Tag Archives: china

Generation 3 – Chapter 9

“So nice to meet you.” I said as I shook the strangers hand. We had been in China for a few days, and this was the fourth party Dimitri had taken me to. It was nice to be introduced to his friends, but I was being thrust around the room being introduced to everyone and anyone, and it was getting old.

“You too. Dimitri didn’t lie when he spoke of your beauty.” He looked at me lewdly, staring at my cleavage. Thank god I had a thin layer of chiffon covering it or he may have had a coronary. “Ah and here comes my beautiful wife. Alexia, come here sweetie.” He gestured to the buxom blonde who had been approaching us from behind.

“Hi.” She said lazily as she joined our conversation, not seeming to be interested.

“I um- love your dress.” I lied as I gave her a once over, how slutty did she need to dress? This was meant to be an elegant event.

“Henry bought it for me. Shows off my assets.” She grabbed a drink from a passing waiter, quickly downing it and throwing the glass over the terrace. What was she doing?! How embarrassing. “I didn’t know people still wore black. Are you in mourning?” Her face showed no emotion as she spoke, her ghostly eyes seeming to stare right through me. I noticed a scattering of white power on her nose and was reminded of Miami and Reena, definitely a coke addict.

“I was going for classic.” I said laughing and leaning back in exaggerated joy. “I should go and mingle, so nice to meet you both.” These people were so dull, but I had to be friendly with them if I ever hoped to get along in Dimitri’s world. Well, I suppose it was now my world too, it had been ever since I’d been with Max.

“Oh thank god you got away from them.” A very pretty oriental woman said, gently grabbing my arm as I crossed the room and looking across the room to Alexia with a mocking in her eyes.

“I’m Niya by the way.”

“I’m Olive, nice to meet you. I love your outfit.” I admired the classic Chinese robe, clearly a designer version with the exquisite stitching and the wonderful pattern.

“Well it’s not my usual choice, I’d probably be in something closer to your outfit. Chanel?” I smiled and nodded my confirmation as she admired my dress. “Have you seen Alexia’s dress? You know she’s 20 years younger than her husbands daughter? What a pig. They deserve each other”

“I noticed a little white power on her nose! I don’t remember seeing coke whore on the runway at Bryant Park this season.” I laughed, pointing to Alexia.

“Tell me about it!” Niya tried to stifle her laughter as we looked over at Alexia, her ample assets threatening to burst free from the barely-there dress. “Last week she came in a leather mini and a luminous pink crop top, please!” We both laughed at Alexia, in the back of my mind I felt a little bad, but she was doing it to herself.

“Now who is that decidedly attractive man talking to my husband?” Niya asked as she looked across the room to where Dimtri was engrossed in a conversation with a man who was evidently Niya’s husband.

“Well that’s who I’m here with. I suppose he’s my ‘boyfriend’, god I feel 17 again.” I’d never actually had a teenage boyfriend, those years were plagued with bulimia, alcoholism, and partying in Miami, but she didn’t know that.

“Good catch! Although boyfriend is such an unbecoming term for women like us, you should nail him down in marriage.”

“Well to tell you the truth I’ve only recently escaped from a marriage, going for another may be pushing it.” I hadn’t even thought about marrying Dimitri, but we had only been seeing each other for a few months… but husband sounded much better than boyfriend.

“Nothing wrong with that. Alan’s my fourth. At least I can pawn the rings to pay the divorce lawyer.” She joked with a loud, expressive laugh that made people turn around and stare.

“I should go say hello to him. We should have lunch some time, here, take my card.” I fished a card out of the discreet pocket of my dress and gave it to her. Dimitri had made them for me, saying it would be useful for the people I’d meet at all the parties he had been taking me to. Crossing the room to Dimitri I saw him exchange a goodbye with his friend as he saw me coming. He was so good to me, always making time for me.

“Hello beautiful.” He kissed me before I could say anything back, letting everyone know we were definitely together. Niya was right, he was definitely a catch.

*      *      *

I yawned. I stretched. I opened my eyes. Ugh, time to wake up. I loved my bed so much, it felt like I was laid in heaven… wrapped my wonderful duvet covered in a princess pattern. Mama said it was the best money could buy, Marie said it suited me because I was a princess. Hehe.

Mama! She would be back from her date by now, I wished she’d been able to spend more time with us last night but it’s okay, parents have to have lives too. At least she had wanted to do something with us before Dimitri came and picked her up. Stupid Dimitri, I’d have to do something about him if I wanted mama to spend more time with us… the princess dress up hadn’t been the best plan, but I had time to think of another.

Running into the kitchen I flicked the kettle on and started rooting around for mugs, the tray, the book mama had recently been reading, and her newly prescribed glasses, which she was too vain to wear but wore them when no one was around and she had to read or something. Now what? Milk for the tea, yeah.

Arghhh! How did anyone see anything in this fridge? The light was blinding, I could barely see the milk in here! Pouring two cups of Earl Grey, one for her and one for me, I looked over my work. Pretty good, mama would definitely want to spend the day with me now.

I put the tray on the coffee table to cool down and admired the city for a second. It was so beautiful, mama said that we practically owned this city, and I could have whatever I wanted. But what about everyone else?? Oh, the tea, I almost forgot. Bursting into her bedroom I felt bad for a second, what if I’d woken her up? But that soon vanished, and was replaced with a sinking feeling in my stomach.

Why wasn’t she in her bed? It looked like it hadn’t been slept in, I mean I know we had maids that came in every day and cleaned the house but they usually came in really early to do the living area and kitchen, then later in the day to do the bedrooms. Maybe she was in her bathroom. I threw open the door in hope, but no.

I stared out of the window at the beautiful view she had, facing the ocean. I had known she wouldn’t be here, in the back of my mind. I guess that’s goodbye to the tea and a day with her.

“Miss Electra? What are you doing?” Marie asked as she came into the room. At least she was always here for me.

“Where’s mama?” Where could she really have gone, she had to be back later, she was always coming home to get changed after different lunches and parties, she said it was ‘gauche’ to be seen in the same outfit at different events. I guess I needed more clothes then.

“Your um- mother has gone for a little trip, to China.” China?! Why hadn’t she at least said goodbye, I loved her so much and all I wanted was to spend time with her. Marie might as well be my mama. I suppose I better make other plans, mama was obviously not interested.

“Lets go to the park then! We can have lots of fun Marie!”

“Marie!” I said as I moved towards the door, with her lagging behind, “chop chop, when I say you do. Come on!” That’s what mama always said to her, I suppose that’s what I should do to.

*      *      *

“Olive, are you ready?” Dimitri shouted as I strategically placed the magazine where he would definitely see it and applied a final layer of lipstick in the bathroom mirror.

“Oh finally.” He said, hopping up and down on the spot, clearly desperate to relieve himself. Why we only had one bathroom in the suite was beyond me, how common did this hotel think we were? “Oli-ii-ve…?” I heard from the bathroom before the chain flushed. He must have seen the magazine.

“What is it?” I said as I came in from the balcony to see him clutching the magazine in his hand.

“You left this in the bathroom.” He put the bridal issue of Vogue down on the table before he stood staring at me, absently stroking his chin. “Do we need to talk about this?”

“What?” I feigned ignorance, my plan was definitely working. “I was just looking, this is such a good season for bridal couture.”

“Do you want to get married?” He asked, his brow furrowing as he spoke.

“Do you?” I snapped back, the two of us staring at each other across the coffee table uneasily.

“I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Me neither. I have to go and meet Niya for lunch anyway, I’ll see you later. Where are we going tonight?” Adjusting my earrings in the mirror I acted as if I’d forgotten all about the conversation. A woman couldn’t be the one to propose, what a terrible story to tell your friends.

Rushing into the dressing room after lunch I was aware how painfully late I was. The lunch had been such a good one, although Niya was just as rich and glamorous as I was, and had been married to men with even more power, she was fun and knew how to tell a great story, we had chatted for hours before I realised the how late I was. I’d usually take my time regardless of where I was going but Dimitri had text me telling me tonight it was important, so I was determined to be ready.

Throwing my clothes into the dresser I quickly freshened up in the bathroom; having a quick shower; applying a fresh layer of makeup; redoing my hair. Moving back into the dressing room I threw open the drawers and rooted around for a dress. After slipping into the pink silk and tying a row of pearls (a gift from Dimitri) around my neck I was ready. I checked my reflection in the mirror… perfection.

“Ah Olive, you exceed even my high expectations.” Dimitri said as he came into the room straightening his tie.

“You look rather handsome yourself.” The two of us embraced in front of the traditional Chinese windows as the sun set in the distance. I think I really did love him.

“Come, the car’s waiting downstairs. Tonight’s really going to be special.” Well he’d never told me something was going to be ‘special’ before, what could he have planned? Perhaps we were going to a ball, or a party full of important people.

“What the hell?” I asked in shock as I stepped out of the car. Well this wasn’t what I’d been expecting, where was the building, or at least the outdoor party? We were at the highest point in the city, where there was nothing but air. Um… amazing surprise…

“Come on!” He laughed at the confused expression on my face, dragging across the small square of land that made up this ‘viewing area’. “Sit down.” He patted the ground next to him as he settled himself on the damp grass.

“Dimitri…” I laughed, “this is a lovely spot but can’t we take in the view from the car? This is silk.” However much I wished he would just let us sit in the comfort of the limousine he wasn’t taking no for an answer, and I soon had to force myself to sit down next to him.

“Come on Olive, relax.” How could I relax when I was sat on wet grass ruining my dress? I felt Dimitri’s arm linking with mine as we got closer. The dress was ruined, oh well I’d just buy another. The stars were beautiful after all.

“I hope you know that I love you Olive. We’ve only said it to each other once, but I meant it, and I want you to know that.” It was lovely what he was saying, but did he really have to drag me all the way up here just to tell me he loved me?

“I love you too Dimitri.” I wanted to make a big speech like he had, but I didn’t know how to follow from that. I just lapsed into a comfortable silence, occasionally resting my head on his shoulder or giving him a quick kiss.

“And there’s Orion, or The Hunter. And if you look closely you can see Jupiter, just there.” He gestured to a thousand stars that all looked the same. It was still, however, quite romantic.

“Dimitri I have to say…” I leaned in close to him in mock seriousness, “I don’t know anything about the solar system.”

Thankfully he wasn’t offended, choosing instead to laugh. I may have thought this was all very romantic, but it was very serious too, I wanted to lighten the situation. Unfortunately (or not…) Dimitri was about to make it a whole lot more serious.

“Olive, I hadn’t been thinking of marriage until today when I saw that magazine you left in the bathroom and realised how stupid I’d been. It’s so undignified for people to be unmarried, and I don’t wish to spend another day not being married to you. So,” From his position on one knee he pulled a box out, and popping it open revealed an exquisite diamond that sparkled even without the glare of the sun. “Will you marry me?”

“Oh Dimitri, of course I will.” I smiled at him warmly as he slipped the diamond onto my finger. It had actually taken me by surprise, his proposal. I had thought it would have at least taken a little more scheming to get him to propose, maybe I was better at this than I thought.

“You,” I began as I clasped my arms around him; my fiancee, “are a fabulous man. And I cannot wait to be your wife. I love you, Dimitri.” Did I really mean it? I didn’t know; but I wasn’t going to let the opportunity to find out pass me by.
*      *      *
Olive bags herself a new husband 😉 hope you enjoyed the chapter. Two quick questions: What do you think of Olives new hair?
What do you think of the apartment? (from what you’ve seen in the last few chapters)
– Marissa x

Generation 2 – Chapter 8

Okay I’ll admit it – I had no idea how to cook. I had been trying to make a decent plate of waffles for lets see… 6 hours now? It was just impossible, no wonder Lily had always hired a chef, ordered take out, or asked the maid to cook, it was a nightmare! But I was determined to be a real mom – those TV shows where the mom cooks a huge dinner and all the family eat around the table with wine, great conversation, and lots of laughter. The house I had bought was simply perfect for the life I envision, apart from the obvious things tearing it apart – the husband, yes husband, we went down to city hall and found out it was official, the look on Leo’s face when he realised we were married was just… awful, he looked distraught, as if it was the biggest mistake of his life. The fact that I worked more than I was home (which I was beginning to think maybe wasn’t the best idea I ever had) and the fact that I had no idea how to raise a child!

Things with Leo had gone from bad to worse. In some far corner of my mind that was unlocked by copious amounts of alcohol I must have believed that marriage was the key to happiness, but it actually wasn’t, it had only made things worse. And to add to my misfortune I couldn’t stop thinking about Noah. I still owned the city Triplex, and Consuela had phoned me every week with my messages, always, always there were at least 6 from Noah, begging me to talk to him, to at least tell him it’s over, but I couldn’t – because in my heart, it wasn’t over. It may have been years ago, and nothing actually ever happened between us, but we both knew there was a spark there, one that we couldn’t ignore, but I had to for now. I couldn’t kick Leo out, not with his child on the way. The pregnancy wasn’t half as bad as I expected, yes I had those bouts of sickness, which could come at any time of the day (I even had to jump out of the pool and run to the toilet once) but I was expecting much worse, this is what happens when you watch too much TV as a child!

It had been a difficult choice deciding to move out of the apartment, but that was another thing that I thought may fix the marriage. In a smaller place, maybe I’d feel closer to Leo as I’d actually be closer to him, he was always in the little den behind the kitchen, I’d see him hard at work on his easels, never turning round and acknowledging me, or even smiling. I went to a few parties while I still had my figure (the baby wasn’t showing yet) but they usually turned out to be pretty much a drag. The people were my age but acted 45. Like this one party thrown by the woman who lived on the cliff above us, Helen Dorenson. I was totally late to the party and had stupidly decided to walk (she only lived on the cliff above us after all) but the road was much longer than I thought, and I was 2 hours late by the time the house came into my sights.

I walked in expecting a party in full swing, with drinks and dancing and music, but I got like a 40 year old party populated by 25 year olds. They were all so serious with their glasses of champagne and their talks of politics, I went and said hello to the hostess (who looked scarily like me – a more glamorous version) and then quickly excused myself and went out onto the terrace.

I wasn’t sure if I missed living in the city as I looked over the water to the beauty of it’s lights, it was amazing being able to appreciate it from here. Ultimately I thought moving out would help mine and Leo’s marriage, and I wanted to raise our child away from the city, in a real family environment, where going into the city would be something to look forward to or something, I didn’t really know, but I was happy I did it. The house I bought was fabulous, I had never had any outside space and I may have overdone it with tree-houses and a huge pool and outside seating and barbecue areas and 4 cars parked on the drive when there were only 2 of us, I think I just got a little overexcited.

I quietly slipped away from the party through the back and began the walk home. Maybe I should become a writer or something, I really wasn’t happy at Belgravia Industries International, people didn’t treat me with respect because they thought (ok they knew) that I only had the job because of who my father was. I was asked to do the mundane tasks, and I didn’t dare accept Chace’s offer of a higher position in case they hated me even more. Walking into the house I had to stop and admire the art, I really did love Leo’s idea of just covering the house in pictures, it made it feel really homey compared to what I had grown up in (blank walls with signature pieces) although we had decided to keep the bedroom pretty much a copy of the bedroom in the triplex, but I was thinking of changing that soon.

I was dreading loosing my figure – it had always been one of my greatest assets, but it did eventually begin to deteriorate, and that’s when I discovered the joy of proper pyjamas! I couldn’t believe I had skipped out on wearing something so comfortable for the whole sexy/cute thing, these were a revelation! I only had one pair (and I wasn’t going shopping looking this fat, ew) so I’d just wash them every few days, and then put them straight back on, I loved it! Waffles were still an art I was attempting to master, but I was definitely getting better at it (I’d found a few cookbooks on the shelf which helped a lot).

When the day finally came for my child to come into the world I panicked for a second. I felt my water break and I started running around the house screaming in panic, but in fact I wasn’t even in pain. I had seen way to many movies! I was perfectly calm, and the doctor soon arrived to deliver the baby at home like we had planned. I couldn’t wait to be a mother, it was such a strange thought, I had just created a human inside me. How? It was so interesting, so… I don’t know, it was just amazing.

Thomas Belgravia was born in the kitchen (of course, I was never out of there) at 11PM, and he was absolutely beautiful. I had a child. I was a mother. It was really just sinking in. I had all these thoughts about the house and what it would be like having a family here, but now I actually had a family of my own.

Okay – I had some problems here. I wanted to actually show him being a baby for a while (although I don’t know why because they’re boring at that stage) but little Thomas had… other ideas.

Anyone else get these ridiculous problems with babies?! I believe its the custom content, but never mind.

It seemed like only a few days before he became a little toddler, and an absolutely adorable one at that. I loved the nursery we (I use the term loosely – Leo bought a few toys then went back to his art) created for him, and I’m pretty sure he loved it too. Oriana sent him a totally cute toy to play with which he loved. A room full of designer toys and he wants to play with the rag doll my sister sent him, typical.

He was so gorgeous, I couldn’t believe he was my son! Everyone was dying to meet him, after all he was the first male to be born into the family. I started getting back into the books that I had purchased in France and never really took the time to read. I was always in the room with him, although I did leave him alone from time to time (I didn’t want to baby him too much) but never for more than 10 minutes… and yes I usually hid behind the door listening to make sure he was okay. He’d sit at my feet playing with that doll while I read aloud, trying to immerse him in the French language, I wanted him to understand other cultures.

Going out to collect the mail one morning I was excited to find a little package inside, a present! I had no idea who it could be from, but I wished I had never opened it when I did. A note from Noah – We still need to talk. – With two little diamond earrings to go with it. It was so tempting to meet with him, maybe I should speak to him. I was going to have to at one point, but I was afraid. I just couldn’t handle divorcing Leo. What about little Tommy, he would grow up in a broken family, not that Leo spent much time with him, he had recently been featured in one of the local galleries and spent all his time there readjusting where his paintings hung, changing the lighting and God knows what else.

As I moved into the hall towards the ringing doorbell later in the day I had to hide behind the wall in shock, he was here! Was he like some sort of crazy stalker?! Maybe he wasn’t genuine at all and just wanted to chop me up into a million pieces. I knew I had to answer, I couldn’t let this go on any longer, we had to talk.

Opening the door was a huge step in itself, I had never been willing to talk to him before, leaving him locked outside the grille gates, ignoring him (and getting married!) to escape him at the wedding, ignoring all his calls… but it was time to deal with it. We moved through to the kitchen, where some inane conversation about my house came up before we really got down to it.

“I still have feelings for you Arielle. I want to explore those feelings. I know your life is complicated right now with a husband and a child, but I’m willing to fight through it if you are… Arielle? Will you look at me?!”

“I feel the same way Noah. But you have to give me time, things are happening at an alarming rate in my life, I have my son to think about. Yes, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that me and Leo don’t work, and marriage was stupid, but I can’t just cut him loose, I have to tell him and we have to work out plans for Tommy and the the division of assets, the art, the money he’s made while we’ve been together… its complicated.”

“I’m willing to wait if you’ll be there at the end of it all.” Gosh he was so understanding, even better than I remembered him from years ago, but still just as hot. We looked at each other for a long while, the conversation had been much easier than I imagined, I thought his persistence would translate to wanting to be with me ASAP (which he clearly still wanted) but I was glad he was willing to wait for me. After all, I was hot.

“I’ll call you. I promise.” We hugged before he went about his business, which I realised I actually didn’t know what that was. I really had no idea about his life, was he still living with his room-mates in that huge modern house with the courtyard? Well when we did get together he’d obviously move here.

It was nerve racking, thinking about talking with Leo. I was waiting for him to come home, settling little Tommy down in bed in the nursery. He was such a joy, it was as if he never wanted me to leave, he totally loved me, and the feeling was mutual.

Pulling a book from the shelf I settled down in the den and waited for him to arrive. It was a great book, but I wasn’t paying any attention to it, I may as well have been reading it upside down. I had no idea how the conversation would go, would there be shouting and screaming? Maybe he’d hit me in anger, although if he did I’d smack him right back. It was another 3 hours before he finally came home, dumping a huge pile of easels in the corner and mumbling hello.

“Leo, we need to talk.” I gritted my teeth in nervousness, this was it, the moment my marriage would end, soon I would officially be a divorcee. Gosh, a 23 year old divorcee, it was a strange thought.

He let out a long sigh, “I know.”

“This just isn’t working out Leo, I’m sorry, truly, I really wanted it to work out, but I can’t stay in this sort of marriage.”

“Things were just… crazy between us Arielle. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, and to be honest, there’s a girl at the art gallery who I’m interested -”

“-Woah woah woah,” I cut across him, “I don’t wanna hear about anything like that right now, this is hard enough.” At least we both had people waiting at the other end for us, but I couldn’t help but feel a little upset that he was interested in somebody else.

“And what about little Tommy? He’s staying here by the way.” I told him firmly, if he wanted to battle for custody he better be prepared for a very long battle. The mayor was a good friend of Chace’s, and Lily had worked with the district attorney doing research for one of her movies, if he thought he was taking Tommy he had another thing coming.

“I know I’d never be able to fight you for custody, and I wouldn’t want to. I of course still want to visit, we’ll have to work something out properly, who has him on what days and such.” It was real. We were officially broken up, this was it. We eventually decided to go down to the court the next day and apply for a divorce.

“And what about the houses, the money, the art?”

“You can keep it all, it’s all your money Arielle. And you can keep the paintings of mine that we’ve hung, I actually think they might be worth a lot in a few years, there’s a lot of interest in them at the gallery.”

It was weird that  we could talk so… normally. There was none of the kicking and screaming I expected, plates being smashed, the house being trashed, punches flying at each other. We hadn’t talked for weeks, and I actually thought we could be friends now that we were getting out of the marriage, it would be best for Tommy if we were friends. It seemed like we both knew that it would be better off for everyone if we were divorced. I didn’t really know how to explain it to Tommy, we would have to do it later in life, he couldn’t even talk yet, never mind understand something like this. I knew Lily had kept secrets from us growing up, and I didn’t want to be like that with my children, I was going to tell them everything, I wanted to be both a mother and a friend, not just an authority figure. He decided to end it now, not to stay the night. I insisted that he should stay, but he just wanted to get away, and said he was sleeping at the gallery, although I had a feeling he was going to see that girl – and I kind of felt happy for him. Standing in the kitchen the finality of it all sunk in, we were finished, the house felt… different, emptier.

It was pretty amazing when Noah moved in a few days after Leo’s departure. I wasn’t used to sleeping alone, so I was definitely glad he was here. I knew our relationship was going to work, it just felt so different. He was so thoughtful too, like when he first arrived at the door with his bags, after letting him in he pulled out a beautiful bouquet of roses, Leo had never done something like that for me!

We shared our first kiss that very day in the kitchen, and then things just began to take off at an alarming rate. We had been talking for a while, it wasn’t at all awkward, we had so much to catch up on, so many years apart, we barely knew anything about each other, but that’s what made it so exciting. After finding out that he was in the music business (orchestra line) he moved towards me and just for a second I looked away shyly, then we looked at each other and kissed. It was like a spark exploded inside my head, he was so great!

Another thing I wasn’t expecting about him was that he was really family oriented. He seemed so polished and perfect on the surface, with his shiny suits and his perfectly tousled hair, but he loved starting up the barbecue and we’d sit outside for hours with a few bottles of red, getting to know each other more and more. Tommy took to him straight away, I suppose he had never really known Leo (which was beginning to change – isn’t it odd how as soon as me and Leo were no longer a couple he became a better father than he had been when we were together?) and Noah really took on the role of a father, teaching him to talk and telling him all about his favourite football team – The Llamas.

It was pretty much a miracle how perfect things were turning out, I had the most beautiful son in the world, a perfect boyfriend who was also an amazing father to another mans son (it wasn’t even an issue – he said he would raise Tommy as if he was his own) and an amazing home. The only wobbly part was my career. After my maternity leave I never returned to Belgravia Industries International, it just wasn’t a good fit for me, the corporate world didn’t interest me one bit, so with Alex’s help I started to write down the ideas in my head, mainly it was extracts of my life but with less drama (it wouldn’t even be realistic to write my own life – who would believe it!?) mainly revolving around a character I tactfully (ha) named Ariel. Of course I never let Tommy out of my sights as I worked, gently closing the den door and always watching him out of the corner of my eye through the glass.

It was all a whirlwind – my book was almost finished, which Alex was extremely proud of – she actually said it was good! Noah was now a permanent part of my life, I suppose you could say we were boyfriend and girlfriend but that seemed an odd title as I was a mother! I was kind of hoping he’d pop the question soon… okay I know I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Tommy was growing up faster than I ever anticipated, he was already running up and down the house, throwing his toys off the walls (ruining several pieces of art but so what – it’s just money) and generally just being a boisterous little man, I loved him so much.

In the back of my mind I had been worried about leaving my job and raising Tommy at home, I thought it could just be a routine, maybe I’d have to turn to the vodka to pass the days and become one of those awful alcoholic mothers. But it was so different. Every day was an adventure, I never knew what new word Tommy was going to spout, or what mischief he’d get up to. His laugh was the greatest thing to hear, it was totally the best laugh I had ever heard. Genuine happiness. It felt so different from my childhood. I had vague memories, but I wanted Tommy’s to be full of happy memories. I definitely needed to buy a camera, I wanted something to look back on and smile at when I was old and grey.

“Arielle,” Noah began one day as he came home from work, “We should go away. What do you think of China?” China?! Wow, I had been desperate to travel since my trip to France, and this was great news!

“I’ll miss Tommy but it could be nice to have some time away from him, maybe Lily will babysit him, it’s going to be amazing Noah!”  I didn’t know what to expect from China, what was I supposed to pack? I wanted to immerse myself in the culture and really fit in there. As the plane touched down in China 2 weeks later I stared out the window just as I had done when we touched down in France years ago. It was so different to France, and amazing in so many different ways.

The hotel we were staying in had a great suite, and we wasted no time in christening the bed, and finally cementing our position as a couple. It was strange, I was about to have sex with the person I had tried to use to take my virginity, it was totally strange. I was glad that we hadn’t done it all those years ago. What was I thinking trying to lose my virginity to him just so I could say I wasn’t a virgin any longer. High school didn’t even cross my mind any more, it felt like a whole other life, I hadn’t spoken to Michael or Emily in years, or that weird guy who put even more pressure on me to lose my virginity. He was probably stoned in the local park.

The trip may not have lived up to my France trip with regards to drama but that was exactly why I loved it. We just did things normal people do, I wasn’t flying to Paris to hide from a crazy teacher who was bribing me, I was just living. Long days spent in the Scholars Garden, trips to The Temple of Heaven to take in the view of the city, learning the basics of martial arts with Noah at the Academy, it was all so… peaceful. And exactly how a holiday should be.

We both missed Tommy, it was wonderful how quickly Noah had settled into the role of a father, Tommy actually asked to talk to him when Lily called us and put him on the phone every morning and evening. I was actually excited to get home and see him, which I never thought would be me. I didn’t used to be this person, I was never nurturing, for a while I wasn’t even sure that I wanted children, but once I had one it was the best decision I ever made. On our last day Noah convinced me to take an early morning hike up to one of the highest points in the city (which I will NEVER do again, my shoes were ruined!) and as we stood there taking in the view I felt his tension, what was he nervous about?

“Arielle,” he began, getting down on one knee. Oh boy, this was it. “I love you. I know we have only officially been together for a few weeks, but we’ve had a connection for years, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

“Arielle – say something…” I didn’t realise that I had been stood in silence, thinking about the last time this happened, with Howland.

“Yes, yes, of course!” I screamed as I snapped out of my little daze and threw myself into his warm embrace.

We spent the rest of the day in the hotel bedroom, just doing what engaged couples do, if you know what I mean, and as I woke up the next morning I had that very same feeling I had when I realised I was pregnant with Tommy, and I knew another baby was on the way.