As you can see, this is not a chapter for BMP, it's an ending. Unfortunately, I've had to come to the really sad fact that there's just no way I can continue on writing for Break My Pride and finish it the way that I want to, with the quality that you all deserve to read. So instead, I'm going to break down everything that was supposed to happen, answer any lingering questions, reveal the winner, and hopefully provide some answers and closure for you all, in case you're interested :)
I realized, a few chapters ago, that Break My Pride was way too ambitious of a first-time story for me. It had too many characters, too many side plots, so many themes that I wanted to explore, and not enough room or time. As it is, I'm not even a quarter of the way through the story, and it's already bigger than most best-selling novels. BMP is meandering at its best, and rambling and bloated as its worst. And I went over and over in my head how I could fix it or rewrite or rework it, but I just couldn't find a suitable solution.
And the other two options were to continue on writing it as I was, or discontinue it. And at first, I was all for continuing it, because I adore BMP and I was dead-set on finishing it. But, being honest, finishing it probably would have taken me years to do, with inconsistent updates, uneven writing, and chapters filled with nothingness, and I didn't want to do that and have the quality of the story and your entertainment decline, simply because I wanted to stubbornly hold on to a story that just didn't have any more life left in it.
So, I decided to discontinue BMP, as much as it breaks my heart to do so. But, I think it's for the best. And, when I decide to try and write again, which will happen most likely sooner rather than later, because I can't help myself, I'll know what not to do for that story that I did with BMP, mainly:
Don't make so many characters
Write shorter chapters, and get to the point
Not everything theme needs to be explored in one story
Write for yourself first and try not to please other people
Now, with all that aside, I guess let's get into BMP and what you all didn't get to see and answer some questions!
First: Who is Luna?
Many of you were pretty close and some of you did guess correctly! Luna is the younger sister of Connie and Julian. Luna was a surprise child for the King and Queen, born nearly fifteen years after Julian, and it was a high-risk pregnancy for the Queen. They decided to keep Luna a secret during the Queen's pregnancy because there was a high chance of her losing the baby. Luna was born almost two months early and with a congenital heart defect that had a high chance of her dying when she was very young, due to anything from stress to an illness any other child would be able to shake off. With this, the royal family kept Luna a secret, not wanting her to be in the public's eye and have her be speculated over, studied, and oogled, and instead, wanted her to have a normal, stress-free childhood...as much as she could, anyway.
She died in the car accident, but not from external injuries like her family initially feared. Her heart, due to the stress, initial impact, and fear, gave out, and Luna basically had a heart attack and was dead before she even knew what was happening, which gave her family a bit of peace, knowing she could have died in a much, much worse way.
Who was the saboteur? Who wrote the notes? Who was the Selected that was helping Kieran?
Let's first talk about the accident itself: Prince Julian and Prince Constantine were driven by the palace drivers and were never really allowed to drive themselves. The masterminds behind the accident needed someone who was within the palace, who knew the cars, the drivers, and could cut the brakes without detection. This is where Cathy Desmond comes in, Prince Lourdes' personal maid and best friend. Cathy was a poor maid, growing up in near poverty, falling in love with and marrying a poor, but good man, and having a beautiful, but sickly son, a son who needed expensive medical treatment, one that a maid's salary and a driver's salary wouldn't pay for.
Cathy was strong-willed and didn't want the Princess to know about her struggles, because she knew Lou would pay for her son's medical bills with no complaint, so when the masterminds found out about Cathy's predicament, they knew she would do anything to save her son, including cutting the brakes the palace car Prince Julian would ride in, and the one her husband, Patrick Desmond, drove. Cathy didn't know anything about the plot or what would happen, and was only told the bare minimum: cut the brakes undetected, and get out, which she did.
What happened next was just a tragedy of circumstances. Patrick was off duty the day Cathy did it, she made sure of it, and it was only supposed to be a nameless driver with the princes in the car. The former Queen and the young princess weren't supposed to be in the car, nor her husband. So the only people who lived were the only two that were supposed to die. The masterminds didn't include Luna in their plot, simply because they figured the little girl wouldn't live long enough to be a contender for the crown, and if she did, she would be sickly and easily manipulated.
Cathy, now a single mother to one, and soon-to-be-two, had helped murder three people, one of which being her husband. She was wracked with guilt and curled into herself and the only thing keeping her going was her children. The masterminds laid low for a little bit, since there was an increased level of security around the palace since the accident, and they couldn't find a good way in, that is, until the Selection. They found their opportunity again, with the palace bustling with so many people and preparations, they figured they could strike again, while people were so distracted.
What they didn't count on was a palace worker listening in on Cathy's phone conversation with them when they called upon her again. Cathy was devastated and begged them not to involve her again, but they blackmailed her with her previous involvement and threatened to have Chase and Patrice taken away if she didn't comply. So, overhearing this, the palace worker, later to be revealed as Nonnie, tipped off Kieran, and launched his investigation to stop the next attack against the royals. Nonnie was hiding from sight and didn't see who was talking, she only recognized that it was a female voice talking. But, being almost ninety, she couldn't remember the voice or place it, so the only thing she could do was get Kieran involved.
And from there, Kieran needed help, so he got the help from Sylvaine Eberstark. Sylvaine was the perfect candidate for the help. She's intelligent, quiet, stealthy, and somewhat emotionally unavailable and closed off, so Kieran could count on her to stay level-headed and not let her emotions get the best of her. And as for Sylvaine, well, this was redemption for her. She was tired of being known as the daughter of a serial killer and wanted more for herself, and what better way than to solve a crime, rather than be a living casualty in the aftermath of so many? Right as Sylvaine finds out it was Cathy, the King and Queen are ready to fire Kieran and strip Sylvaine of her caste as a Three and make her an Eight, due to their increased closeness and sneaking around and the subsequent rumors of an affair growing around them.
Sylvaine and Kieran confront Cathy in an act of desperation, and Cathy confesses, saying she planned the whole attack herself and is ready to do it again. Kieran, though shocked, accepts this as the truth, and it ready to go to the King and Queen about it, but Sylvaine wasn't convinced. She knew Cathy wouldn't put her children's lives in danger and kill her husband on her own, not unless she was forced, and although Cathy admits that it's true, she's just a cog in a bigger scheme, she refuses to give up who blackmailed her, afraid of the backlash. But Sylvaine convinces her to go through with it, pleading with her.
Letting Cathy (and the readers) know exactly what it was like to live with a serial killer as a father. Sylvaine has been marked her entire life by the action's of her father and has suffered greatly from it – PTSD, trust issues, and immense scrutiny and bullying from almost everyone around her. She begs Cathy to not let Chase and Patrice go through that themselves; they lost their father, but they don't deserve to lose their mother, too.
Long story short: Cathy goes to the King and Queen with Sylvaine by her side and confesses that she was blackmailed by her employers and Lourdes' parents, Duke Edwin and his wife, Duchess Desiree. Edwin was highly jealous of her brother and always thought King Edward was a weak King (which like, yeah, he is), and thought he could do a better job their whole life. As they got older, his hatred grew bigger and bigger and eventually he plotted with his wife to have their sons murdered, so that the next in line would be Lourdes, who, though she broke away from her parents, is a born people-pleaser and would go back to them and do whatever they wanted, basically becoming a puppet and letting them rule.
Though they initially deny it, evidence comes out and they're convicted, and as for Cathy, though King Edward knows Cathy was a victim herself, he can't ignore that she killed three people, two of them being his family, so he banishes her from Illéa and warns her that if she ever dares to come back, she will be immediately arrested and imprisoned for her crimes.
Order of Elimination:
Seventeenth – Leona (She apprentices with Nonnie after the Selection and becomes an accomplished baker, opening up more shops and making the cake for Julian's wedding)
Sixteenth – Vienna (She's recognized as one of the more calmer and cooler of the Selected and becomes even more of an influential individual than she was before and is noted as a style icon)
Fifteenth – Belia (Surprisingly, the closest relationship Belia maintains after the Selection is with Francesa. Fran liked how candid Belia was and they become good friends)
Fourteenth – Zeniba (I always thought of her as becoming one of Julian's advisors eventually, helping him understand and advocate for causes he doesn't fully understand, but supports nonetheless)
Thirteenth/Twelfth – Gigi and Fleur (At this point, they'd start developing feelings for each other and ask Prince Julian to eliminate them together)
Eleventh – Violet (I thought it'd be cool if she wrote a novel about her experience as a member of the Selected, and Francesa gets the story made into a movie, because duh)
Tenth – Talullah (falls in love with Ray and stays with his family after being eliminated and the risk of being shamed if she goes back home – Ray does not mind this at all)
Ninth – Briseis (She is eliminated, but stays in the palace due to falling in love and having a relationship with Lou)
Eighth – Ophelia (Lia is the first girl Julian kisses, but they realize they're better off being best friends, though Juli is grateful Lia was his first kiss of the Selection)
Seventh – Louise (leaves after finding out about Luna, and fears for Kimmie's safety, also is developing feelings for Leo and are on their way to being a couple)
Sixth – Sylvaine (At this point, she will have been revealed to the readers as the one helping Kieran, if not everyone else – Julian will ask her about the amount of time she's been spending with Kieran, which is a lot, and she will explain what she's doing to him. She's later recognized as somewhat of a hero, and people finally start talking about Sylvaine because of something other than her father)
Fifth – Inés (Inés and Julian become good friends, and she eventually tells Julian that she is developing feelings for him, and she needs to know where she stands. Julian realizes that his crush on Inés is just that – a crush, admiring her wholly as a person, but he doesn't hold romantic feelings for her, and they part on good terms. She eventually gets with Evie after the Selection)
Fourth – Lexine (She and Julian become close, but they rely on each other more for healing from their grief than actually building a romantic connection, but they're grateful for and to each other nonetheless)
Third – Evangeline (They kiss, but Evie realizes what she was feeling for Julian, while genuine, also had a lot of hero worship and the kiss wasn't what she expected it to be, and Julian agrees. Throughout the Selection, Evie has become more of her own person and takes a year or two for herself, and eventually ends up with Inés)
Runner Up – Saskia (Saskia teaches Julian a lot about privilege and although he doesn't realize that he can be judgmental toward the lower castes' struggles, he is, and he helps confront that with Saskia. She holds him accountable for himself and challenges him when he tries to wallow in his own self-pity. In the end, however, he loves Saskia, but he's not in love with her, not the way he is with the winner, and he ends up having a very sobering conversation with Saskia after he reveals the winner. He wants to immediately hang out with Saskia again and be friends, but she has to remind him that she can't do that just yes. Saskia is in love with Julian, and although she wants nothing but the best for him, she's heart-broken and needs time for herself to not only get over her heart break, but to also learn how to live as a Three)
Winner – Avarosa (Ava's the winner! I chose Ava because she was the perfect balance of optimism, realism, kindness, and playful banter that Julian needed. Although Saskia would be able to level Julian out and give him some tough love, Julian's fragile and does better with just a touch of coddling, something Ava gives out freely. They had the most instant connection, when I was writing the speed-dates, and, Julian immediately connected to her voice when she first spoke. He finds it clear and calming, instantly recognizable, and easily understandable, like he can see Ava without ever actually seeing her. They have a sweet and fun relationship, one that started out as a friendship. In fact, Julian at one point, doubts that they can be romantic, thinking that they're just friends, and then they kiss, and he's like, naw, there's something here. Uh yeah, Juli: true love)
Relationships I had planned:
Julian and Ava
Connie and Kieran (They were endgame, obviously. How could they not be!)
Talullah and Ray ("Hi, Lulu, it's me, Ray. Your husband, Ray!")
Louise and Leo
Briseis and Lourdes
Gigi and Fleur
Princess Elodie and her bodyguard, Thèo (Fun fact: Elodie was gonna be a character. Yeah, I don't know how I was gonna fit her in either lmao)
Francesa and Reid
Inés and Evie (They weren't originally going to be, but everyone started shipping them and I did, too lol)
Okay, well, I think that about wraps it up! Of course, I had so much planned out: friendships, enemies, specific scenes, confrontations, etc, but that was part of my problem. I got ahead of myself and wanted to write scenes way ahead of where I was and got bored of what I was actually writing.
Anyway, I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, sincerely, thank you so much for the love, encouragement, and support not only for me, but for Break My Pride as a whole. It really does hurt, having to quit it, but it's the best thing for me to do. I would have eventually hated writing for it, and I might have finished it one day, but the quality would have diminished greatly, and I basically would have been writing because I had to, not because I wanted to.
I'm disappointed, too, but I'm also a bit relieved, if I can be honest. There was this huge pressure I put upon myself to finish BMP and make it this grand story that I simply couldn't hold on to. When I decide to write again, I'll make sure it's a story on a smaller scale and try again, and go slowly, and I hope all of you are there again with me :)
With all of my love,