The first time
If there is a human who doesn't know who I am I'd be pleasantly surprised. My face was plastered all over every form of media a couple of years back after my family were killed in a kayaking accident. The press hounds followed me and photographed me and harassed me until finally, I ran away, in the hope that things would cool off.
There were a couple of very interesting stories made up about my exit from Europe's social scene. My parents were pretty high profile and my brothers weren't far behind. I had enjoyed a life of relative anonymity among them. I simply followed my passion to become an artist.
Nothing more was expected of me, then a flash flood killed my family and in an instant, I became the most well-known orphan princess in the world. I drowned daily for two long dark years. The only 'good' thing to come out of that pain was the fact that I sold my first pieces of art.
I spent those two years divided between grandparents; my mother's set in Barcelona and my father's in Venice, trying to avoid the gossip trolls.
I mourned and raged and created so much art, it was the best outlet of grief and therapy I could imagine.
It was also all I could handle at times. I couldn't get out of bed on their birthdays, and mine was worse. I hadn't lost a friend or a lover. I had lost my mom and my dad, at once. Then, as if that wasn't bad enough both of my brothers too. Those were my exceptionally bad days, on those days nothing was created only tears and bad memories.
I'm at a point now where I don't physically ache from loss and that's a relief because I'm back in Mont Boron for the 2nd anniversary of their death and this year there's no Jason to hold my hand. I'll need all the backbone I can muster.
I made it as far as the church entrance this time but I couldn't face all those people who I didn't know with their crocodile tears and condolences. I bypassed the service and went straight to the Manasterede Cimiez.
I set the wrought iron crosses I'd made for each of their graves and spoke to them through my tears. I allowed myself this moment of weakness. I missed all of them so much, Cruz especially. After a little while I felt some-one staring and when I looked up there stood the most beautiful man I've ever seen. His eyes were glued to the crosses, he didn't realise I'd spoken until I cleared my throat.
I arrived back in Nice that morning and went directly to the cemetery. There are more Raffertys there than anywhere else on the Riviera. I would much rather have stayed in Morocco, even if it meant gruelling hours of negotiations. That was still better than the constant flashing cameras and stupid questions here in Mont Boron.
I come from European royalty or so the media would have you believe. My late mother is Lilia Noir, French fashion model and retail millionairess. My late father is Nino Rafferty, an Italian textile mogul and philanthropist. They were both killed when a very depressed Jose Manuel opened fire at a fashion show in Rome before killing himself.
I inherited a textiles empire as well as all of my mother's various retail shares but I had absolutely no idea what to do with any of it. Luckily my father's lawyer, Bill Montgomery, stepped up and steered me in a direction that I think my parents would be proud of.
My sister is healthy, happy and in love so I think she turned out okay, all things considered. Now all I had to do was stop working 16 hour days and having 16-hour relationships, at least that's what my grandfather is continuously telling me.
I watched the girl unwrap and place each of the beautifully crafted crosses. They looked as though they were made from copper or brass and each was slightly different. I wanted to know what it meant, why she'd chosen each one? She whispered while she worked and I was mesmerised by her movements.
She flowed like water or a ballerina and it took me a few seconds to realise that she stood up and was clearing her throat to get my attention. I focused in on her face and was blown away, she was gorgeous! When my sister was little she had Bratz dolls, well that's what this girl looked like, an exotic doll.
"Are you okay?" I asked the GQ model standing in front of me. He was so engrossed in the crosses, which was kind of flattering, that he didn't register me. I cleared my throat and he spoke up "Oh God, I'm sorry! I was staring, those crosses are incredible." "Oh um thank you. Do um do you have some-one here to visit?" "Yeah, a few, grandparents 3 out of 4 and both of my parents." His eyes darted back to the crosses.
"Yeah um that's my parents and my two brothers." I wanted to say that all differently the instant it played out. I was nervous and being dumb because the guy was pretty, like really pretty. I usually avoid this type of male because I know the type but he had cheekbones I'd kill for and eyes that were the clearest blue I have ever seen.
"Quinn." He stuck his hand out and I rubbed the dirt off on my jeans before shaking it, "Dominica." I wished we were anywhere else but in the cemetery. He looked around and shot me a tight smile. "Hey, you wanna get out of here?"
I agreed and so we began.
'Hey, Mad Donna, you guys still having fun, how's Paulo? Do you possibly know a Dominica Gold? The name is familiar but I don't know why or from where. I met her at the cemetery today. I know, I know but Don she's like no one I've ever met before and you should see her she's stunning. Please be your stalker self little sister, I MUST know more. Let me know and also what are you guys doing next week? I'm going to be in and out, I need to go to Anfa. I love you x '
Text message transcript
From: Quinn Rafferty, Promenade des Anglaise
To: Donna Rafferty, Madrid
'Aww!!! Does my big brother have a crush? Lol! I shall look into her more. I do remember her mom was like a dutchess or something, I'm researching as I text. Paulo is great and the holiday has been incredible, I like Madrid and we may stay on. We've been speaking about moving out here, what do you think, eek? I'll text you as soon as I know more about DG, love you Q x
Text message transcript
From: Donna Rafferty
To: Quinn Rafferty
Turned out she was 23, single and unlike any other woman I've ever met before. She completely understood my love/hate of the media because she has the same experience with them. She needs them, as I do, for work and events but hates them trawling through her private life. She knows how to handle them much better than I ever have though.
Even so, after our initial meeting, we often stayed away from doing 'normal' things to avoid the flashing cameras. When the paps found out we were seeing one another it was a match made in social page heaven and they went into overdrive.
I am often compared to my late mother; Lilia Noir was possibly the most famous model and face France had back in the '80s and '90s. I inherited her bone structure and blue eyes but all I use them for is attracting pretty little airheads that I could discard at will. I wasn't into wearing fashion, even though I'd done a few shoots. I preferred to take after my father and stay behind the scenes.
I was 28 and working myself to death when I met Nica. I've never seen anything like her. Not in magazines or on catwalks and I've been to and seen them all. I told myself to tread lightly because she was so young, hell my baby sister was 3 years older than her but it was no use.
The minute we started speaking I was smitten. I took her to a little coffee shop and tried to make her tell me everything; I was trying to figure out what was wrong with her. She was too perfect. We never discussed our families or society, only us.
It was thrilling not to know anything socially about her, only her as a person. She told me about her Art sabbatical and I told her about my love for Casablanca then I invited her to Morocco. It just happened when I mentioned that I'd be going, she sighed and said she'd love to see Casablanca so I invited her.