“I’m so bored, aren’t you?” I asked my cousins Alexis and Arabella as we sat on my bed after doing our homework.
“Why can’t we play in the living room?” Alexis asked as she played with her hair.
“I’ll go and ask mama. She has a friend round and said we shouldn’t disturb her.” I didn’t even know these friends she had were, she always had women around having lunch and gossiping.
“Mom?” I shouted as I walked into the living room. Oh! What was this? Who was the man? Was that Dimitri, what a stupid name. I hid behind a column and watched them as they moved closer together, staring into each others eyes. His arm was on her shoulder and she was playing with his hair, gross!
I quickly snuck back to my bedroom, how could she do this to daddy? I hadn’t seen him in months and she wouldn’t tell me why, she just kept saying he was staying in France. But why?! I wanted to go back to France and see him, he’d never spent that much time with me but he was still my daddy! I had to get them to stop it, and luckily I had an idea.
Running back to my room I threw open the dressing up box and pulled a few costumes out. I was the Proper Periwinkle, and Alexis was the Lavish Lavender, it was just Arabella who wouldn’t dress up.
“You guys look dumb! I’m not wearing a princess costume, they don’t even dress like that! I went to dinner at Princess Anne’s house last week in London with mum, they wear normal clothes!” She shouted as me and Alexis paraded up and down acting like princesses. What did she know, she was the dumb one!
“Scaredy cat!” That always got people to do things on TV, maybe it would work.
“Ugh, fine!” She said, rooting around in the box and transforming herself into the Regal Rose princess.
“Let’s go show mama!” Hopefully they would be so distracted by how royal and cool we looked that they’d stop talking and mom would spend time with me instead.
“Look Mrs. Belgravia, we’re princesses!” Arabella told her proudly, taking center stage of course.
“It’s Ms. Elphinstone now Arabella.” Mama said as she finally pulled herself away from stupid Dimitri and looked at us. “You girls look great, but why don’t you go and play in the bedroom? I have a guest.” Her eyes widened a little as she looked at me before her face set into a hard line, it definitely meant ‘get out!’ ugh!
“Why does she have to be like that?!” I slammed the door as I went into my bedroom with Alexis and Arabella, who were looking down awkwardly at the ground.
“Um… What’s up with your mom?” Alexis muttered, she definitely felt weird about the situation. Mama spoiled everything! Luckily the awkward silence was broken by Marie coming through the door.
“Oh les filles! Vous l’air fantastique! Beautiful girls, you look so regal.” Marie gushed as she looked down on us.
“Merci Marie.” I smiled up at my nanny, she was so pretty. And so kind.
“Come girls. We go for a walk in park, yes?” Marie said as we quickly took off our princess costumes and followed her to the elevator, leaving mom and Dimitri behind, ugh!
* * *
“Oh they’re gone.” I said as I heard the ping of the elevator doors which signaled Marie, Electra and her cousins exit. “This has been lovely, really Dimitri. But you should go, I have a friend coming over for lunch soon.”
“Ah, you don’t know how sad that makes me. I wish to spend all day with you.” He smiled at me as he spoke, clearly meaning what he said.
“Well I’d like that too but I want to see my friend.” I didn’t really want to see my ‘friend’, to be honest I had never met the woman. But now that I was establishing myself on the social scene she had invited herself over for lunch, and if I wanted in I had to oblige.
“Come, you must have a few minutes before she arrives.” Before I could get up he’d draped his arm over me, I was about to move away but he was so invitingly warm and comfortable, I just couldn’t resist closing my eyes and feeling secure in his arms.
Although Dimitri was a rich and powerful man he gave me more than a feeling of financial security, he had such presence, which made him infinitely more attractive. I definitely wanted to see more of him. After a couple of minutes of laying together we were disturbed by his phone, why was something always bothering us?! It was either Electra, who couldn’t keep her nose out of my business, new social acquaintances, or cell phones!
“Yes, I understand. I’ll be on the next flight.” He said into his phone as he paced the room. “Olive, it is now me that had to cut this wonderful meeting short. Business problems in Athens, I’ll be flying out straight away.” He came and kissed my hand before pushing the elevator button, and with a final wave he was gone. I sighed loudly and put my head into my hands. Why couldn’t he just be here all the time?
Oh well, time to serve the tea. I definitely needed Marie here, she made the best tea, but I had to get Electra out of my hair for the timebeing, and with Sebastian staying with Arielle for a few days I could have a civillised meeting with my new friend, instead of screaming children running around.
“So nice to finally meet you Evelyn. I must say your picture in the style section last week did you no justice.” I poured her tea and joined her on the comfortable chairs which faced the fireplace. Now what on earth was I meant to talk about?
“Oh thank you, you’re a dear. I have to say what a beautiful apartment you have, and I love the work your mothers doing for cancer, such a good cause. I’m actually doing some charity work myself, save the whales it is.” She seemed a little fake and full of herself but I needed her on my side if I ever even hoped to throw another party.
“Oh how nice. I’m looking for a cause to support myself, charities so important.” I said as I took a sip before replacing my cup on the tray.
“I’m on a wonderful board at the Diamond Museum, I’ll see what I can do about getting you a seat. We don’t usually accept one so young and new to the scene, but for you I think an exception could be made.”
“Oh thank you!” Putting down my cup I clapped my hands together, getting quite a dirty look from Evelyn, clearly clapping with joy was a no-no.
“It’s my pleasure. I hear your party was quite the occasion, people have been talking about it all over town. You simply must throw another, I’ll invite a few of the girls and you can meet my husband.”
“You’re too kind, I actually have one planned. My brother’s daughter Constance just got engaged. I was thinking a family affair but my sister-in-law insisted on a big party, and of course you’re invited.” In the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking Constance was a little young to be getting married, but it was her life.
“That’s so lovely of you.” She finished her tea before dabbing her lips with the napkin I’d provided. “I should go anyway, I have to interview new housekeepers. It’s so hard to find good help these days.” I showed her to the elevator with the required kiss on each cheek as she left, quite a good first meeting I thought, I was definitely getting myself on the radar, now I just had to plan a party.
* * *
“And make sure it’s baccarat, I can’t have the Countess drinking from a cheap glass. Yes, thank you.” Mama’s voice reached my ears as I stepped out of the elevator, back from my first day of my new school.
“Hi.” I said as she hung up the phone and started typing on her laptop.
“How was school?” She mumbled as she typed something and began making notes on a pad next to her.
“Well it was okay, my teachers are actually really nice and I made some friends. But I have homework already, look, its maths. So hard!” I hopped onto the big Missoni chair and pulled the footstool closer so I could lay out my work on it.
“Mom what’s 7×12?” I asked, scratching my head with the pencil. “Mom!” I shouted after she didn’t respond.
“What?! Electra what are you doing? Do that later, go and get your brother for now, and bring something for you two to play with, I’m going to get ready. Go, go.” Do my work later? Fine by me. And she wanted to spend time with us! I quickly ran to Sebastian’s nursery.
“What you up too?” I asked as I saw him playing with the blocks, well more chewing the blocks than playing with them
“Bwocks!” He giggled, drooling all over one.
“You’re so cute aren’t you. Mama wants to see us, would you like that?” I leaned down at the block table and looked at him. He seemed as shocked as me that mama wanted to play, but he soon forgot and put a block back in his mouth.
Taking Sebastians hand and picking up the light plastic block table with the other we settled down in the living room and began playing together. Soon mama joined us looking very glamorous, she’d even changed her hair. She looked so pretty, she was even prettier than Marie, and she was playing with us! She did love us after all.
* * *
Where was he? Hopefully I wasn’t being stood up, his secretary had told me he would be here at 6, he was in New York for a meeting on his way back from Athens and hadn’t been able to contact me but his secretary had told me his plans to take me to the opera. So exciting!
“Mama, bwocks! Pway mama!” Sebastian threw a block across the room, narrowly missing my face.
“Sebastian! Watch it!” I checked my face, thank god he had never hit me, I couldn’t look a mess for Dimitri.
“Anyone home?” I heard as the elevator doors opened and the deep voice of Dimitri echoed around the apartment.
“Oh Electra that’s a wonderful tower!” I yelled as he came around the corner. “Dimitri, you’re here. I was just spending some time with the kids.” I jumped up and hugged him as he came towards us.
“You’re such a caring mother, you never fail to impress me.” He smiled at me, looking down at the kids. “Let me look at you.” He stepped away from me looked me up and down. “Stunning Olive, perfection.” I should hope so, the dress and diamonds had cost me enough.
“You flatter me. Goodbye kids, I’ll see you later.” Waving to Electra and Sebastian I made my way to the elevator, I was so excited for the opera, and I planned on inviting Dimitri back afterwards. We had been seeing each other for a couple of months now, it was time to seal the deal.
“That was a wonderful evening.” I said as we walked back into the apartment a few hours later after the opera, it had been an amazing show, people had told me I’d fall asleep but I thought it was wonderful.
“It was. Thank you so much for coming with me.” He was such a gentleman, it was only the money that made him similar to Max. He was so different in every other respect, so confident, so sure of himself, so powerful, with influence and connections spanning continents.
“Why don’t you go and… wait upstairs?” I looked at him from under my lashes as I spoke, trying to seduce him.
“Are you sure?” He asked, I was sure. This is what I wanted, Dimitri could really make me happy.
“Definitely.” I moved in and planted my lips on his, the first kiss. It wasn’t like a movie, I had learnt long ago that the world didn’t melt away when you kissed someone, but it was nice.
As we held hands and walked upstairs to my bedroom I wondered if I was making a mistake, getting together with someone so soon after Max, it hadn’t even been a year. There could be a scandal, people talking… but then again he was so powerful it probably wouldn’t matter.
“I’ll see you in a minute, I’m just going to the bathroom.” I planted another kiss on his lips before walking into my en suite. Standing in front of the mirror I took a deep breath. It had been a long time since I’d had sex, what if I wasn’t good enough for him?
What was I thinking?! Of course I’d be good enough for him. I looked amazing, I was beautiful, thin, rich, and he’d seen me spending time with the kids, so in his eyes I was a caring mother. How could anyone resist?
“You are so beautiful.” He said from his position on the bed as I came into the room in my underwear, my hair let lose from it’s constraints. The lust in his eyes was almost tangible, I knew he wouldn’t have been able to resist me. It made me feel so good to be wanted, my insecurities melted away when he looked at me like he was now.
“You know Olive,” he took a deep breath as he wrapped his arms around me and closed his eyes, “we haven’t spent as much time together is as socially acceptable, and I don’t expect you to feel the same way, though I hope you d0…” he laughed sheepishly, “but I just want you to know… that I love you.”
“I -” this must be love, a feeling of being wanted, being secure in his arms, it had to be. “- I love you too.” It felt good to say it again, it felt more real than when I said it to Max. This had to be the real thing.
“Olive, I have to go to China for a meeting in a few hours, why don’t you come with me?” He said as we laid on the bed together in each others arms, his question jolting me out of the semi-nap I had fallen into. China? Could I really just pack everything up and go with him? The kids… but I’d never been before, and they’d be fine with Marie.
“Okay.” I told him. And a few hours later we were ensconced in his private jet en route to China.