Time to Live
The next week goes by in a blur of gowns and meetings. Queen Corrina is every bit of a socialite as she is a queen. Yet her friendly natural nature has me so relaxed. I feel like I can be me. The kiss with Alessandro has played on my mind so many nights it's like a plague or a fever that won't reach its peak before lessening. Yet Matteo has continued to plague the thoughts that are not of Alessandro.
I cannot believe what I have agreed to tonight. I can't then believe Finn is allowing it but he has checked every last bit of security to make sure I will be safe and of course him and all five of my other guards will be with me this evening.
"Are you looking forward to seeing the nightlife?" Lucy asks whilst putting away some of my gowns that have been laundered.
"I don't know if looking forward to would be the correct word." I spin round on my stool at the dressing table looking too Lucy. "What is it like? A nightclub I mean?"
"O they can be so crowded and the floors are so sticky. Some of the toilets are disgusting. People having sex or being sick but I suppose the exclusive one you'll be going to wont have any of those things. So you can expect loud music and strobe lights." She smiles.
I am perfectly legal in both Spain and here to be going out and drinking but it is different. I have never been seen in a nightclub. My whole reputation and for my country I have made sure they can have faith in me. They can expect nothing but the best and appropriate behaviour. My stomach has been upset the entire day with nerves. I had no idea what I should wear so had to ask Lucy to pick me out something suitable. Now I sit wearing it. It feels very different to anything I may have chosen.
"You'll enjoy yourself Princess. You deserve to have fun whilst you can." She gives me an encouraging smile obviously noticing the sag in my shoulders that is unusual for me.
"Of course. Thank you Lucy. I hope you'll be enjoying yourself this evening." I give her a little wink. She has had a large smile these past days. Her eyes hold a light that wasn't there before and I imagine an italian gentleman may have something to do with that. She bows and leaves the room. Leaving me alone with only my nerves and overworked brain.
I stand up and walk to the floor to ceiling mirror taking another long look at myself. Black skinny trousers cropped just above my ankles and fitting to every inch of my slender long legs. Tight around the roundness of my ass. The black silk blouse tucked in with a black Gucci belt. The long sleeves flow open and wide around my palm with a wing affect. The black liner makes my wide eyes look larger and my lashes enhanced with a thick amount of mascara. The red lipstick on my large lips makes my teeth look milk white. An unnatural blush to my high cheek giving me a tight cheek look. My hair falling free swept largely to one side as I continuously throw it over to that angle. The curls bouncing around my shoulders, face and down my back. Tickling the hollow between my blouse, the large v opening enough to give a small glimpse to the side of my breasts that are not covered with bra.
Knock. I turn and watch the door open and Finn stands in the open doorway taking in my appearance. For a moment he just looks at me and I feel like any second is the one he tells me to change. Even down to the two straps holding the four inch black heels to my feet. The red toenail polish glittering on my toes that pop out from beneath the strap. I really need some reassurance right now. I need someone to tell me that being selfish tonight is ok. It won't ruin my country or the reputation they have of me for me enjoying myself. So much responsibility I usually feel ready for. Yet so often find myself trying to be anyone but the future queen. Tonight I want to be just Bella and I want her to be enough. Yet the images of me on a newspaper in the morning are already haunting my every thought.
"Princess Isabella you are barely recognisable to the young princess I first met." He finally says with a small smile but for Finn that is his smile.
"Yes the one you drew a smiley face on your bald head for." Still smiling at that memory.
He places his hand over his middle and bows. "The very same. Now originally the plan was for you to ride with the princes but I think we should change that."
"What? Why?" I pick at my finger with another my hands together in front of me. Finn speaks to another guard giving instructions before closing the door and taking my manicured fingers in his.
"Because I think it would be wise to keep them waiting that bit longer even if only a minute and the pictures will be priceless."
My brows furrowed in confusion. "I don't understand."
"No you don't but believe me when the paparazzi capture the moment the princes and others see you looking like a woman rather than a princess. That is all that will be over every paper and magazine in the morning. It will have nothing to do with you being in a nightclub which I know worries you." Finn says so sure and I trust him so I nod.
He leads me out to the waiting limo. One guard in the front with the driver and including Finn five inside with me. My phone pings in my pocket and I pull it out.
The anticipation is killing me. I barely stopped myself from climbing the trellis and taking a peak at your outfit.
Matteo? He is the one that instinctively comes into my mind. Did he know I needed a distraction on my journey to the club? The guards speaking between themselves about the layout of the VIP area we will be in.
How did you get my number Matteo?
I'm glad you knew it was me without question. What are you wearing? M x
An x do I send one back to him? Why would I reveal my outfit when the whole point of me arriving separately is as Finn said hopefully the papers report on their reaction rather than me being her.
The normal bin bag. Hope you'll appreciate the effort it took cutting the holes for my arms and legs. B x
The bubbles that he is responding come nearly immediately. It makes me wonder if he is smiling as I am. Is he moving his straight hair over to one side so it doesn't fall over his forehead as he responds? Is he remembering how close we came to kissing when he leaned so close holding the trellis that evening.
You'd make anything look like it was fashion. Tell me you are not far. We are just pulling up and it's busy. M x
"Finn how much further?" I ask looking up from my phone. He checks his watch and then looks at me.
"Four minutes princess."
I nod and ignore the knowing look on his half grinning face before he returns to conversation with the others.
Four minutes or less. See you then. B x
I put my phone in the pocket of my trousers and then wipe my now clammy palms against my trousers looking out the window. Hoping the bright lights that pass by can distract me from my nerves. Why would I be nervous? Why should I be? Yet I am. The limousine begins to slow and finally pulls up to the curb. I sit at the furthest end as the other guards climb out followed by Finn. It's just over a minute before his hand reaches inside. Signalling me to move down and take it to climb out. The flashes of cameras are dulled against the blacked out windows but it's constant. Like being on a red carpet. My heart pounding in my head I throw my hair over to one side of my head and finally move down taking his hand.
He helps me out and I see the princes with another handsome man I've met on a few evenings. Their cousin Franco. His hair is more of a dark blonde and wavy. Originally I had thought he had a surfer look about him with its length and his warm pale brown eyes and tanned complexion. All three look at me. Three guards standing either side of me blocking the swarm of people trying to get close, Finn close to my side. The nightclub had known I was coming with the princes and I can safely say they leaked that information with the amount of people and paparazzi here.
"You've got this Bella. You enjoy a night for yourself." Finn leans down speaking to me over the ear deafening noise of people shouting and cameras clicking. Even car horns beeping repeatedly in celebration. I give him a warm smile and take a steadying breath.
Tonight is for me.
I look up and meet the eyes of Matteo first. His crisp black long sleeved shirt fits so snuggly around his broad shoulders and mouth wateringly wide chest. His shirt hangs over his dark denim jeans that fit over his lean muscled legs and he has black loafers on to complete the look. Revealing his tanned ankles and large tanned hands. The top few buttons undone showing specks of soft looking curls of hair on his chest. His brown eyes scan over my body. Slowly. Tentatively.
I look at Alessandro who's curly hair is moving in the warm wind blowing over his forehead. Mine isn't I assume because of the wall of guards surrounding me. He is wearing a burgundy shirt made to fit his still broad but not as much as his brother. His chest perfectly outlined beneath the shirt, tucked into black trousers. Those black trousers fit on his thick thigh muscles like a glove on a nurse. Finishing the look off with black leather shoes.
They all speak. Including Franco but it is no use I cannot hear them and Finn and the guards usher me inside. We aren't taken through the main door rather one to the side of it. I can't even see the princes and the cousin as I am led up some darkly lit stairs. A bouncer opens the door and we move into an open room. Not half as wide as it is long. Seating down one side with glass floor to ceiling allows me a view of the club below. The other side has a long slick bar with a waiter and waitress standing behind. Bottles endless across the shelves behind them. In the corner a DJ and dance floor. The lights are so dim and the music throbs through the air and floor. The guards stay standing to the side of the door as I wave them off. Moving over to the glass I pear down at those below. Some dance. One woman who must be mid twenties in a skin tight red mini dress her back pressed to a smaller man. His hands holding her hips as her ass grinds into him. They move together to the beat of the music. Her head hung back against his shoulder as they smiled at one another. Their features are mostly hidden but the smiles are bright as the light flashes on and off.
"You look breathtaking." I know who it is without turning round. Not that i can as i am in a trance watching the people dancing. Matteo stands closely behind me. His voice whispers in my ears even as he strains it over the music. My body reacts to his presence as it has done ever since the first time. "Bella …"
"I kissed Alessandro." I say turning around and saying rather loudly at a point the music seems to have quietened. My cheeks flare with heat. I hope it is hidden by the fake blush to them. Alessandro and Franco who are stood by the bar turn. Am I imagining the flicker of hurt in Alessandro's eyes before he smiles? Why would he be hurt? "I don't want you to think i am deceiving you in any way. I would never do that …"
Matteo smiles and places his large index finger to my now dry lips, halting my speech that I hadn't planned. "I know Bella." I sigh my lips parting against his finger. His hand moves to cup my jaw and he rears forward to speak into the opposite ear. "We have put you in a difficult position. Do I like that he has tasted your lips? No. Do I wish it had been me? Well of course, but i will and when i do you'll have no guilt to feel. I love my brother as he loves me. The saying all is fair in love and war."
I wait for the rest but instead he leans back smiling down at me. His eyes take their time to move from my eyes to my mouth. His hand to my jaw and cheek so warm against my skin. My body seems to lean towards him. A pull as though two magnets are being pulled closer together. Just as my breasts would make contact with the hardness of his large chest Franco and Alessandro walk over.
"Shall we sit down, my lady?" Franco says with a cheesy grin putting his hand high and bowing. I chuckle as I take his hand and he leads me between the gap of the princes. Both tall, dark and handsome. Both have something more to them, a sweeter side which softens when they are alone. The ruggish charm is appealing but the other sides of them draw me in and hold me hostage in my own head. "Don't worry Bella. Tonight I will take up so much of your time the boys will be moody over it."
I chuckle at Franco and his menacing ways. True to his word he sits me down and takes the seat next to me. I am close to the glass and able to watch as people dance to the music. After my second glass of champagne my feet begin to move to familiar songs, hiding it beneath the table. We all talk, unless I am distracted by the people below.
"Another bottle of champagne please." I hear Alessandro ordering as the waitress comes over checking on us. As she has done every twenty minutes since we arrived.
"Actually what cocktail would you advise?" I ask, smiling at her. She looks shocked and nervous as her eyes go wide and she searches her brain for the right answer. "Honestly. I have never tried a cocktail. If you would just make the top five you'd choose."
"Bella i don't …" Alessandro goes to say but Matteo interrupts him.
"Let her live, Alessandro. With the royal beast over there and us here she is not going to be hurt. Plus she is lucky to still be of an age where a hangover is a mild headache." He says looking at Alessandro before turning to me and giving me a natural smile. I bite my bottom lip forgetting my lipstick. Luckily I went with matt knowing I would do this. I scrub at my teeth with the edge of my tongue. With a nod from Matteo to the waitress and a huff for some shots from Alessandro she scurries off. Tonight is going to be something I remember. Well as long as I don't drink my bodyweight in alcohol.