The Court of Love

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Chapter 5

Arabella opened her mouth to order another margarita, but closed it when she heard a voice from behind calling her name. She turned around in her seat and her eyes widened.

"What are you doing here still? I thought you went home."

"I'm taking you home," Costano stated as he pulled out a twenty dollar bill from his wallet and placed it on the bar stand. "Thanks for the drinks. Keep the change."

Costano turned to Arabella, "can you walk?" She nodded and stood up.

Costano knew that although she was able to walk, she walked slowly as if she didn't want to trip and fall. "How many drinks did you have?" He asked her.

"Four... I think."

"You shouldn't have been drinking if you didn't know how you'd get home Arabella."

"I know I ju-" she stopped herself when she felt Costano's hand wrap around her waist and pull her closer.

"So that you don't fall when you walk," he assured her. "I could've carried you out of here but then that would cause a scene and I didn't think you'd want that."

She mumbled a thank you as they made their way to the exit.

During the whole walk towards his car, Costano held her by the waist and made sure she didn't trip on anything.

"I thought you said that if you wanted to drink to go to a club," he raised an eyebrow.

"They know me. Besides, I pay the bartender extra to keep quiet."

Costano chuckled, "of course you would. But you need to be careful. How else would you get home if I wasn't there to take you?"

"I would've called a taxi or something."

"Call me instead. I wouldn't want anything happening to you. I'd feel terrible knowing I could've done something to help."

When she looked at him, he was staring ahead. His expression showed he was bothered by something. She thought he was mad at her. She had dragged him here for dinner when he wanted to go home. She made him stay for a few drinks and now he was taking her home.

I'm sorry Cosmo. She thought to herself, not trusting her words.

He held the passenger door open for her as she slipped into his car. Once inside, he closed the door and got into the driver's seat. The ride was silent, Costano had his full attention on the road as he drove away from the building.

Arabella's eyes began to feel heavy and within seconds everything turned dark.

"Where do you live Arabella? You feeling alright?" Costano asked but received no answer. He turned to look at Arabella and noticed that she had fallen asleep.

"Arabella... wake up."

She didn't.

Costano debated whether to wake her up or take her home with him. Zoilo didn't seem to care and Veronica just wanted Arabella to be safe. Costano though she'd be safer if he was with her, so he took her to his home.

Thirty minutes later, they had arrived at his house. He parked his car in the garage and went to open the door for Arabella.

He whispered, "Arabella we're here. Can you walk?" Arabella slightly stirred in her sleep.

Costano sighed, "I guess some things never change."

He grinned as he remembered all the times he and Arabella went to parties at the university. Just as she dragged him to the party he dragged Arabella out of parties before things got messy.

Costano carried her bridal style into a guest bedroom and laid her on the bed. He tucked her under the sheets.

Costano sat on the edge of the bed watching her peaceful state. When he thought about her case it reminded him of what had happened with Pia.

It had been almost two years since his divorce and he still thought of her.

He recalled the memory of one of her birthdays'. He was watching her from afar.

"What's this...?" Pia asked as she looked at the items on the dinning table. She picked up the card and opened it.

She read through its contents and smiled.

She hummed as she touched a sunflower from the bouquet. Pia loved sunflowers. They reminded her of the sun and of hope. Although she never told Costano what had actually happened, but before she came to America, there was a time that she felt weak and unhappy.

She hated talking about it and would end up locking herself in their bedroom for hours before she would come back out as if they hadn't talked about it.

However, she once told him that whenever she was given a sunflower or saw one that it made her day better.

"Wonder what this could be." Pia picked up the velvet box and opened it.

Her eyes filled with tears when she saw the necklace. It was made of gold with a golden sunflower charm and an initial 'P' charm.

Costano took this opportunity to walk up behind her and wrap his arms around her waist.

He leaned down and whispered in her ear, "happy birthday, my love." He placed a kiss on the top of her head and another on the back of her neck. She had her jet black hair tied into a messy bun and wore navy blue cotton shorts and a white tank top.

She turned her head and stared up at him, "thank you. I love it." She smiled sincerely as she wiped her tears away, "I honestly didn't expect anything like this, Costano. You've left me speechless and in a good way." She kissed his cheek before looking back down at the necklace.

"I was hoping you would," he smiled. He watched as she took the necklace off the box. "I know you love sunflowers and that they made you happy every time you saw them. So, I thought you should have one with you to always keep you happy and hopefully help you go through anything that comes your way."

He grabbed the necklace and placed it around her neck. He made sure it was properly clipped into place. He continued, "you're strong with or without the necklace and sunflowers. I'll do my best to be there for you but I know I can't stop everything from hurting you. Sometimes I'll only be able to be there after it has happened to try to make the pain go away. So in a way I wanted you to know that I'm with you when I'm not around, if that makes sense."

Pia turned to face him. Her cheeks was damped with tears but her smile reached under her eyes. "It makes perfect sense," she let out a small laugh. "I hope I make you just as happy as you make me."

"You do," he smiled down at her.

Pia used her hand to rub her cheeks and said, "lean down so I can give you a kiss." She giggled, "you're too tall."

"And you're too cute," he planted his lips on hers.

What was supposed to be a kiss turned into something more. Although they could taste the saltiness from Pia's tears it didn't make them pull away.

The kiss became fiery and passionate. Costano's hands worked their way around her body, along her curves, feeling each crevasse, and each line along her perfect physique. While Pia continued to hold Costano against her, not wanting to let him go.

Afraid, in a way, that this was just a dream. That he was a dream and that soon it would turn into a nightmare.

Sadly, her fears would come true.

And although she loved Costano. She would later have to do the one thing she never wanted to do. She would have to let him go.

She would let him go because she loved him.

Costano pulled away and stared deep into her brown eyes, "I love you Pia."

"And I love you, so much."

I miss you Pia. Costano thought as he shut the door of the guest bedroom that Arabella was sleeping in.

Meanwhile, Zoilo laid in bed while on his phone. He hadn't heard anything from Arabella since she left with that man. Zoilo had called her and sent her various text messages asking if she was home and if she was alright.

Suddenly, a knock made him put his phone down and make his way towards the door.

"You brought the papers?" he asked.

Veronica reached into her purse and pulled out a file. Zoilo grabbed it from her and scanned through the papers. He moved out of the way and allowed her inside. He closed the door behind her.

She walked ahead of him as they made their way into the hotel room.

"How much did it cost you?" Veronica asked, referring to the room. She turned to face him.

He was still wearing his suit except his jacket that was hanging from one of the chairs in the room. His tie hung loosely around his neck.

Veronica bit her lower lip.

"Doesn't matter," he placed the file on the table. He then proceeded to removing his tie from around his neck and placing it on top of the file.

He grabbed his phone and checked his messages.

Arabella had not responded.

He texted her another message saying to call him.

"Who are you texting?" Veronica asked.

Zoilo continued to stared at his phone. He clenched his jaw and tightened his hold on his phone. "You know who," he answered.

"Is she not responding?"

"No, she isn't."

Veronica laughed, "maybe she's mad at you. I mean, you should be more nice to her."

"There's no use. We are getting divorced soon."

She took a step closer and said, "well at least you have me." She smiled.

• • •

Arabella woke up the next morning with a hangover. The pressure was slowly mounting. She slowly sat up and looked around.

Oh no!

She realized that she had fallen asleep. She rubbed her temples to lessen the pain but it didn't work. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a brown figure and immediately jumped out of the bed.

It was just a dog.

Arabella began to laugh, "you gave me quite a scare just now." As she sat back down, the small pup jumped onto the bed and sat next to her.

"You're so cute," she pet its fur slowly and lightly. The pup was an Australian Shepherd with brown and white fur, and brown eyes.

"What's your name?" Arabella looked at the name tag.

Brownie.

"It suits you," she smiled. "I'm sure you didn't mean to scare me." The pup laid its head on her lap as she continued to pet its fur.

She looked at the nightstand beside the bed and saw a bottle of water, vitamins, and a plate of crackers on it. Arabella read the note that was under the plate.

Morning Arabella,

I left some things to cure your hangover. You had fallen asleep so I took you here. I didn't want to wake you up. Come to the kitchen downstairs when you're done.

Costano


Arabella placed the note down and took the vitamins. As she ate the crackers, she checked her phone. She had twelve missed calls and nine unread messages.

Two of the calls were from her manager and so were three of the messages. Arabella sent her a message telling her she was fine and she was at a friend's house. Her manager texted back saying she was on her way and that she was glad she was okay.

The other six messages and ten calls belonged to him. Arabella read his messages.

Are you home?

Are you okay?

I called your manager to check up on you but you didn't answer. Let me know if you're okay.


The rest consisted of the same, asking if she was okay, if she was home, and to call back. She responded back saying she was fine and placed her phone in her pocket.

Arabella stood and entered into the bathroom connected with the bedroom. She looked at herself in the mirror and noticed her mascara had smudged under her eyes.

She sighed. I look like a mess and Costano most likely saw.

At least my lipstick didn't move out of place. She let out a small laugh.

She went back into the bedroom and found her bag on top of the dresser. She reached into her bag and pulled out her makeup wipes.

She went back into the bathroom to remove her makeup and reapplied her mascara and concealer under her eyes. Instead of lipstick, she applied vaseline to her lips, seeing as they were dry after removing her lipstick. She applied a minimal amount of blush. All items which were in her bag.

She always carried her makeup products and other essentials with her just in case.

She headed towards the kitchen with Brownie at her side. When they arrived, Costano was making breakfast.

He wore a white tank top, black joggers, and his glasses. She looked at his arms and back. His body looked strong and his muscles were defined. Not that Arabella saw him any different than how he was back then. He was still handsome to her.

He had changed quite a bit since she last saw him and wondered why.

Costano turned around and smiled at her, "hey how are you?"

"Good and thanks for the vitamins and food. I'm sorry I didn't wake up either," Arabella sat on a nearby stool.

Costano shook his head slightly. "It's fine, really. I'm just glad you're okay."

They ate breakfast together and then watched television in the living room. Arabella asked if her manager could pick her up here. Costano agreed and gave her his address.

Once Arabella sent her manager the address, she looked over at his bookcase. She saw he only had three pictures on it. She stood up and grabbed the one in the middle. It was a picture of Costano and Pia on their wedding day. She had only met her once when she ran into them at the supermarket.

"Why does she look like that?" Arabella asked. There was something about Pia's expression that Arabella couldn't seem to figure out.

Costano grabbed the frame and stared at it, "what do you mean? She looks happy."

"Not as happy as you. You seem like the happiest man in the world."

He sighed and placed the frame back on the bookcase, facing down. She stared at his left hand, he wasn't wearing his wedding ring.

So it was true. But why would she leave him? How could she leave him?
Arabella thought to herself.

She looked back at the other two pictures. The one on the left was him and Brownie. The one on the right was them, when we graduated from college.

It was a selfie that Arabella had taken on her phone. She remembered wrapping her arm around his shoulders and bringing him closer to her. Their cheeks merely centimeters apart while the sides of their bodies touched. Both their smiles reached under their eyes. They wore their caps and gowns. The sign of their university was displayed on the back.

She smiled.

"I can't believe you kept this." She reached for the frame, but Costano grabbed it before she could.

"Oh this, well it was graduation day of course I'd keep it." Before she could say anything, her phone rang. When she checked, she saw it was her manager telling me she was outside his house.

"Looks like my ride is here," Arabella said as she placed her phone in her bag. "Thank you so much Cosmo, really."

"Anytime Arabella," he said as they made their way to the door. "Text me when you get home so I know you're okay," he said as he opened the door. Arabella nodded.

They said her goodbyes and she left.

Earlier that day, Zoilo had finished tying his tie when he received a message. He looked at his phone.

It was Arabella.

He sighed in relief knowing she was okay. His heart began to feel heavy. I know I’ve been harsh, but it’s for the best.

I guess I could be a bit nicer to her. He called her number, but it went straight to voicemail. I’ll just see her later.

Zoilo grabbed his keys and headed out the door.
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