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20 Questions for Characters – Part 2 – Post-Contessa

This post WILL contain spoilers of both Emi Lost & Found and Contessa, but it will also provide some insight into the characters’ lives. Each character will be answering his or her own questions. Their responses would take place at the end of Contessa.

1. Jack – I would like to ask you about your thoughts and choices on parenting.  As a person who had terrible clashes with her parents during her teenage years, and who now (with the benefit of hindsight) agrees with most of the choices her parents made during those years, I was very invested in the clashes between Olivia and you as chronicled in Contessa.  In my opinion, I think that Livvy might have been too sheltered, and that this might have resulted in many of the poor decisions she made during this time.  But I am not a parent, and have no idea how I would react were I in your situation.  I am also very close to my Dad, and so understand your fierce protectiveness of her, but I wonder if a little more exposure, in terms of her social life, dating etc, might not have been better for Livvy in the long run.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this. – Nikki

I agree that raising Livvy was an experience I never could fully prepare myself for. When she was young, Emi and I traveled with her often, and exposed her to other cultures and opportunities that we felt would give her an advantage in the world. It wasn’t until Jackson came along that we stopped traveling so often, which left us vulnerable to the curiosities of the city around us. Emi and I have always loved Manhattan, and Livvy became enamored with it, as well, and for a time, she liked the attention from photographers and passers-by. I, on the other hand, did not, and my distaste for the unwarranted publicity caused me to limit her activities more than I should have. Our life was very structured, and her time was split between our families, Donna, the Art Room and school. Because she had a good relationship with her cousins, and had a close circle of friends outside of the family, she never felt like she was missing opportunities… until the outside world started creeping in, and showing her things that we simply didn’t want to acquaint her with.

I often wonder what Jon would have been like had he stayed at the Art Room. His decision to leave and the choices he made after his father died changed him into a man too quickly. The quiet, contemplative boy I once knew became vocal and proactive about the things he wanted in life. I think I knew from the start that he and Livvy would be more than friends someday in the distant future. Everything just happened so fast with him, at a time when Livvy was looking for something neither I nor any man could give her – Jon included.

I have now accepted that my little Contessa is growing up, and while Jon still doesn’t make all the same decisions I would make, the ones he does make aren’t bad. Every day, I trust him a little more, but every day, I also see Livvy change in ways that could force them apart. I don’t wish heartache on either of them, but they’re so young, and have a lot of living to do. I am making more of an active commitment to let her do some of that living now. Emi’s been a great help.

2. Livvy – What do you ultimately want to do with your life? – MJ

I think it’s always been assumed that I’d be an artist. I am an artist. I’ve never had any other dream than that – career-wise, anyway. Until Jon and I started dating, I saw myself traveling alone, all around the world, being inspired by new places and people. Now that we’re together, I’ve started to consider his dreams, too. I know he wants to settle in New York. I love Manhattan, too. But the whole getting-married-having-kids thing, well… I think I’ll graduate from high school first, and then we’ll see what happens after that. I love him, and I can’t imagine my life without him.

3. Jon – Would you be willing to relocate for internship possibilities outside the New York and surrounding area? – JoAnn

Interesting question… I would consider it, but I would hope that a permanent job after college would keep me in the city. It’s a part of me. The smog here is my oxygen.

4. Manny –  Introduce yourself to us please! And what kind of relationship do you have with Livvy, Jack, Emi and the rest of the Hollands? What do you think of Jon? – Audrey

Well, my name is Manny, and I’ve never actually met Livvy Holland. I was the kid that took Livvy’s place at the private art academy when she took my slot at Nate’s Art Room. Jack and Emi gave me a chance not many other kids get, and the education I got turned my family around. My parents wanted me to fit in, so they worked extra jobs to pay for clothes and stuff so I didn’t stand out as the poor kid in the rich kid’s school. I’m grateful for what they sacrificed for me. Now, I’m an art major at Yale… and I’ve heard that Yale is on Livvy’s short list of colleges. I’m not gonna lie, she’s hot, and I’d love the opportunity to meet her.

I don’t know who Jon is. Is that her brother?

5. Matty –  What happened between you a Lucas? Do you think there’d be any chance of you guys being together again? If not, do you have a new prospect? – Marie Liz

It just didn’t work out. I think my job put more distance between us than I thought it would. As for getting back together with him, no, that’s not a possibility. I think he’s dating someone else, anyway. I have lots of prospects… but I haven’t met anyone I’d bring home to Mom and Dad. Yet.

Same question for Lucas – His work put him on the road for three out of every four months. That puts a lot of strain on a relationship. Even still, I know he was committed to me. He found out I had fooled around with another guy, though, and that was it. There was no discussion, no chance for me to explain. He moved out and cut all ties. I never meant to break us up. It was a mistake. I think a part of me will always love Matty, but I understand he can’t get past it.

6. Margie (Jon’s mother) – What was your motive in allowing the unsupervised time between Jon and Livvy at Christmas in the apartment? – JoAnn

Motive? I had no motive. I had to work, plain and simple. I owed someone a favor, and I needed the extra pay anyways. Plus, I know my boy. He’s a good kid, and she’s – well, she’s Livvy Holland. I mean, if he were to get into any trouble, he picked a good one to get involved with. You know, ’cause she’s a nice girl. Her money doesn’t hurt matters, but Jonny really likes her, too.

7. Livvy – Do you still think your parents love or favor Trey more because he is their biological son? – Emily

No. I know they love me just as much. I feel bad for accusing them of that, and I know it was manipulative and hurtful. When he was little, Trey took more attention from me than I was willing to give, and it hurt my feelings, but Mom and Dad always went out of their way to make sure I got time with them, too. Since I was their first – biological or not – I have something special with them; plus, I have 10 more years of memories than Trey does. I know Mom and Dad would have been fine if it was just me, but I remember when I was younger, I’d beg them for a brother or sister. As I grew older, I learned that the look in Mom’s eyes was sadness. Trey has added a lot to the family. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

8. Jack – What went through your mind when Emi hit you and you left the house with Trey? – Laura

I was in shock at the words my daughter had said to me. I raised her better than that, and I wanted to blame someone. I was angry, and I took it out on my wife. I brought up her miscarriage, and she had every right to hit me. She had every right to break her other hand for that. She literally slapped me back into reality. My misdirected anger found its proper target, and I was ashamed of what I’d said to Emi. So ashamed I couldn’t look her in the eye.

I had planned to go to the hotel by myself, but Jackson stopped me as I walked past his room. He was upset. He didn’t know what was happening, and I didn’t want Emi to have to make excuses and apologies for Livvy’s behavior, then mine. I also knew Emi was better suited to handle Livvy in the moment. I needed time to cool off, and to attempt to find the reasons behind her words… I needed a little moral support, too, and Jackson was good for that.

As I settled into the hotel room, I replayed the fight in my head and could see how Livvy’s emotions escalated to the level they had. She had backed herself into a corner, and she was using all of her defenses, like a caged animal. When we first adopted her, we went to sessions for newly adoptive parents, and they told us there would come a time when she became curious about her biological parents. My daughter’s imagination is clearly something spectacular, and I could suddenly see the romanticism of this wish to have Nate as her father. Wouldn’t that have been the most romantic story? Of course Livvy’s mind concocted that. I’d encouraged that imaginative spirit since the day we brought her home. How could I punish her for that? I could punish her for many other things that day, but not for that. Not for hope. Not for a dream.

In the end, I knew deep down that I was a damn good father. I knew Livvy and I were fundamentally different, but I knew she loved me as much as I loved her. No matter what she’d been going through the past few years, I remember when she was daddy’s little girl. I had no doubt she’d remember it, too, and I’d welcome her back with open arms the moment she was ready.

As for Emi, I was worried she wouldn’t forgive me. I was trying to think of ways to apologize to her, so when she showed up at the Ritz – herself apologizing to me – I knew we were fine. She swore she’d never hit me again, for the second time. I swore I’d never give her reason… for the second time. This family’s all about second chances; for Emi, I’d give her millions.

9. Donna – I want to know how you make it through with your life when the two men you’ve loved the most are both dead? I know it is something sad and very personal to ask, but I want to know how was your process of healing? We’ve read about Emi’s process, but not yours. – Marie Liz

It’s important for me to always understand and honor the roles they played in my life, and what they added to my life. Without Charles, I wouldn’t have had Nathan. Without Nathan, I wouldn’t have met Emi, who’s become a daughter and friend to me. I’ve gotten to see her become a mother to two beautiful children, and she has always carried love and respect for my son, from the day they met, I believe.

Charles was my Prince Charming. He swept me off my feet and we had a fairy-tale life together. He had demons, though, that were difficult for us to battle, and eventually, the demons won. I have beautiful memories with him. Of course I wish I hadn’t had to suffer through the pain of losing him – and the much worse pain of seeing Nathan dealing with the death of his father – but I met a wonderful man, James, who has added so much to my life. Charles treated my like a princess; like I was too delicate for the truth. James treats me like his equal. It’s a much different relationship, but one I am grateful for. If Charles hadn’t died, I would never have had the opportunity to experience this. I recognize this, and although I still get sad and long for the way Charles held me sometimes, or the way he looked at me when Nathan did things that made him proud, I love James and am thankful he’s in my life. I wouldn’t have made it through the death of my son without him.

But to this day, I still wonder why Nathan had to go. You don’t have to lose a child to make room for another… mothers generate more love with each child they bring into this world, so there’s always enough for more children. I couldn’t have more after Nathan. I’d wanted more, but after experiencing the loss I have, I understand why I wasn’t granted more. Seeing one son live through the sudden death of his father was almost too much for me. Had Charles and I had other children, that pain would have grown exponentially. Losing Nathan was worse, and I look back and think how difficult it would have been if he’d had siblings – for those siblings to have to bury their brother. Just watching Emi and Chris – the closest friends he had – trying to grapple with the loss… it still breaks my heart, thinking back. Yes, without Nathan, I wouldn’t have met Emi, but he didn’t have to go for that to happen. For me, I don’t think it will ever be justified, but I can see how Emi has dealt with it. I can see how happy Jackson makes her… and that couldn’t have happened if –

No, it will never be justified.

But I have enjoyed watching Livvy and Trey grow up. I can’t imagine my life without those two children, and I have Emi and Jackson to thank for that. They’ve welcomed me into their world, and I do very much love their world.

2 thoughts on “20 Questions for Characters – Part 2 – Post-Contessa

  1. I love the first one because I’m not a parent and I usually wonder how parents find the balance between being protective and giving freedom to their kids. Number 2 and 3 are interesting now that we know more things. And I always wondered what happened with Lucas.
    Great questions! ♥

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