The mirror reflected my conscious self as I looked into myself into the mirror dressed in a dress that Zachary or should I say Cosmina has chosen for me. I never really thought that Cosmina would ever choose a dress this short for me. Zachary could have taken me with him and I could have chosen a dress for myself but here I am wearing a dress which was too short for my liking. The dress barely covered my thigh, yet as I looked into the mirror to see a different me. I wonder what Kiara would have thought seeing me in this type of dress. She was the only one in this world who always complained about my dressing style. I bet sh would have been happy if she ever saw me in this dress.
That reminds me of what Zachary told me in the morning.
“Whether you wear it for the party or not is totally your wish. Cosmina told me to give it to you for the party. You can always wear whatever you want”.
Why does he always needs to be so rude? I just told him that I had never worn a short dress like this. But, he had to be so rude. I don’t even understand what I did. But then, Cosmina brought this dress for me and they both chose this dress for me, and it’s an award function, so I guess I don’t have any other choice. I don’t really want to upset him today. It’s a great day for him after all. I just hope he wins. Because, as long as I have been with him I have got to know that he never mixes up his legal life with illegal ones. He works day and night for his day business and I really think that he deserves the award.
As I looked back at myself I can’t help but feel conscious about myself. True, I did look different. Bold! But I wanted to know what Zachary thought about it. Will he like it? Will I get to hear my first ever compliment from him?
I smiled at myself and hit the side of my forehead with my knuckle lightly.
“You look absolutely gorgeous” Elena, the beautician whom Cosmina appointed for me told me as she set my hair.
“It all because of you Elena. Truly speaking, I really never thought that I could ever look like this,” I said as I turned around to look at myself in the mirror.
“Nah! Everything looks good on a beautiful person. It’s just you not my makeup nor the dress. The clothes just enhance your beauty nothing else.”
I smiled at what she said and gave her a tight hug. She laughed and patted on my back before letting me go.
“It’s already half past six, I think Sir will be here anytime soon! And as my work is done, I will like to take my leave now” she said and I nodded clasping both of my hands together as she collected her things in a bag and together we left the room. It was hard for me to walk wearing the heels but thanks to Elena, she taught me to proper manner to walk elegantly and even taught me what to do when my feet hurts wearing the heels.
Halfway in the middle of the staircase, Elena told me that, she left some of her things in the bathroom. I asked to bring it while I drink some water in the kitchen waiting for her.
I poured a glass of water and gulped it down wiping my mouth when I realised Zachary had already arrived.
“Oh, you are here already?” I asked looking his way. He was already ready. He looked amazing in that black tux. He looked really handsome as I looked up at him from head to toe. Dressed sophisticatedly and impressively. I even loved his cologne. I looked at him and smiled at him. What should I even do rather than that? Should I praise his look?
Why is he not speaking?
Am I not looking good?
I even waited for him to speak something but when he didn’t I chose to break the awkward silence.
“And you are ready! So, do I! Let’s go?” I said as I walked up to him and stood right before him.
But then as I waited for his reply he seemed to be lost in deep thoughts. I called his name two times and when he didn’t reply I snapped my finger before him calling his name loudly and thankfully he jerked out of his thinking state and looked at me.
“Let’s go?” I asked and then smiled batting my eyes signaling towards my attire thinking he might get the idea that I wanted to know how I looked in this dress, after all I wore the one that he brought me and that even wore something like this for the first time in my life but to my absolute disappointment he just nodded and said: ”Yes, Let’s go!" then he turned his back to me and walked out not even glancing my way even once. He didn’t even feel the need to check if I was coming or not. Disappointment marred my face and put the loose strands of my hair behind my ear before I stood straight and followed him.
In the car, I mustered up courage and thought to give it a try once again. I thought maybe he just didn’t get it.
“Zachary, you didn’t tell me how do I look?” I asked more like whispered all of a sudden feeling nervous that I asked the stupid question. But then he just broke my heart saying ’You look just fine!′
The only thing that formed in my mouth to his reply was a mere ‘oh’ I knew the disappointment was clearly audible from my voice but then it didn’t really matter any longer. I looked out of the moving car.
Why am I so stupid?
Are you relieved now after making fun of yourself before him?
I kept my mouth shut the whole way but managed to reply in ‘hmm’ or ‘okay’ whenever he told me something about the function. He rarely opened his mouth to speak and so, do I.
When we arrived the venue, I was shocked to see a number of people present over there. The paparazzi were clicking pictures for their respective channel like a maniac. They made sure to click each and every second when a celebrity poses before them. So, ironically if you even blink your eyes they would get the pic and it would look weird if there is a pic with a closed eyes. So, just a simple mistake would cause a hindrance. It was my first ever time to be present in an event like this and that actually made me nervous. As soon as our car entered, our car was surrounded by the photographers clicking photos of us like maniacs. The flashlight made me blind for a moment. Thankfully, bouncers had to jump in to push them away. They weren’t even moving even after our driver honked like hundred times. The bouncers managed to get space for the car to enter as nearer we got, I felt my pounding heart beating wildly against my chest out of nervousness.
I felt a warm hand on my hand and I looked at Zachary who stared at me and he tugged my hand. First, I thought maybe he got a hint that I was nervous or something. I seriously thought that he wanted to assure me that everything will be fine or something but then all he did was nodding towards the door signaling me to get out.
I nodded and waited for to be out before I slipped towards the door and he held his hand out for me. I took his hands in mine and got out of the car. The only thing I heard was people calling out to us to pose for them, unusually throwing random questions about the function or about me. Zachary slipped his arm around my waist and with a gentle push, he guided me towards the entrance. We posed for the photographers and I smiled at them even though my eyes watered due to the rate of light flashing before me. Gradually, we walked towards the stairs and walked into the hall.
Everything was so beautiful and sophisticated. People gathered in small groups talking and gossiping to each other. Some were laughing while some were looking at others. Everyone looked so sophisticated and they wore expensive and elegant dresses. Even though I was wearing an equally expensive dress, I couldn’t help but feel conscious about myself while being surrounded by them. Zachary still had his arms around my waist while walked from between those people and towards our seat. The show had already begun. We sat on our seats with Zachary taking a seat right next to me and I looked towards the side where the cameraman was broadcasting the show live. We waited and watched the show with people laughing and clapping whenever the host says funny things to deprive the show from turning into a boring one. After waiting for almost thirty minutes, the award function nominations began.
The host invited the special jury members on the stage to announce the businessman of the year. While we waited for them to speak and even though I knew nothing about it, my heart pounded against my chest due to anxiety. I somehow hoped that the award must go to Zachary. Unknowingly, I had my fingers crossed expecting the award for Zachary, and then the lady on the stage announced the name.
Undoubtedly it was Zachary.
If I had Kiara with me at the moment, then we would have jumped up and down like a frog out of excitement and Kiara would have probably whistled screaming her lungs out in joy. But I was in a different situation and with different people. I managed to control my excited hormones and I acted as cool but happy I could by smiling and clapping for Zachary but then he had to do the unexpected. He always does the unexpected.
He stood up and leaned down and hugged me while like a stupid woman I sat there with wide eyes not understanding what just happen. He just caught me off guard. But then when I heard people cheering and clapping, it processed in my mind.
He withdrew and walked towards the stage for the award. I was still processing what just happened but then got back into the real and watched the smile on his face. A genuine yet rare smile which I witness only when he is genuinely happy. Like the time when I fell into that fountain...
He took the award and shook hands with the jury before turning up towards the mike.
“Bună seara” (Good Evening) I waited and smiled when he looked fondly at the award and then back towards the audience.
“I am really ecstatic to win the award and winning it for the third time just doubles the excitement” he joked to which people laughed and some whistled.
“I worked hard for this and when you work hard sleepless nights only running after a certain ambition and when finally you achieve it, the pleasure and happiness you feel is certainly the best thing in this world. But you need support and in my case, my family gave me the support and here I am today” he said and people clapped.
“I would like to thanks my mom specially for supporting me in each and every stage of my life and without her, I would have never really had reached this far, accomplished the goals in my life. So thanks, mom, dad and my family. Also, there is another person in my life for whom I made it my aim to reach this far, she is my wife” he said and all of a sudden looked my way. My breath hitched and looked at him with wide eyes thinking what is he even saying but then again I realised it.
I put a smile on my face when people clapped and people sitting next to me congratulated me.
“My beautiful wife Mrs. Juliette Sullivan, she is here to support me today and share the joy and happiness and I feel really grateful that I have her as my wife,” he said and I wanted to get up and run to escape. What is he saying?
“It’s her first time being in a public gathering as my wife. She is just shy” he looked at my uncomfortable face and that is when the big screen behind him had to screen my face on it making the situation even more awkward than it really was. People laughed at his joke and I tried to maintain my composed behavior when thousands of eyes were on me, thanks to the big screen.
“At the end, I would promise that I would certainly try my best and work even harder for the betterment. Thank you” he said and people clapped and cheered for him when he descended down the staircase and walked back to his seat next to me. He even made me hold his award for the rest of the night until the end until the after party where the chauffeur came and took the award from me to keep it in the car.
I walked around with Zachry and greeted every important people he introduced me to. He introduced them to me and me to them and all I did was smile when someone complicated my looks or when someone complicated our pair. In their eyes, we were just some simple ordinary couple who met, dated, fell in love and married to each other, but only me and Zachary knew the truth.
While Zachary was talking a man I excused myself and walked to the table to sit down. I sat on the chair and asked a waiter to let me have a glass of water. I was tired now. I put my feet under the table and freed them from the terribly pointed heels. As soon as I did that, I felt relaxed and I remember what Elena taught me. She had taught me some foot exercise to instantly provide relaxation to the throbbing feet. I did that while sipping water from my glass and instantly felt a little relieved after doing so.
“Congratulations,” I heard a familiar sound and watched as Cosmina came showing her thousand watt smile and stood before me. Hurriedly, I slipped my heels back on and stood up to greet her. She gave me a side hug and I asked her to sit down.
“Congratulation! Sir won the Businessman of the year for the third time” she chirped and I said a quiet thank you before smiling at her. She looked different today. Unlike the other days when she wore her formal clothes with her hair tied up into a neat ponytail, today she was wearing a navy blue backless gown and she had her hair into loose wavy curls. She looked beautiful. Before I could open my mouth to compliment her looks, she interjected complimenting me.
“You look so beautiful today. I could hardly recognize you. Everyone has got their eyes on you today. They just want to know about you” she said and I looked behind her and surely some people were looking our way. I smiled at her pushed the loose strands of hair behind my ear.
“Well, thanks to you,” I said and watched as she gave me a confused look.
“I mean for appointing the best beautician and the dr-” before I could complete her phone rang stopping me in the middle.
“Oh I’m so sorry” she apologized declining the call.
“It’s okay” I smiled.
“And Nah it’s not about the makeup but it’s you. You look so good in this dress. Undoubtedly Sir made the right choice choosing this dress for you” she looked dreamily at my dress and then at me.
“Zachary chose this dress..” I muttered to myself but it seems as if she heard me she nodded yes and rubbed her palm.
“Yes, he did. He sat hours choosing and searching for the perfect one. Wait! you don’t know?” she asked all of a sudden looking confused.
“Of course I do know!” I said laughing at the end and gulping the rest of the water from the glass. She seemed to buy my lie as she nodded and smiled back.
“Excuse me!” I said and got up from my seat and walked searching for Zachary.
All of a sudden, it was like I found that needle in the haystack. So, that man brought the dress for me and he even sat hours searching it for me. So why did he lie to me? It was not as if I would have been angry or toss the dress if he did choose it for me. In fact, it would have been the reverse case.
I searched for him and finally found him. I smiled when I saw him still talking to the man when I excused myself beforehand. As I walked towards him in excitement, my excitement soon died and my steps halted when I saw a woman wearing a dress which revealed more than one would ever imagine, walking up to him and tangling her arms with his. He didn’t even seem to mind it when she leaned down and kissed his cheek.
“Hey isn’t that Loana?” I heard a woman from beside me. They didn’t seem to notice me standing next to them.
“You mean Loana Ularu?"
“Yes, isn’t she Loana Ularu? Mr. Zachary’s business previous business partner’s daughter.”
“Yes, she is!”
“What is she doing here? And why is she sticking up to Mr. Sullivan? Isn’t he a married man now?”
“I had have heard that she used to love him.”
“Yes. She was really desperate for him. She would follow him everywhere he went in the past.”
“What about him? Did he love her?”
“No, I don’t thin so! He never really announced his love for her in public. My husband told me that he only tolerated her for the sake of his business and the relation he had with her father.”
“Really? Then why are they clinging to each other now?”
“Moreover, why would he ever announce his relationship status in public. See? he even got married in privacy.”
“These Businessmen I tell you! Very cunning.”
“You can never trust them!”
“Businessmen? You mean to say every man?”
“Yes, that’s right!” another lady said and they laughed.
“So-” she began but stopped when they finally realised I was standing right next to them. Another lady hushed her and they walked away glancing my way. Meanwhile, I stood there looking and processing what I saw and heard.
What is this new drama in my story?
I looked at the woman who had her hand on Zachary’s back and I noticed as she moved her hand slowly on his back as if trying to seduce him. And he was letting her do that...
I shook my head nad walked towards the small counter where they served drinks. It had been so long when I had a drink.
But what is this feeling that I feeling? Why did my heart hurt seeing him with another woman? It’s his life after all. He can do nd be with whoever he wishes. Who am I to think anything about it?
“So? What are you thinking? Enjoy yourself” my brain told me and I obliged.
Every time I heard people behind me talking about the lady and Zachary, I would end up drinking a shot from what the bartender served me. Shots by shots, shots by shots it increased where I reached the point where I even lost the count on how much I had gulped down. My throat had the burning sensation and even my chest burned because of the drink or was the burning sensation for something else?
I reached a point where I saw the bartender swaying in his place. Before I could ask him to stop swaying in his place, because I was seeing two faces of him and I felt little dizzy for his action, I felt a hand on my forearm stopping me from having another shot.
Angry for being interrupted from drinking the shot, I turned my head only to find none but Zachary himself.
“What are you doing?” he whispered.
“Oh, you? Come! Sit!” I patted on the seat next to me.
“Serve us drinks!” I told the bartender who nodded.
“No!” Zachary butted in and leaned close to me and sniffed my breath.
“Gosh! Idiot! You are drunk?” he asked and I rolled my eyes at him when he said, Idiot.
“Spoilsport!” I muttered and raised the shot in my hand to drink it but again abruptly stopped by the man next to me.
“Enough! You had enough! Get up now!” he said as he snatched it away from me but like a bolt of electricity, I used my other hand and snatched it back from him and in no time gulped it down my throat before he could stop me.
“Juliette!” he scolded and pulled my arms making me stand up on my feet.
“Aye!” I poked his head.
“Let’s dance!” I swayed on my place and he held me by my waist protecting me from collapsing on the ground. My vision was blurry and the world rotated before my eyes.
“What do you say hu?” I asked poking his cheek but confused when I couldn’t feel his skin on my finger when I poked on his head.
“What the -” I was beyond confused.
“I am here!” he took another hand and kept my hand on his shoulder and turned my head towards his direction by my chin.
“Oh! Two Two Zachary’s?” I giggled.
“I can barely tolerate one. Where did you come from? Han?” I asked poking the invisible one.
“God!” I felt his breath on my face.
“Whatever! let’s dance c’mon!” I tugged his arm and leaned on him holding his suit.
“I can’t dance,” he said and he began to walk with me clinging onto him like a monkey.
But he is the monkey. Isn’t he?
“I didn’t ask you! I told you! I said I want to dance and that means we will d-” I hiccupped and then completed it “dance! Do you understand?”
“I don’t know how to dance” he sighed and I stopped in my tracks which made him stop too for he was holding me.
“Don’t know how to dance?” I laughed “So I take it the first ever thing that you told me that you can’t do hu?”
“Yes! Now lets head back home!” he said and pushed me gently and dragged my wobbly steps towards somewhere.
“Listen!” I made him stop again.
“Now what?” he asked sounding kind of irritated.
“I tell you what!”
“I don’t know how to dance either,” I said and I was confused whether I saw it or not but from my blurry vision, I saw the two-headed man’s mouth twitched up and he smiled with amusement clear in his eyes.