“Gosh that was exhausting wasn’t it.” I remarked as me and Leo stepped into the hallway, just arriving back from Chace’s brunch fundraiser.
“Sure.” He replied moodily. Sure? He had barely spoke 2 words to anyone at the fundraiser, scribbling into his notepad instead, but I suppose that was one of the main reasons I was attracted to him, he was so detached from my regular world. Throwing down my purse and sitting down I expected him to join me, maybe we could watch a movie, or just talk… but no, he was straight off to the studio, as usual.
“Where the hell are you going?!” I shouted over to him as I jumped up. He slowly turned around and stared at me, I didn’t know what he was thinking, which infuriated me, especially as it was pretty obvious I was pissed.
“What’s the problem? Do you not want me to work on my art, do you want me to force you to pay for everything all the time?” Stupid money! Why wasn’t I just born poor? Okay forget that, I would rather be dead than poor… But come on! I didn’t care about paying, I had the money.
“I have more than enough money, why is it so emasculating for you?! I like you exactly how you are, I even let you wear a grey pullover, jeans and converse to a charity brunch where you should have worn a suit, but I don’t care!”
“Oh wow Arielle that’s such a big concession, thanks a lot. This just shows how you think own me, you ‘let’ me wear this?” Why on earth was he getting so worked up?! The brunch was full of businessmen in 3 thousand simolean suits, and he turned up looking like my difficult teenager, but that’s exactly why I loved him. Loved him? Was I in love with Leo… I didn’t know, I felt like I could be.
“This isn’t working Arielle.”
“That’s because you don’t put any effort in! Get out of the studio and go and work for my father, you’re smart, I’m sure he’ll give you a decent position!”
“I will not work for your father Arielle. I’m not used to just having things handed to me, and I don’t like it, I won’t exploit your connections for my own gain.”
“WHY?! That’s how the world works Leo, it’s now what you know, it’s who you know, and you better catch on soon!!”
“I’m going downstairs to let you cool off. I want this to work, but I think we’re going to have to have a serious talk.” A serious talk? No! I had seen too many movies to not associate those words with something bad, was he going to break up with me? I’d just realised that I was in love with him… did he not love me back? I didn’t dare ask. Moving out to the study terrace I looked over the beautiful view of the ocean. Leo was, of course, right. I didn’t earn any of this, my parents did. I had a job because of Chace, I was invited to parties because of Lily. I was living in one of the most expensive buildings in the city and wearing rubies at 1 in the afternoon because of the wealth my parents had left me. But I wouldn’t change it. Why would I choose to be poor? Ew.
* * *
I was running so late! Alex was coming over, she said she had really big news, what it could be I didn’t have a clue, she’d probably broke some record with her book sales, right now I didn’t really care, I had just got home from work (2 hours later than anticipated) and now I had to email next months projections to the director of the department who was holidaying on his yacht in Bermuda and had been M.I.A for the past 2 weeks.
“Anyone home?!” I heard Alex shout from the hallway as I furiously typed away on the computer. Consuela (the maid I had recently hired) had been instructed to let her in. Damn, I wish I wasn’t running so late, I hadn’t even had the chance to change from my work clothes. I could hear her walking up and down the main hallway, probably checking out each room. She had only visited the apartment once or twice and I think she was still astounded by it’s size.
“Just a second!” I shouted back as I typed the last few lines and pressed send. Phew! I strolled into the living room where Alex was already enjoying the view.
“I still can not believe all this is yours Arielle. You really don’t need such a big place you know.” Let’s not get onto that conversation, Leo might overhear and it will bring up even more tension than there already is.
“So what’s the big news sis?”
“Well… You know how I’ve been dating Jeremy for the past few years.” She paused, turning shyly away from me, had he broke up with her? “Well… we decided to get married!” She said, holding out her ring finger for me to look.
“Oh my God! That’s amazing!!” I pulled her up of the sofa and embraced her, I couldn’t believe she was marrying him, she had followed him around for all those months when she was still a teenager, finally plucking up the courage to talk to him after Oriana laced her morning latte with vodka. Seems like it was a fairytale ending!
“Here is the thing Ari… I want you to plan the wedding. We want to get married… soon.”
“How soon? 2 months? I may be able to whip something up.”
“Well… we were thinking more like… a week.” A week?! She wanted me to plan a wedding in a week?! My face dropped in horror, how on earth would I be able to pull that off?
“I know it’s sudden but please, we have to get married soon because…” Because what? Because they were so in love, please, she had to wait a few weeks! I needed time to plan a God damn wedding! “… because I’m pregnant! Now it’s very early, but I am!” Wow – Alex’s life was definitely taking off fast, I mean, best-selling author, now wife-to-be and mother-t0-be… it seemed like she had everything she ever wanted, then there was me… No! I couldn’t be jealous, this was her moment.
“Okay. I’m sure I can rustle something together, but it may not be as good as it could be if I had more time.”
“No, no, I’m sure you’ll do fine, we only want something small and tasteful, we thought we could do it here, the place is big enough, plus you have that huge studio.” Alex remarked slyly, she had definitely been thinking about this. Not a bad idea actually… Ideas were whizzing around in my mind as I scanned the living room. If I took the furniture out, put in a few rows of chairs, maybe a few columns…
“Right I have to go, I have a meeting with my publisher. Please keep me updated sis. I love you.” She looked at me with genuine emotion, this was probably the first real ‘moment’ we had ever shared together… and it was nice.
Okay, I had 6 days to plan a wedding, 4 company reports I had to proof read for my boss, and a very hostile, brooding boyfriend who would probably hate the whole thing. Not to mention Noah still on my mind, I hadn’t even let him in the apartment the first time, but he had told me through the grille gate that he missed me and would be back soon, just what I needed. Please God, let everything come together, and keep Noah away for the next week.
* * *
“Oriana get out now, I bet you look amazing.” I shouted as I typed an email on my phone. Oriana had been in the dressing room for 35 minutes, insisting she hated the dress I had chosen for her.
“I look like an idiot.” I heard her mumble back.
“Get out now!” That was enough, I marched over to the dressing room and threw open the door, dragging her out in front of the mirrors in the bridal stores dressing room.
“You look amazing!” Not as good as I looked in the dress, but she did look pretty good. “But you can not wear these boots with it, we’re at a wedding, not one of your concerts.”
“One of my concerts? I wear these boots every day! I hate this dress!”
“Why are you acting like a child you bitch, this is for Alex, we have to be supportive.” She was being an idiot! I felt like her mother, just like I had all week. “Mom what about you?!” Lily was in another dressing room, but I had given her a little more time, after all she was getting old.
“I’m not that old Arielle. I’m coming.” She shouted back, coming out and approaching the now available mirror a few minutes later. She looked great, she wasn’t a bridesmaid, so she didn’t have to wear the same dress as me and Oriana, that would have just been weird. “Girls what do you think of these shoes?” Lily asked as me and Oriana bickered behind her.
“Get me out of this! Where’s my leather jacket?” Oriana asked as she tugged on the back of her dress, trying to escape.
“Stop!” I clicked my fingers at her, a few salesgirls were hovering around and I didn’t want to embarrass us, but she persisted with the tugging.
“How the hell do you get out of these things, the zip is impossible!”
“YOU’RE GOING TO RIP IT!” I couldn’t help it, she was being a little baby, she was going to, like, totally ruin the entire wedding!
“Chill out Arielle! It’s only a stupid dress.” She snapped back at me,
“It is not just a dress, its the bridesmaids dress you’re going to be wearing to your twin sisters wedding! Now stop fidgeting!”
“Girls, calm down.” Mom said calmly as she checked herself out in the mirror. How could she be so calm at a time like this? The wedding was in 3 days and I still had a list as long as my arm left to complete. And where the hell was Alex?
“Alex come on! I thought Oriana took a long time but this is ridiculous!” I screamed, eliciting stares from several salesgirls who were hovering around the room. It was definitely worth the wait to see Alex, she looked amazing in her dress as she came out of the dressing room. The three of us were stood together in front of the mirror, I could see mom behind us, a faint tear running down her cheek. We had never really been that close, the three of us, so this must have been a real moment for her. We just stood for a while, looking at each other in the mirror, and it was actually nice.
Unfortunately the peace didn’t last, as over the next few days I ran errand upon errand, calling in the decorators to install pillars along the living room, the movers who were transporting my furniture to a storehouse for a night, the catering company who were completely unreliable, the cake maker (who did not understand what I was asking for) and still trying to juggle my job, which although a low grade position turned out to be a lot of work. It was a relief when the 3 days passed and the wedding was finally upon us. The family had arrived and we were waiting for the guests, Alex was upstairs getting ready with mom and I was just putting the food into the oven to keep warm when I heard a cough behind me.
No! Could my prayers have not came true? Seeing him at the doorway made me realise I still had feelings for him, but I had to keep him away until I could sort things out with Leo. I loved Leo, at least I thought I did… but I didn’t feel love for Noah, just… feelings.
“Arielle, why haven’t you been returning my calls? We have to talk… I want to see you again.”
“What do you think you’re doing showing up at my house, at my sisters wedding!” I whispered furiously with my back to him, so no one realised we were speaking.
“But Arielle, I thought that we had something all those years ago, yes I thought it was over for a while when you went away, but seeing you again has lit up those feelings…”
“No! Don’t do this now Noah, I’m in a relationship, please just leave.”
“I’m not leaving until you talk to me Arielle.” Why was he persisting so much? I had too many things to deal with right now to add Noah on top of the list! Stupid Consuela must have thought he was an invited guest and let him in, she better watch it or she’d be out of a job soon.
“Fine then, stay. But stay the hell out of my way, we’ll talk later.” I said with a scowl as I stormed off towards the living room, where the ceremony was taking place, leaving him staring at me just as he had all those years ago when I was trying to seduce him.
Standing in the living room counting chairs I was extremely happy with how the space had came together, it looked pretty great for 6 days work. It had cost me to get everything out of here, including the art, but it was worth it, and the petals had turned out great. Those would certainly be a nightmare to clean up, I better call a cleaning service, Consuela already said she wasn’t cleaning them. Who did she think she was?
The actual ceremony was pretty quick, with only the family and a few close friends in attendance, all my work over the past week was definitely worth it as I saw how happy they were when the rings were finally exchanged.
The after party was where everyone really appreciated my work. It had taken a lot of convincing to get Leo to allow me to move his paintings out of the studio and into storage, and he’d insisted on travelling with them the entire way to the storehouse, ew. Everyone was totally letting loose on the dance floor, it felt like we were in a real club, but better!
Of course the better the evening got the harder Noah tried to ruin it! I could see him staring at me and gesturing me from the side of the dance floor, people were going to notice! If dad saw him his life would be over, he still hated him from the run in we had at the club all those years back.
“Noah I told you to get out of here!” I fumed as we stood in the shaded doorway, away from the party.
“You said we could talk Arielle. I can’t think of a better time than the present.” No, no, no! I had things to think about, I really did love Leo, but then Noah was just so attractive, and there was definitely something there… I didn’t know if I could trust myself.
“Just come outside, talk to me, tell me that you don’t want to be with me and I’ll leave you alone forever.”
“I…” I couldn’t say it – I couldn’t risk never seeing him again, but Leo… “I have to go.” I stormed back to the dance floor and threw myself into Leo’s arms, I wish our relationship would work out perfectly, but maybe we could work through the problems.
As the evening began to wind down me and Leo were still on a complete buzz – the bartender was weaving through the dance floor with trays of champagne and we did not want the evening to end. So we didn’t let it. We headed out of the apartment and hit a few local clubs.
Dancing followed drinks…
Followed by more drinks…
And more dancing…
I could barely remember the evening, except that it was a lot of fun, an I’m pretty sure we got up to some crazy stuff. I had vague memories of this old man smiling at us and laughing… I didn’t really have any idea what it was though, probably one of those trendy clubs. When I woke up I realised we weren’t even in our bedroom, we were sleeping in the red room, why I didn’t know, we probably thought it was a good idea at the time. My entire body whacked onto the floor as I got out of bed – I had never had a hangover like this, I couldn’t even see straight!
Stumbling into the kitchen to make coffee I looked down and realised that I was even drunker than I thought last night – what on earth? How, how could I have done something like this… the old man, banging on a church door at 4AM, a cheap ring from a Chinese immigrant selling her wares to the drunkards on the darkened streets…
I was married! Oh my God… I was married… What the hell had we done? Did we think this would save our relationship?! We definitely had sex last night too… did we use a condom?