*****rds are there, bouncing on the bed springs."

Laura lowered herself onto the sofa, her face falling. Something was definitely wrong.

"Max?" she called. "Sit with me. Please."

Too distraught to argue, Max obeyed. However, as he settled himself onto the plush loveseat, he found himself unable to look Laura in the face.

"What's happened?" the assistant asked with great concern.

"It's... it's nothing," Max replied. 

Surely he couldn't tell her. This was too big a problem for even her to deal with, capable and caring as she was. However, Laura was too smart and determined to be fobbed off with an empty excuse, and she reached for Max's hand, taking hold of it warmly.

"Max... please. You can tell me."

And in a instant, Max knew that he could. He could tell Laura anything. Since he'd forsaken his family, she was the one decent, caring person still left in his life. He had to trust her.

Turning towards her, he spent the next five minutes explaining everything that had happened - Katie's control over him, her and Oscar's betrayal, Nathan's true paternity, and the terrible trap he had found himself in. 

Sensing how badly he needed to vent, Laura let him tell the heartbreaking tale without interruption: her only sounds being the occasional verbal signal of listening, and a gasp or two as one shocking fact after another was revealed.

Once Max had finished, he seemed to shrink before Laura's eyes - slumping down into a shattered, crumbled heap. A minute or two passed silently before she found herself able to respond.

"Max... I'm so, so sorry. I... I didn't know anything about Oscar, or Katie. I swear I didn't. I... I would have told you if I did..."

"I know," Max answered. "You wouldn't keep something like that from me. You couldn't. You're too good a person."

As he smiled weakly, Laura found her own mouth mirroring his.

"God, my head..." Max groaned suddenly, clutching his temples with both hands. "I think I need a coffee."

"I'll make you some."

"No, no - I'll make it. Really. You've done enough to help me today."

Max got up and took a few steps towards the cafetiere... but before he could even get halfway across the pink carpet, he broke down - doubling over with a bitter cry.


"Oh, God!!! How could they do this to me?!!! Perhaps... if I'd done more for her... if - if I'd worked harder..."

At once, Laura rushed towards him, embracing him tightly. He felt strangely light, as if she was the only thing holding him up any more.

"No, Max," she said reassuringly. "You've worked as hard as you possibly could. But it makes no difference. None of this is your fault. You've done nothing wrong. You have to believe me."

Max was seriously beginning to cherish Laura's comforting hugs. It was one of the last sweet, lovely things that still remained in his gloomy, torturous existence. As Laura loosened her hold and pulled away, Max gently placed a hand under her chin, tilting her face to meet his.

"I really am sorry, you know," he said. "For... for what I called you earlier, back at the studio. I wasn't thinking. I was just acting out of anger - looking for an easy insult. It... it was uncalled for. Unacceptable. I didn't really mean it."

"It's OK," Laura told him. "Besides... there was some truth in it. I am fat. I accept that. You don't have to sugarcoat it. I could never compare to someone like Katie, or... or any of those supermodels you see in the magazines. I... I know that I'm not beautiful."

"That's not true," Max replied.

"Please don't mock me," Laura muttered.

"I'm not," Max insisted. "You could be anywhere between a size 0 or 100, for all I care. You're such an amazing, beautiful person. In heart and in body."

Laura rolled her eyes.

"Believe me - you are," Max told her, stroking her cheek as he examined her features. "You have such a melodic voice, such bright eyes..."

He paused, his face moving close towards hers.

"Such... such soft, rosy lips..."

Lurching forward, his own lips met hers... and Laura felt herself willingly and thoroughly melt in Max's arms as her breath was taken away. Max may have shared his secrets with her, but she had never dared admit to him - or even to herself, at least not fully - that she had fantasised about this moment often since the day she'd started working for him. 

Still, she was bound not to be the only person who had such thoughts. How many fans of a rockstar dreamt of one day being with them - especially one as handsome as Max Velocity? No wonder groupies existed.

"Stay with me," Max whispered to Laura as he broke away for air. "Please. You're the last good thing left in my life. I... I couldn't bear to lose you."

This was a dream, Laura told herself. Things like this didn't happen in real life. Rockstars didn't kiss big fat girls like her. They didn't love them or want them. Still, when she saw the longing in Max's eyes, she nodded, and shuddered in pleasure as their mouths blissfully locked together once more, running her fingers through his long, wild hair.

Friday, 29 December 2017

The Miskin Legacy - Generation Nine, Part Four: Demons, Drugs and Drink


All throughout his wife's pregnancy, Max waited on her hand and foot. He knew how disappointed she was, having to postpone all of her auditions and filming now she was on the verge of her big break. Besides, carrying a little person was tough on the body, and Katie constantly made it clear just how tired she was. 

Still bearing the burden of his own busy schedule, Max could relate - but knew no matter how hard things were for him, it must be worse for Katie, and constantly rewarded her with affection, gifts and massages.

One afternoon, towards the end of the third trimester, Max sat on a stool in their home gym, rubbing his poor Katie's swollen feet. However, just as he was beginning to press down on her sole, she winced in pain, and gasped loudly.

"Sorry!" Max cried, stopping at once. "Is that tender?"

"No," Katie replied, hastily drawing breath. "It's... it's the baby..."

Right away, the long-discussed birth plan came into play within Max's brain. Whipping out his mobile phone, he called for an ambulance to take his beloved to St. Benedict's.  

A natural birth, Katie had decided, was completely out of the question. She was far too posh to push, and had insisted the doctors arrange for her to deliver the child by C-section. As she was wheeled into the operating theatre, Max remained faithfully by her side, doing his best to contain his panic at the ever-more-imminent prospect of fatherhood.

Within the hour, their son had entered the world.


"So... what are we going to call him?" Katie asked her husband three days later, as she was recovering in their bedroom at home. 

"I've put a lot of thought into that," Max replied. "I was going to suggest... 'Malcolm'."

Katie glared at her husband, wrinkling her nose in disgust.

"'Malcolm'?" she hissed. "What kind of God-awful name is that?"

Max hung his head.

"I... I agree it's not exactly modern," he admitted, "but I was thinking, we could call him 'Mally', for short..."

"Christ, that's even worse!" Katie muttered, almost laughing at the absurdity of it. "No... I think my idea is far more appropriate. 'Nathan.' We'll call him 'Nathan.'"

Max, trembling, reached for her wife's hand.

"But, honey..." he said nervously, "it... it has to begin with an "M". The - the legacy -"

"Oh, you and that bloody legacy!" Katie snapped, snatching her hand away violently. "We've been through all this before. Is that really all you care about? You'd give our beautiful boy a ridiculous name just to please some long-dead ancestors?"

"I... I actually thought "Mally" was quite nice..."

"Well, it isn't," Katie replied bluntly. "It's stupid. And I refuse to be restrained by some stupid ancient rules. He's 'Nathan', and that's final."

"Well... if that's what you want."

"Yes. It is."

Before Max could even risk saying anything further, the baby began to wail within his bassinet. Katie, groaning, fell over onto the bed, pulling the pillow beneath her golden locks.

"Take care of that, would you, Max?" she asked, closing her eyes and feigning sleep.

Max rose obediently, and went to prepare a bottle so the newly-named Nathan could have some milk. 

However, the drink did little to calm the infant down, and he continued to cry and cry. Seeing Katie wince as she lay in bed, and hearing her mutter minced oaths, Max scooped Nathan up into his arms, and took him for a little walk up and down the upstairs corridor.

As he approached the window at the end of the hall, Max stopped suddenly when he noticed two familiar figures through the glass.

On the day Max and Katie had moved into their mansion, Marlon and Cassandra had popped along for a look around. However, they were stopped at the front gate by a very angry and determined Katie. She made it crystal-clear that the couple were not welcome in their new home, and from now on, they had absolutely no place in her or Max's lives. 

When the two elders headed back to their own home broken-hearted, Katie had next stormed into the mansion to find Max, and informed him that any further contact with his parents was forbidden. They had a plot to turn Max against her, she said, and they weren't to be trusted. Max had to stay away from them to prove he was his own man now.

Now, as Max looked at his parents through the window, the two of them stood in his old room within the ancestral Miskin house, he felt tears springing to his eyes. They were so near, and yet so far. He missed them terribly, but was terrified of incurring his wife's wrath - especially now that they had a young son she could potentially use as leverage. He was essentially a prisoner in a glorified jail.

As Max held Nathan up, putting him in Marlon and Cassandra's eye lines, they smiled widely: overjoyed to be seeing their grandchild for the first time. Cassandra even placed a hand on the window pane - longing to reach through it, to touch and hold the two boys she so dearly loved.

Marlon was mouthing something. Max could see that, but struggled to make out exactly what was being said, shaking his head in confusion. Approaching the glass, Marlon breathed upon it, leaving a thin mist in which he drew a heart with his finger. 

We love you.

Max smiled. After quickly checking to make sure Katie wasn't behind him, he breathed on his own window, and drew a heart back.

Alas, the beautiful moment was interrupted when Nathan began to cry once again. As Max gestured towards him, shrugging his shoulders in a "What can you do?" kind of way, he could see his mother giggling and his father nodding understandingly, both waving a goodbye. Max waved back, and then walked away, rocking Nathan slowly in a desperate attempt to soothe him.

With Max now gone once again, Cassandra burst into tears, barely able to cope with the situation she had found herself in. Marlon held her tightly, and slowly led her towards the bed to get some sleep. They always slept in Max's bed now. For reasons they couldn't explain, they felt it gave them a connection to their beloved son.

As for Max, sleep simply wasn't going to happen. Nathan cried almost constantly, with Katie doing absolutely nothing to help. As such, the small hours began a cycle of feeding, nappy changes and lullabies. At 4am, Nathan finally seemed to settle down, and Max, relieved, headed to his own bed - but found himself unable to get any rest, his mind flooded with all sorts of worries.

He took a couple of the pills, but they did nothing to ease the buzzing in his brain. Clearly, he needed something more. Perhaps a little nightcap would help?

Getting up, he lurched downstairs to the lounge, where a stocked minibar resided in one corner. It was generally left alone, except once or twice during Oscar's visits and other high-profile occasions, but desperate times called for desperate measures. 

Reaching inside, Max picked up a bottle of vintage, high-alcohol whisky, and poured himself a generous measure, glugging it down. Its effect was immediate. He felt warmed up from within, and his problems seemed to melt away. It was a feeling Max was eager to maintain.

He carried the bottle and glass across into the dining room, where he sat himself down at the table and treated himself to another drink - giving himself a few drops more this time. Max relaxed as he felt the warmth grow and spread. It was a bizarre sensation - rather like what he imagined it would be like to drown in treacle or molasses - but it wasn't at all unpleasant. Quite the opposite, in fact. 

After two more drinks, the tiredness claimed him, and with his brain now free of pretty much any thoughts, not just negative ones, Max slumped down into sleep right there on the chair - only to be rudely awoken a hour later by his son's eardrum-shattering wail.


Three weeks went by.

Laura was sat in a recording studio, watching the clock frantically. Max had meant to be here an hour ago to record his new single, and the technicians were growing impatient. Oscar was away meeting some client or other, and there were absolutely no messages on her phone. Where the heck was he?

Suddenly, the door burst open, and Max came bounding in - wearing a pair of heavily tinted sunglasses, and apparently struggling to stand, grasping his head in pain. Laura could smell the booze on him from across the room.

"Sorry I'm late, folks," he muttered. "Bloody migraine."

More like a hangover, Laura thought - but she didn't say anything.

Max staggered into the recording booth under Laura's disconcerted gaze, shielding himself from the bright lights and tapping the microphone a few times as the technicians set everything up. When they gave the signal, Max started to sing... but almost at once, it became apparent that something wasn't right. The session had to be stopped again and again when Max hit a bum note, sang the wrong words, or forgot the words entirely.  

Over the past few days, Laura had begun to seriously suspect that something was very wrong with Max. The sunglasses had become a constant accessory, and he often slurred his words. He barely made it through his performances. When the paparazzi approached him for photographs, he lost his patience with them, and ordered them to go away - rather than posing happily as he had before.


It wasn't just the press, either. Max had also done something Laura had until then considered impossible - he'd turned on his fans. When they rushed up to him eagerly after gigs, begging for selfies and autographs, he ranted and raved at them, calling them leeches and vultures - breaking their hearts in the process.


Social media showed the response to Max's new rude attitude. One of Laura's duties was to keep a close eye on that side of things. Given his delicate temper, she hadn't dared tell Max that his follower numbers were falling day by day, and the comments made for harsh reading.

To think I respected him - what a b******d!

NEVER buying his music again!

WTF is wrong with him?!!

In the booth, Max hit yet another bum note. As the technicians stopped the session once more, their frustration was impossible to hide.

"Max, please - you need to focus."

"I'm doing my best!" Max snapped back. "What the hell do you want?"

"We're spending a lot of money on this session - "

"So?! I'm made of money! We can spend as much as we like!"

"We - we do have other artists coming in today..."

"Oh, please! Who out there is bigger than me?"

"Max - "

"No! Screw you, I'm talking!"

"That is enough!" Laura cried, jumping to her feet. "Everyone - take a break. Fifteen minutes. Calm yourselves down. Then we'll try again."

As the techies headed out to grab a drink, Max marched towards an armchair and threw himself down, reaching into his pocket to fish out his pill bottles. He now carried two or three different ones. Laura watched aghast as Max opened them one by one, and downed a handful of each medication. The musician noticed her stunned expression.

"What?!" he hissed. "They're all from a doctor!"

"Max - "

"I'm just upping my dose a little, that's all!"

"I'm... I'm just worried that they're doing you damage..." Laura stammered weakly.

Max rose to his full height and whipped his glasses off, staring Laura down intensively.

"What do you know about damage?" he challenged.

"I've had my fair share of problems," Laura replied firmly, standing her ground.

"You know nothing about what my life is like!"

"Then tell me, and I'll help you!"

"I don't need your help! The pills help! Don't you understand that?"

"Well, I -"

"No. Of course you don't. You don't understand anything, you fat b***h!"

Laura gasped, alarmed. Max himself froze, ashamed - his hand tenderly touching his lips, as if he couldn't believe the words that had just emerged from them. Sighing, he hung his head sadly.

"I... I'm so sorry," he whispered. "You... you didn't deserve that."

"No. I didn't."

"I know you're trying to help," Max continued. "It's just... it's getting so hard to cope with everything. Oscar wants me to record and perform even more, and baby Nathan is hardly sleeping..."

"I thought Katie had hired a nanny now that she's filming again?"

"Oh, she has, and she's great," Max explained. "It means I can go back to work, and Katie can focus on more important things." 

"The trouble is, she only works in the daytime. At night, Nathan is my responsibility."

"Doesn't Katie help out?"

"She says she needs her beauty sleep. Understandable, really, given she's on TV all the time."

"I... I see."

Max sighed heavily.

"Look," Laura said after a moment's thought, putting her hands on Max's forearms in a gesture of support. "If things are getting on top of you, then you need to tell Oscar you need a break. And Katie has to know you need help with the baby. If you keep on grinding away like this, you're going to make yourself seriously ill."

"You... you really think Katie would be OK with that?"

"Of course. If she loves you, she'll understand."

Max smiled.

"You're right," he said happily. "Thank you, Laura."

"You're welcome. And thank you for telling me how you feel."

"Well, you're my PA. I guess it's your job to help me out."

"It's not just that," Laura replied. "You're usually such an upbeat, happy guy, and lately, you're not. I just knew something was wrong. It's not just work. I... I care about you. I guess you could say - I consider you a friend."

As Max looked at her, his eyes widening, Laura suddenly felt nervous.

"Is... is that OK?" she asked.

"Of course it is!" Max replied. "I consider you a friend, too."

Smiling, Laura threw his arms around him, hugging him tightly. Max relaxed into her embrace, closing his eyes in bliss. It felt so nice. When had Katie last shown him affection like this?

"You should head home," Laura said kindly. "Get some real rest. I'll rearrange the session - don't worry about that. Just get well, and come back feeling refreshed."

"Thanks. I will."


As Max walked into the foyer of his mansion, there was no sign of Katie, Nathan or the nanny. The actress was no doubt filming somewhere, and perhaps the little one had been taken out for a walk in his buggy. Happy to have the house to himself, Max headed into the living room - making a great effort to resist the minibar's temptation - and sat down on the couch to watch some TV.

As he idly viewed a few music videos, almost nodding off, he sat up suddenly when he heard a noise coming from above him. Concerned, he slowly headed up the stairs, bracing himself to deal with whatever intruder might have trespassed on his property.


The strange sounds grew louder as he passed the bedroom. Now very afraid, Max slowly reached for the door handle and pulled it open in a sudden movement... gasping as a shocking sight met his eyes.

"Katie?! Oscar?!"



The legacy founder, Myron, has made an appearance in Operation Repopulation - a great 100 Baby Challenge by mojot89! Check it out!