Ambrose's Muse

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BELL SUMMERS

There were not a lot of things Bell cherished in her life. But those that she did were very close to her, she couldn’t live without them. Her dance was one of them, her family, the second and her principles the third. She had already been compromising on the third one by selling herself.

“Sweetheart, I got you from a Madame,”

That statement diminished her self- worth more than the act itself. Ambrose would never let her forget that. He probably didn’t even realise his mistake. But Bell was not going to go to him. Ambrose might be everything she needed, but shewouldn’t go to him, ever.

At least Alex never made such derogatory statements.

Bell pushed the plate away from her and picked up her phone. Bell dialled her Mother’s number and brought the phone to her ear.

“Hey, Mom,” Bell whispered.

“Oh, Bell! I am so happy that you called!” Her mother exclaimed.

“You sound very chirpy,” Bell stated.

“Oh, Winnie’s treatment is going so well, and that’s not it, your father has been offered an amazing position. I am so happy, Bell. It is as if things are finally turning around, I am so happy!”

“Mom, that is great news! I am delighted! I will be visiting all of you in a couple of weeks!”

“And we are looking forward to seeing you! Winnie will be so happy to see her big and successful sister,”

“Mom, I am hardly successful,”

“You are a ballerina in one of the biggest institutions of arts. Of course, you are successful!”

“Well, yes... I guess I am,” Bell whispered.

“Don’t undermine yourself, ever!” Bell smiled.

“I have been so busy taking care of Winnie that my other daughter is suffering,” her mother sniffeddelicately.

“Mom, please, I am fine. You take care of Winnie. She needs you more than me,” Bell whispered.

“And Winnie has me all the time. But I want you to promise me when you come here, we will shop and party. And we are going to spend your father’s money and buy all sorts of ridiculous and expensive things,”

“The job pays well, I take it,”

“Double of the last one. And they have also paid him a good advance, seeing his credentials and previous projects.”

“How did he land this job?”

“A student of your father, at the community college, is actually the son of the owner. He put the word in,”

“Wow, I am really grateful for this student,” Bell whispered in awe, “it is difficult to find good people these days.”

“It is the mindset, the person who is sponsoring Winnie’s treatment is good too. He is nothing short of an angel for us,”

Bell sighed and turned towards the window. Her eyes went to Ambrose, he was discussing something with an associate. Bell’s heart fluttered, and she bit her lip.

“Mom, if you love someone, then should you be with him even if you

have to lose out on your ideals or principals?” Bell asked.

“Are you in love, Bell?”
“No, just asking for a friend,”

“Well, I had to compromise on a few things when I met your father. Like, I had to understand and adjust to his long working hours. But that is different. With ideals and principals, is this person trying to force his

agenda on you? If not, then you should be with him. If he is forcing you to change and let go of your beliefs, then I suggest you take a step back. Is this person doing any of these?”

“No, this person lets my friend be what she wants to be. And he makes her very happy, but my friend says that he is not the ideal man, the one she had fantasised about?”

“There is a difference between an ideal man and a perfect man. Most of us have a similar definition for an ideal man, but the definition gets subjective when we are talking about what is actually perfect for us. You will never truly be happy with the ideal definition, you will either try to fake your happiness and lie to yourself and live a miserable life, or you will come to realise your mistake and leave him. But a perfect man for

all his flaws will always keep you happy.”

Bell stared at Ambrose, standing in the backyard, talking to his associate.

Ambrose turned around, and their eyes met. It was as if the time stopped.

Something clicked.“Mom, I will talk to you later,”

Bell rushed out of her room and towards her backyard. The associates gave her odd looks, perhaps questioning why she was all of a sudden running like a madwoman. By the time she was in the backyard, she was huffing and puffing. Out of breath, she raised her head and looked at Ambrose.

Ambrose had resumed talking to his associate. Bell bit her lip as she felt

overcome by shyness. A blush covered her cheeks, and she took a hesitant step towards him. The associate must have noticed her because he cleared his throat and left the scene. Ambrose turned to her. This time he had questions swimming in his eyes.

“Is everything alright, Bell?” Ambrose asked.

Bell looked down, her cheeks flaming. She shook her head and stepped away.

“I know you want something, please tell me Bell,”

“N-Nothing, I am sorry, I didn’t mean to d-disturb you,”

Why was she stuttering all of a sudden? Why was she all shy and flushed? Bell seriously thought those

days were a thing of past. She had grown comfortable around him.

“You can never disturb me,” Ambrose said.

Bell’s heart sighed.

“Now tell me, why does your face look like a tomato?”

Bell looked around, a couple associates tried to listen in to their

conversation. Ambrose seemed to notice that, and he took her hand in his and walked towards a cute little gazebo. He sat her down on a sofa and took a seat beside her.

“Now, what is it?”

Bell bit her lip and hesitantly looked at him.

“I was talking to my mom,” Bell whispered.

“Is everything alright? Do you need more money?”

“No, thank you. Everything is going very well. Winnie is responding to the treatment, and my father got an excellent job. Everything is going very well for my family,”

“That is good, I am happy to hear that, Bell,”

“But... I was talking to my Mom, and she explained something to me, which I found very enlightening.” Bell giggled nervously, and Ambrose took her hand in his, soothing her. “And just thought I should share it with you.”

Ambrose looked at her expectantly.

“So, I was with Alex because I thought he was the ideal man, and for the longest time, I thought he was

making me happy.” Ambrose looked a little confused, but Bell continued. “But when I was with you, I was pleased. In every sense of the word.Even if I didn’t realise it. There was always this sense of anticipation in my stomach and a sense of excitement. I always looked forward to being with you.”

“What are you getting at Bell?”

“I am saying that you made me very happy. And even though I was guilty of cheating on smoo... I mean, Alex, I feel all the more guilty by not being with you. I will like I am cheating myself and really fooling my mind by not being with you.”

“Bell, sweet girl, you are truly confusing me.”

“I want to be with you,” Bell admitted, “will you be with me, please?”
Ambrose’s eyes widened.

“Is that even a question?” Ambrose whispered, “of course, I want to be with you. Bell, you make me the happiest person on the planet!”

Bell giggled. She felt happiness flood her mind, body and soul. She truly felt aligned with the tremendous

cosmic. For the first time, she felt as if she had done something right. Her heart hiccupped at the pure and unadulterated love flooding her veins. Bell was so grateful.

“Ambrose, I am so sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you by saying those things. I know you have wanted to be with since so long and I am so sorry for not paying attention and letting my selfish reasons get the best of me. Ambrose, I love you,”

“Bell, I love you too. I was dying. I have never wanted anything more than you.”

Bell smiled and shifted closer to him. “But I am little upset,” Bell admitted. “Upset about what?”
“I am upset with you,”

“What did I do now?”

“You always like to bring it up, you got me from a Madame. I don’t like that, Ambrose. I went to her because I was desperate. I didn’t have any other option. And you always make me feel like a lesser person by bringing that up,”

“I am sorry....”

“I know you are,” Bell stopped him, “but I just want to say that if I am a lesser woman, then you are a lesser man because you are incapable of finding a woman through conventional ways.”

“You are absolutely right, I am absolutely sorry,”

“And you are not empathetic either. Maybe that’s why Alex isn’t talking to you,”

“I am empathetic,”

“No, you don’t understand what the other person is going through. You never like to look at life through his perspective. Alex wasn’t meant to be a Capo but all of a sudden, he found a ton of responsibilities on his shoulders and no one to share his fears and secrets with. I think he is angry with you. Ambrose, you were his confidant.”

Ambrose didn’t say anything. He stared ahead; his lips were in a straight line. Bell placed her hand on his cheek.

“You are right. But I expect the same from him. Does he not know me? How did Alex even think that I am capable of betraying my family? Did he never feel like reaching out to me? I am supposed to understand his situation but did he ever understand

mine? Alex acts like a Capo, but he is still an immature little twit,” Ambrose snapped, “the boy refuses to tell me what happened at the warehouse only because he is upset with me! Who does that?”

“Calm down,” Bell whispered.

“Enough about him,” Ambrose whispered, “I finally have you.”

Bell smiled and kissed him on his lips. He looked so happy; she was sure that her expressions mirrored his. They walked back inside, Roofus joined them too.

They entered the living area, and a big smile broke out on Victor’s face. Malcolm too looked happy although he didn’t have a smile on his face. Bell stared at Alex. She wanted to know his thoughts. Even though Alex

lied to her about his true identity, they still shared two years.

Alex stepped forward.

“I am glad you chose to be with my brother,” Alex whispered, “I think it is safe to say that he will always love you more than I ever did.”

“Thank you, and I hope you find happiness as well,” Bell whispered.

Alex nodded.

There was an awkward silence amongst them all and Bell wanted to break it.

“Okay, I think this is enough,” Victor declared, “Alex, you need to patch up with your brother. Talk everything out. Even Bell is with him now, and she was a tough nut to crack.”

“I have patched up with my brother,” Alex mumbled.

“Have you? See, I don’t know what you saw in the warehouse that day, but whatever it was, it scared you, and I think it is time for us to keep forth a united front. We need to be together to fight this calamity headed our way. For that, we need to let go of our past and move on, Victor explained.

Bell gave Alex an encouraging smile.

Alex stared at Ambrose and then at Victor. Bell knew he was mulling.

“Okay,” Alex finally whispered.

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