Champagne, chocolates and picnics
Its six o’clock and Robert still hasn’t let me go. It’s such a busy day, and tomorrow more stress is coming my way. Good thing I had finished packing for the dreaded trip. I was getting hungry so I ordered Chinese and ordered a meal for Robert as well. Moments later the food arrived; I segregated the food and placed it on the tray. I knocked on the door and Robert called to let me in.
“Mr. Sleigh, I’m sorry to disturb you but I bought Chinese and I thought you might want some.” I say holding up the tray
“Angela, you’re still here?” Robert asks in surprise
“Yes, You haven’t dismissed me for the day.” I say
“Christ. Sorry, Yes. Come in.” He says exhausted as he walked towards his sofa area. I placed the boxes on the table and just realized that he might not want Chinese and wanted to die right there and then. I looked at Robert amused at my reaction
“What is it?” He asks
“Well, I just remembered I ordered Chinese.” I say
“And? I love Chinese food.” He says
“Yes, I do eat food right out of the carton too Angela. I do that all the time when I’m too lazy to cook.” He says
“Yes. I do occasionally. Where do you think Riley get his ideas and meals from?” He asks
“Oh. Ok then. Enjoy your food.” I say starting to leave.
“Where are you going? Aren’t you going to join me?”
“My food is there outside.”
“Well then bring it in.” He says.
I brought in my food and started to dig in. As we were eating we started talking and telling more stories of ourselves. I was feeling nostalgic at the moment, remembering this is how we exactly were in Paris. I know I have told him to forget it but the memory is the beautiful nightmare that I have over and over.
“So, Are you all set for tomorrow?” Robert asks and I remembered I was going to head home for Jane’s wedding weekend. Why did she have to make it a weekend? Does she want to torture me a little more?
“Oh, yes.” I say
“Are you ok? It should be fine.” He says
“So is Riley picking you up?” He asks
“Uh. No. He’s on his way to Italy by now.” I say eating my food; acting like it doesn’t bother me that I’m going alone.
“Italy? He’s not going with you?” He asks in a serious tone this time. Why is he bothered? he’s not the one going to the lion’s den tomorrow.
“Yes. He has an offer. Exclusive wine tasting and auction somewhere in Italy.” I vaguely explained since I cannot remember where he was headed. He nods and gives off this unsettling smile.
Robert seemed very odd; he must have been very stressed from work. After I have cleaned our dinner he dismissed me. I reached my place just in time for me to double check everything and get a good night rest for the blessed event.
I woke up the next day, with my alarm shrieking loudly. Here it is, the day I have been dreading. The first day of the crappy weekend that I have to face alone. Even Aunt Brenda could not come and rescue me; she’s still on her cruise relaxing. I on the other hand decided to help out as much as I can to avoid any attention to me. Hopefully, I will not become the entertainment as everyone will try to set me up with a date. Is it really a need for me to be in a relationship? I’m only twenty-four.
I see our front yard and I wince at the sight, I took a deep breath and set the foundation of half-full motivations in my mind and decided to suck it up and just go be the best second in command maid of honor and keep the spot light on Jane.
I went in the front door not even bothering to knock and the house was filled with relatives and other people that I don’t know. Dad saw me and gave me his bear hugs.
“Hey, Bug! I’ve missed you.” He says
“I missed you too dad!” I say. His warm hug wasn’t at all suffocating but the best feeling in the world. His warmness and joy always radiates and somehow is contagious.
My dad and I have a special bond. We always get each other. He’s the reason why I brave all my fears, well some of them, and just take the blows as they come. Mom on the other hand, well, I love her to the moon and back but she just can’t stop comparing, I do know that she has the best of intensions; she’s the voice in my mind that reminds me to strive higher and never settle for less. I think that’s why Jane appeals to my mother more than me.
“I’ll put this in the car. Go help your mother.” Dad orders as he disappears with my luggage and heads to our car.
I entered the living room and I immediately regretted it. There were so many relatives and I couldn’t even find my mom, so before any relatives could engage me in a conversation I turned and went to the kitchen. I found mom taking out cookies from the oven.
“Mom. Dad said you needed help.”
“Oh! Angie! Sweetie, you’re here.” She lights up and makes her way to me but she was looking for someone judging from the look she’s putting off while looking over my shoulder.
“Did you bring someone?” She seemed hopeful. Thank God. I didn’t tell her about Riley or I’d die from all the it’s-ok-he’s-not-worth-the-trouble talk.
“No. I’m afraid not.” I say waiting for her speeches
“No matter dear. I’m sure we’ll find you a good partner at the wedding. Leave it to me.” She says and then she gestures me to help out with the cooking. My mom always loved hosting parties and her cooking is amazing. Jane suddenly enters with a tray of cupcake wrappers from the look of it and settles them on the nook.
“Angie! I’m so glad you’re here. Now since you’re here. I’m going to brief you of the work that has been done. I need you now more than ever to make this wedding spectacular.” Jane says ecstatically.
She spent a few moments to discuss to me the event. Everything is all set except for the weekend that she has us all participating. Jason must be really loaded. This weekend is going to cost him big time. She asks for a few suggestions on activities and so we talked over my ideas. As soon as she was happy I made reservations and that was that. Easy as pie.
“Oh. Thank you so much! And for that I’m going to find you a suitable date.” Strike 2. If I get a dollar for every time I hear a relative trying to set me up with someone, I’m going to be rich and in the rate I’m going I just made 2 dollars in just a few minutes.
“It’s no problem. I’m fine without one. I’ll just help around. After all I’m your second in command maid of honor.” I smile at her. Meaning I’m here for your every beck and call.
“Ok then. Come let’s serve some sandwiches Aunt Tilly made for us.”
“Okie dokie.” I say giving her the best I’m game look.
“Aunt Tilly, Thank you again for hosting this pre-wedding weekend gathering. You really are the best.” She says to mom.
I was in the middle of assembling the clubhouse sandwiches when I hear my dad calling me. I placed the bread down and washed my hands. Took out the apron and walked towards the foyer.
“There’s a strapping young man looking for you.” My dad announced and in a split second my mom came rushing, as did some of my relatives. Really, is it a miracle that someone was looking for me?
“Who is it uncle Ralph?” I can hear Jane ask someone.
“Yes, Who is it? Angie you told me you weren’t bringing anyone.” Mom says excited
“Mom. Calm down. Dad is just pulling his old tricks again. It’s the mail man or something.” I say opening the door and at that moment I hear my mom gasp, so did some of the relatives and all went silent.
“Sleigh? Uh- Rob.” I asked confused. What in the world is happening? Am I hallucinating? He stood at my porch in a crisp blue button down shirt and jeans.
“What are you doing here?” I say flustered.
“Snow, I’m sorry I’m late.” He says as he kisses me on the cheek
“What are you doing here?” I hissed in his ear as he gives me that conniving smile, then I hear my dad clearing his throat. I turn around and Robert places his arms around me.
“Uh. Dad, This is Robert Sleigh. Rob. Dad.” I say introducing them to each other.
“Mr. Morley, Snow has told me so much about you. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.” Robert says extending his hand and my dad takes it seemingly shocked.
“Likewise.” Dad says. I shrug a little at Robert’s grip but he holds me tighter. Then my mom appears
“Mrs. Morley I presume?” He says offering his hand to Mom and she takes it as well.
“Hello. It’s so nice to meet you.” Mom says gleaming.
I look at dad, who has processed the information. I smiled at him as he looked back and forth at Robert and me. He looked happy and somehow relieved.
“Well, Come in. Come in. Let’s celebrate shall we?” Dad says inviting both of us into the living room.
Everyone wanted to meet the ever famous Robert Sleigh and so I left him in the living room seeing how my mother has hogged him as she tried to learn more of our relationship and introduced him to as much relatives as she can. Referring to him as my date.
I on the other hand went to the kitchen, gulp a glass of wine and got the sandwiches to serve in the living room. When I reached the living room Robert was sitting opposite Jason and Jane, while mom was handing him food that he respectfully declines.
“Angela, darling. Come.” Mom says, Gesturing for me to take a seat next to Robert.
“Angie, you didn’t tell us you were bringing Mr. Sleigh.” Jane asks me in a weird uncharacteristic kind of way.
“Um. Could I possibly talk to Robert for a bit?” I asked flustered.
“Sure.” Mom says visibly dismayed
“Excuse me.” Robert stands and strides towards me. He gestures for me to lead the way.
I walked towards the kitchen and out unto the backyard. Robert follows me out and shuts the door behind him. I looked around trying to see if there area any prying eyes taking a peek at us and I am sure there were lots.
“What is it?” Robert asks
“What is this? What possessed you to do something like this? I can’t – What are you doing here exactly?” I hissed again but maintaining my composure as to not draw unwanted rumors of me in the house.
“I’m accompanying you, since Riley couldn’t come.”
“What is this a play? There’s no understudy. Why are you here?”
“Well, I wanted to meet your family and I want to be your date.” He says plainly
“Well you can’t be my date. The whole world knows you’re dating Victoria, ever thought of that? Just go home. How am I going to explain, having you here?” I scolded him
“I’ll just say you needed to get some work files or something.” I blabbed random scenarios
“Really, I come to your house kiss you on the cheek to get some files.” He points out
“Runts, I forgot. Why did you have to do that?” I punched him in his arm. I just couldn’t take it anymore.
“Well, to make us more convincing. Plus, Victoria left the country, let them think we broke up so I could be with you.” He explains sitting on the swing.
“Are you on crack? Have you been smoking weed? Why are you torturing me?” I gave up sitting beside him on the swing.
“Angela. I know how hard this weekend is for you. I was glad Riley stepped in to help you. But he’s not here and I have nothing to do. So I just thought I could help.” He explains calmly
“What do you mean, you have nothing to do. I make your schedule and you should be at a meeting right now. It’s Friday.”
“Well, I’ve got people who can handle that end.” He says simply.
“Ugh. Fine. If nobody asks regarding our relationship we do not act like we’re together and if someone asks then we’ll say were friends and you’re accompanying me.” I set out the rules.
“Friends? Out of curiosity, what was my brother’s role if he was here?”
“Well, the same. Friends, but who knows you’re brother has a mind of his own, he could play a gay friend and stay close with some ladies. I don’t know. If only you can act gay.” I say and smile at the thought of Riley acting gay.
“That I most certainly could not do.” He says looking at me straight in the eye
“You’re right. You’re too strict and silent.” I say
“So. I can stay.” Robert looks at me for approval.
“Since you’re here. Come on, everyone might be wondering where we are. How did you know where I was anyway?” I ask
“I know people.” He says following me into the house.
“You know I’m starting to hate your people” I commented
We went back into the house just in time for us to move out and head to the Bardessono Hotel, Restaurant and Spa. I helped mom lock up as Robert helped in transporting the other heavier bags with ease. I look at Robert as he helped out my dad and a few of my cousins. I felt a pang of pain as I imagined him as mine. So this is how it looks like.
“Are we all set?” Dad asks us as he checks the locks on the doors and windows.
“Yes, I guess so.” I say
“Shall we?” Robert asks as we head down the porch unto the front yard where his gray Bentley Continental GT Speed on the driveway, an attraction to my male cousins.
“Nice ride.” Jason praises as Jane stands beside him
“Snow!” I heard a familiar voice behind us
“Luke! It’s so good to see you and this must be Natalie.” I greeted both with a hug. Finally an alliance.
“Luke! I’m so glad you made it.” Jane interrupts air kissing Luke and Natalie. Luke smiled congratulating Jane and Jason, when he noticed Robert behind me.
“Mr. Sleigh. I’m surprised to see you here.” He was taken back.
“Please, call me Robert. I’m Angela’s date.” Robert says as he shook Luke and Natalie’s hand.
“I didn’t know you were dating.” Luke’s curiosity strikes again. Crinkles! Luke! Why did you have to bring that up!
“Uh- He’s – We-” I started to deny such implications
“We are.” Robert interrupts, pulling me towards his side tightly leaving me with no choice but to give off my goofy smiles again as I here some relatives’ awe at the sight.
“Shall we?” Robert asks and that was the cue for everyone to move out the premises and head unto the Bardessono Hotel.
Robert led me to the front passenger seat like a good gentlemen and scurries to his side and closed the door. I basked in the amazing interior of my dream car and felt giddy all over again. He gestures for me to put my seatbelt on, so I did.
“You really didn’t have to come here, Rob. What’s the big idea telling everyone we’re dating? I thought we agreed to tell them that we’re friends?” I complained.
“Well. I can’t have single men drooling all over you this weekend. Do you seriously think that they’ll believe we’re just friends? I’m a very busy man Angela and the very fact that I’m here with you to a wedding says it all.” He says looking right at me making me feel uncomfortable.
“I thought you said you have people to handle your business?” I retorted and he gives me look that made me shut my mouth before he decides to do something again.
“So you brought blue from Paris?” I asked
“Well, I name your cars and blue seemed to have changed his color and interiors.” I say
“This is no the same car Angela. Blue is very happy in Paris. This is Ash.” Robert says
“Ash Gray seemed fitting.” He says
“Ha ha. Very funny. You’re mocking me.” I folded my arms like a child and he just laughs.
We made our way to Bardessono Hotel as the sun was slowly setting the lovely sceneries changes in color and the quaintness of the place just started to make me relax. I was at peace in the moment and when I look at the driver seat, my heart pounds and as much as it hurts I was in a blissful state. I am a fool. A crazy fool.
The beautidul stretch of greens splayed as we enter the Bardessono. The heavy stone pillars supporting the wooden canopy lit up in warm lighting making the mood very romantic. We stopped in front of the hotel and the valet greeted us. Robert gets out in a quick move he opens my door and helps me out.
“The luggages are in the trunk.” He says to the valet.
“Mr. Sleigh, Good evening. I trust that your travel was good.” A beautiful woman with wavy brown hair greeted us. She had a very welcoming, warm aura that radiated towards us.
“Yes. Thank you. We’re here for the Raglin Wedding.” He says
“Oh. Very well then Sir, Shall I escort you to your room?” She asks
“I think we’ll wait for the other guests.” Robert says.
Moments later Jason and Jane arrived along with my parents and the relatives. The lobby was busy and Robert was just sitting patiently. He was so considerate waiting to be checked in. It was refreshing for him to not be waited on in this trip. Quite a rare moment.
Jane approaches us with keys for the room and excitedly hands them all to the guests. She gives a key to mom and dad and then turns to Robert.
“Mr. Sleigh, I’d think you and Angela would stay in one room?” Jane asks as she hands him the room key
“Please call me Robert.”
“Robert.” Jane repeats blushing. Ugh, come on. This is your wedding weekend and you’re flirting?
“I think. Mr. Morley would appreciate if Angela and I stay in separate beds. This wont be necessary as I am an uninvited guest, I took the privilege of booking the queen steam spa.” Robert says apologetically.
“Oh. You really didn’t have to you’re a welcome guest. Jason won’t have it any other way.” Jane says as Jason appears at her side
“Yes. Please. It’s on us.” Jason says
“Well. Thank you. We appreciate it.” Robert stands and shakes Jason’s hand.
“As do I. I like him. Call me Peter.” Dad says patting Robert on his shoulder.
I enter the room and it’s so elegant. The room has a minimalist feel, I am guessing it was to tie up the whole green concept. The room was beautiful with a fireplace and the bed was big. In a separate room with no doors was another queen size bed. I went on exploring the room as Robert tips the bellboy.
“There is no way I am taking a shower with you in the room. There are no doors.” I say as I see a clear glass door shower in with huge windows.
“It’s separated form the sleeping area. I wont get in when you’re in the shower.” He says laughing at me.
“I don’t trust you. Why did we even have to stay in one room?”
“We’re together. Dating. Why are we going to stay in separate rooms?” He asks. I can think of many ways
“If it makes you feel better I’ll go out the room when you need to use the bathroom.” He says
“Fine, ok. I’ll sleep there and you take the bed here outside.” I say pointing to the secluded bedroom. There is no way that he’s getting out of bed and see me in a horrendous sleeping mode.
“You’re the boss.” He says jumping unto the bed.
We were called for dinner at The French Laundry a restaurant just outside the Hotel in Yountville. The restaurant was spectacular and the food was culinary genius, of course. What do you expect from a three Michelin Star restaurant. The dinner was surprisingly good. Jane was so gracious through out the meal. The spotlight was on her and I could not be happier than this moment that I get to enjoy with my parents and family. After the dinner we all headed back to the hotel and get a good night’s rest. Robert on the other hand made phone calls and read emails as far as I could remember. I offered my assistance but he insisted I sit this one out.
The next day, we all had to wake up a bit early for what I had planned. We stood in the field where gigantic air balloons were splayed and inflated. Everyone was ecstatic with what was happening and so was I. The guests grouped themselves and entered the baskets. Jane and Jason were in one special basket as requested. One by one the balloons rose up and it was finally my turn to get into one. I looked back and all who was left was Robert.
“Are you ready?” The pilot asks
“Are you the only one left?” I asked Robert
“Yes.” He smiles knowingly
We both entered the huge basket. Then slowly we gained height and we were off. The Pilot began to voice over and explaining the sights. The scene was amazing as the sun rose; the rays glinted over the fields of grapes. I could see Yountville from where I stood. I leaned over the edge taking every moment in. The sunlight was soft and gentle making everything look ten times more beautiful and as I looked beside me Robert looked so handsome as the light glinted over his face and his hair washed in light, it was too good to be true.
“Breathtaking isn’t it?” I asked Robert while looking out the beautiful landscape.
“Yes. Beautiful.” He says as he looks at me
“Mhm.” I say feeling conscious under his stare.
“This is just the perfect way to start the day. You really are talented.” He starts
“No, I’m not. I just give good suggestions.” I say not taking the credit because after all I’m not the one flying this air balloon.
“Angela, I want to ask you something.” He starts
“Yes? What is it?” I looked at him as I transferred to the other side of the basket to see the rest of the beauty of the balloons floating behind us.
“Wait. Before you ask, I’ll take a picture of you.” I say dragging Robert unto the foreground as the colorful balloons floated beautifully behind him.
“Let’s take one together.” He says pulling me to him. He takes out his phone and took a quick photo of us, so instead of refusing I smiled. I can’t have an ugly photo in his phone.
“So. What was it you’re going to ask me?”
“Well. Do you really like Riley?”
“Of course I do. What’s not to like?” I ask him back curious of his question
“Well I needed to know, since you’re together and all. I just needed to know.” Robert blabs
“Together? You mean. No. No we’re not together. He’s my best friend. Surely Riley has told you.” I say immediately correcting the situation.
“So. You’re not dating?” He asks
“No. Of course not.” I laughed at him. What a weirdo.
“Good.” He says and I just smile at him.
The balloon descends and we hiked towards the Domaine Chandon winery with the rest of the guests. The beautiful morning breeze was delightful. As we walked through the vineyard, I took some photos of the beautiful grapes. As we did in Paris, Robert and I took turns in taking funny photos with the grapes. It was so nice to be with Robert like this again. After a few shots we ran towards the entrance of Domaine Chandon and unto the etoile restaurant where we had out heafty breakfast.
As we were eating Isaac comes in and I greeted him with glee, as did he. He then whispers something to Robert whose expressions turned grim. After Isaac talks Robert instructs him to deal with the situation.
“Why, What’s wrong?”
“The paparazzi have found me. It’s all taken care of.” He says immediately dismissing the topic.
“Excuse me, Ladies and Gentlemen. There is going to be games and picnic out in the garden.” The manager cuts in before I could ask more details.
“Wow. Who thought of that?” I ask rhetorically
“I did.” Robert whispers.
As everyone heads to the gardens, Robert took my hand and went with the crowd. People were happily chatting as they see the wonderful setting before them. On the green grass was a couple of raised platform with cozy seating with a fire pit in the middle. A dance floor surrounding the clusters of raised platform under a huge transparent canopy. There were array of treats for the kids on one side and on the other knickknacks for adults. Everyone began to flood in the set up.
“Who did this?” Jane approaches me in delight
“It’s our gift to the lovely couple. Along with any choice of wine for your wedding.” Robert tells Jane and she just gleams
“It was Angela’s Idea. A picnic would be an intimate way of celebrating with family and loved ones.” He continues
“Oh, Angie! Thank you so much!” Jane says hugging me tightly. Wow this is the first time she has warmed up to me for real this time.
“Angie, Rob. Thank you guys so much for this. This is just wonderful.” Jason says
“You’re welcome.” Robert says then Jane and Jason joins the festivities
“It wasn’t my idea.” I say to Robert
“It was. On the way to the hotel, you told me.” He says making me remember that I did tell him on the way to the hotel room when he asked me about the itinerary.
The whole afternoon was so good. The host prepared so many games for the adults and the children as well. Mom and dad even joined in on the fun. The worst weekend became the best for me. There was no drama, just fun in the sun. Robert even had to join in with the guys in playing some games. Deep down inside I was bouncing off the walls seeing the Robert I knew. He was just care free and so happy as well. I on the other hand enjoyed the company of my cousins apart from gushing over Robert though; I didn’t know how to act because in reality he wasn’t really mine to begin with. The music filled the air as the host decided to have a dance party.
“Ladies and gentlemen we’ll now have the wine tasting. After which dinner will be served.” The hosts announces and all the adults gathered around the several wine servers who talked a bit about the wine they’re drinking and the various tastes and textures, while the children were served with a variety of juices.
Later when Jane and Jason has chosen their champagne, A wide spread buffet was served. The dinner was informal having us eat on the platforms without tables, just gathering around the lit fire pit. It was very intimate and cozy. Luke and Natalie were among the people who was with us in the pit, mom and dad was there too.
Later after dinner we had smores and wine as we gathered around the warm fire keeping us cozy. Luke was going down memory lane, telling funny stories about me and him and our adventures. It was embarrassing but it entertained the group so well.
“Remember the time when you arranged you’re mom and dad’s anniversary in the backyard? You had me act like the waiter? While you cooked.” Luke asks me
“No. Stop. Let’s share something else. Mom?” I deviated hoping my mom would change the topic.
“Oh, I remember that night. It was lovely and special. You even sang our favorite song that night? Didn’t she Peter?” She looked at dad
“Mom. I’m sorry. Enough about me let’s talk about something else.”
“No. It’s fine. I like hearing stories about you. Let’s me know you a little better.” Robert interrupts.
“Well how about that song huh, Snow?” Luke asks and disappears a bit and returns with a guitar.
“No. no. you’re killing me.” I refused. I’m not going to sing in front of Robert. Oh, Lord please let it rain.
“I heard you sound good. That’s all is my favorite too.” Natalie chimes in. Great. Why did the wonderful day end?
After a few encouragements and pressure from the people around me. I gave up, but I wasn’t going to sing them the whole song. That’s all was a favorite of mine, such simple lyrics but powerful message. Luke started to play and I had my cue, took a deep breath and sang.
“I can only give you love that lasts forever, and a promise to be near each time you call and the only heart I own for you and you alone. That’s all. That’s all.” I dared not look at Robert fearing I sang a wrong note.
“Angie, that’s not the whole song.” Luke protests
“I think one verse is enough.” I say growing redder like a tomato.
“You mean half a verse.” He says and I slowly look at Robert.
I searched his face for something, was he going to laugh? I was too embarrassed to even ask. Then he looks at me with a look that made me feel like he’s seen me for the first time. Before I could explore what that was all about, Jane and Jason declared their Bachelor and Bachelorette party has officially started and we were separated. Thank you Lord no awkward silence.
Oh no. What has these girls planned for tonight? Jane’s friends are the craziest bunch of girls I have ever met. They rented a party bus. This is not good. Not good at all.
“Jane, I think I have a headache and my stomach’s really hurting.” I say as I see the neon lighted party bus.
“Come on. Angie, please be with me tonight.” She says
“You owe me.” I say giving in as a good maid of honor would.
I could not even begin to describe what went on in the bus, but all I saw were liquors, tequila being drank like water and lots of shrieking ladies. It was not a good sight to see. Thank God the whole trip was over and we got out of that crazy bus. There are some things that cannot be unseen.
“Thank-y –yo-uu sooo mu-uch. Gu-yyezzz. You re-ally are the bestest!” Jane slurs as I held her up.
“Take a good night rest girls and some Advil.” I adviced.
I took Jane in her room and settled her down. I got a washcloth and cleaned her up a bit before changing her into sweats and a shirt. After I came back from the comfort room she calls out for me.
“Yup?” I ask and she motions me to join her
“Angie, Thank you so much for making this the best day of my life.” Jane says in a straight manner and it shocked me
“I’m not drunk. Tipsy maybe. I just wanted the girls to stop the party. It wasn’t at all fun.” She giggles
“And you made me change you.” I hit her with a pillow
“Ok I’m sorry. But I had to set things out straight before I’m married off.” She says in a more serious manner
“I’m sorry for being such a bitch to you after we’ve grown apart. I was just trying to out do you and maybe I could be better.”
“What are you talking about Jane. You’re drunk. Just rest and lie down.” I say trying to put her to sleep but she didn’t budge.
“No. I’m not drunk.” She says and she looks like she isn’t but what is happening.
“Jane, What are you talking about? I should be the one whose jealous I mean look at you. You’re accomplished and great at everything. I’m should be the one who’s pissed. My own mother prefers you over me.” I explain
“I know. I’m so sorry Ange. I wasted years that we were supposed to be bonding and competed with you. I was just really insecure, having to live with you, I had to make sure I was good enough. You always did it effortlessly.” She says
“Jane, You are the best at everything, I could not even compete with you. You are a league of your own. You never had to show us that you belonged because you’re family.” I reassured her
“We were sister way back when until you decided to be popular and kicked me to the curb.” I laughed and she cringed at the thought
“Oh. Too soon?” I asked and she nodded.
“Angie. I’m so sorry and from now on, let’s be those crazy kids who loved each other like sisters.” She says and all I could do was nod. Yes! No more competition and snide comments!
“Oh and Angie?” She stops
“Thanks for making this wedding weekend a success. You should do this for a living.” She praises
“Thanks.” I say appreciating her sincerity
“Oh and thank Robert too. You two look so good together. It’s like you were made to be together. I really am happy for you, Angie.” Her comment made me think, where do Robert and I stand? What are we?
We talked a bit and even shed some tears as we both repaired our relationship and came out stronger. I accepted her apology since I never wanted war in the first place. I was just glad that she actually wanted us to be like sisters again. I was so happy that nothing could ruin the night. It was dawn and she started to fall asleep beside me while I lay in bed thinking of my next move.
It was 2 In the afternoon and we were still frantic trying to get Jane to not panic between the photo shoot or the constant reminder of the planner that the time was almost here. Jane and I stuck together as soon as we woke this morning. I hope Rob was fine in the room or I don’t really know where he is.
I’m so sorry for not informing you but I’m at Jane’s room, preparing I didn’t get the chance to get back because she needed me.
A few seconds later there was a reply form Rob.
Snow, this is you’re cousins wedding, I’m just a guest. Take your time. I’m in the room today had to do some work before the blessed event.
Is there anything that you need me to do?
No. You don’t have to wait on me all the time. I’m perfectly capable. How do I order coffee?
Before I could go out of my mind and rush to the restaurant to grab some coffee he texts again.
I try, Ms. Morley.
Well, You’re a bit rusty Mr. Sleigh.
See you later, Snow.
It was finally time to head out to the vineyard for the ceremony. It was quaint, intimate and just heart warming as I stood beside Jane who was glowing with love and happiness as they exchanged their vows. Her radiance and beauty was beyond compare. In my made of honor gown that was amazing it has a combination off the shoulder and sleeveless straps, an angled slit from the front. I had a little talk with the seamstress and had the slit closed up a little bit more, I couldn’t risk a national incident of flashing the family of Jason and mine.
I looked over to the crowed and Robert stood out in this tux that fitted him perfectly, there is nothing that this man could wear that wouldn’t suit him. He smiles at me and for the first time I felt a wave of consciousness and extreme discomfort.
Before I couldn’t take the discomfort and sprint my way out of the situation, the minister announces the happy union and everyone was ecstatic for the couple and I felt relief. The bridesmaid, the groomsmen and I stepped down for the couple to have their picture taken. I then found my way to Robert.
“Are you ok? Were you able to work this morning?” I ask
“Yes, Angela I did.” He says looking at me intently making me very conscious
“Is there something wrong?” I checked myself for something; a candle might have burned me or maybe my straps were slipping.
“Nothing, you just look incredible. Half the men in this room are looking at you. You might have stolen the brides attention.”
“Haha. You have been practicing.”
“What?” He looks surprised
“You’re jokes.” I say
“You really have to learn how to take a compliment. You’re beautiful, Angela.”
I was speechless at his comment and didn’t know how to reply. Luckily Jane wanted a picture with Robert and me. We both head to the altar and took the couples sides. The photographer snapped away and that was the end of it.
The reception was amazing, the program was fun, and even Robert took part in the traditional wedding games. The food was to die for and the wine was divine. I finally relaxed and didn’t care about anything but have fun and be with family. Robert’s presence meant no talk of me not having someone, or weird set-ups that never turn out. Over all the party was smashing.
The sun was setting over the reception and that feeling of warmth settled in. What was more perfect was dessert was being served and I was having this giddy feeling of tasting sweets, and I remembered Riley wishing he were here too. It was something that we both share, getting that giddy feeling of amazing treats.
“Angela, Are you ok? You seem spaced out.” Robert asks
“Oh, um- it’s nothing.” I say and Robert gives me a look of suspicion
“Here, I know this will cheer you up.” Robert hands me a chocolate mousse and immediately my mood shot up.
“Yes, It does.” I smile at him with content of the treat and as I take a bite, the angel’s chorus was heard.
“Riley, would have enjoyed this too, but he’s say this mousse is better.” I share and Robert just nods eating his cake.
Before I could ask him how his cake was, Isaac comes in again looking grim. He leans over to the once smiling Robert, and then I knew the news was bad because his smile was gone. He then excuses himself from the table and left.
Jane was done giving her speech and to my surprise she mentioned me and thanked me for a lot of things. I was overwhelmed and glad that we really are good. Not just for show but I know that I have my sister back. Robert still hasn’t shown up, Concerned for his whereabouts, I went over to Jane and Jason to ask permission to leave the festivities.
“Hey! Isn’t this amazing?” Jane exclaimed in glee
“It’s the best and the dessert, perfect!” I say and she gleams back at me.
“Where’s Robert?” Jason asks as he faced me
“Uh- he had an important call and I think I should go as well, he might need something.” I say
“I’m so sorry to leave early.” I pout at Jane
“Well, at least you had cake and heard my speech.” She says and winks at me
“Thanks for coming, Angela. It meant a great deal to us. Also thank your boyfriend for us, the wine is amazing and that pre nuptials party was amazing.” Jason says as Jane leans on him comfortably just nodding. Boyfriend, I wish but this was all for show and now we’ll be happily separated and leave this bliss behind after the wedding.
“Sure. Thanks again! I’ll see you soon.” I say kissing them both by the cheek and went to look for Robert.
I walked out the reception, before I could figure out where to go, Isaac greets me and brings me back to the hotel where I have heard Robert was. I asked him about the situation but Isaac didn’t budge and just complemented me on my dress.
I went back the room and tiptoed while trying to close the door as silent as possible. I walked towards the room and in view I saw Robert pacing and talking intensely on the phone. He catches my eye and visually relaxed.
“Sorry.” I mouthed as he ended the intense conversation and stowed away his phone.
“Sorry. Is there anything you need? Do you want me to come back?” I asked
“No, On the contrary I was waiting for you.” He says studying me as he held me in place.
“Are you sure?” I asked concerned at the sight of him clearly disturbed by the call.
“I’m sure. Come, I have something prepared for you.” He says pulling me towards the sliding doors to the private garden.
“Ok. That was a fast shift in mood.” I commented.
“Well, Angela, I find that I can’t feel anything but be happy when I’m around you.” He says looking at me.
As he opened the rollers up a candlelit picnic was in view. The whole garden was lit up by candlelight and sparkling lights draped on the garden floor. Pillows were on the blanket and to the side was a basket of goodies as I hoped.
“Um-what-why?” I stutter out of disbelief
“Come.” Robert leads me to sit; when we did he took out a kettle and started to take out cute mugs.
“We just came from a reception, are you trying to fatten me up?” I asked feeling the fizz of champagne rise up
“No, I just want you to be happy.”
“I am Happy.” I say as he looks down contemplating what he was about to say, it concerned me.
“Rob, what is this? What are you on about? I thought you’re just replacing Riley?” I ask picking his thoughts
“Angela, I didn’t come here to be an understudy, nor play the part. I came here because I don’t like the thought of you being with someone else or being set up with anyone. Especially when Riley’s away.”
“What? You think so highly of me Sleigh. You’re going nuts.”
“You think so less of yourself if that’s the case. How many times do we have to prove this, every time I leave you for a while some random guy talks to you and make googley eyes.”
“Googley eyes? What are you five?” I laugh
“Really Angela, I just wanted to apologize for my stupid actions, I never meant for any of us to get hurt.” He starts
“No- Rob it’s fine, we got pass that.”
“No. I don’t think I ever made up for the mistakes that I made. I was stupid and I had not thought things through. ” He says sincerely handing me the cute mug.
“Well, were here now. I think we’re pass the point of being mad and hurt.” I console him
He stares down looking in the mug with a deep thought. I didn’t’t want to pry but I was too curious not to ask.
“What are you thinking? Hey. Let’s just enjoy the evening shall we?” I start to rummage through the basket and look inside, while making silly awe noises to break the silence.
“Angela, I know this might not be the right time, or the place –” he starts
I stopped and looked back at him who was lost for words, He moves in close and in an instant his lips were on mine. I melted in his arms; the feeling overwhelms me, his scent masking me to the extent of bliss. It was all too much but I didn’t have the courage to let him go. I was way to deep for me to take things back. When the moment was right we stopped and just sat there in silence. I was processing what this meant and Robert looked like he was battling himself.
Before I could say anything he took me in his arms held me in front of him and just sat there in silence as the music played. I was happy to be in his arms, I wished we disappeared to an island where we were the only people there and just be happy.
“Rob, I- I don’t w-what.” I start thinking of words to say, questions to ask. As I was enveloped in his arms.
“Angela, I know – I know it’s not a good time for me to be explaining to you how I feel but, It has been bothering me the moment I met you. I couldn’t tell you for the risk of bad gossip. The moment you stepped in my office, I knew I had to have you but there were factors that could hurt you and I couldn’t bear to see you hurt. I battled with myself that day. I decided to take a chance when I asked you out to dinner but as the night progressed I was dangerously letting you be one of the girls I dated in people’s eyes and I couldn’t bare see you labeled that way.” He explains and I sat there facing him taking all things in.
“I realized that I made a huge mistake when I saw you that night with Riley, happily on that dock and that night I envied my brother for the first time, for having your attention. When my brother threatened to take you away, I had to move quickly so I took you to Paris. Everyday during our trip I was happy for the first time since I lost my mother and had my heart broken but behind my happiness was worries after seeing the tabloid thrown our dates out of proportion I knew I had to stop what we had to protect you. So I had my famous after party to throw the tabloids of your scent.” He explains
“What tabloids? There were none.” I asked confused
“I had all the news about our growing relationship killed. It was a good thing I know almost all the editors of those companies or I wouldn’t be able to stop the madness. They were calling you names that makes me mad just to even think about.” He explains
“I didn’t mean to hurt you, Angela. I just had to protect you from the world, but the more I let you go, the more my brother stepped in. I couldn’t bear to see you with someone else or have you all to myself without you being dissected by the media.” He continues
“Rob, I understand. I was hesitant too, because if I was to be with you, I wanted to be on my own, independent. I didn’t want to be just your secretary, this job is great but this is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.” I explained.
“Now you have told me what really happened, I feel relieved that you were thinking for both of us and I thank you. You really are selfless.” I say holding his face in my hands.
“But I shouldn’t have. I should have taken you because now even if I want to, I can’t have you.” He says holding my hands
“Well, Riley happened.” He says
“I can tell he makes you happy, I mean I should be happy for you but I’m not. Every time I see you together it’s a reminder of what could have been. ” He says
“But, Riley and I aren’t – ” I start
“You’re not –
“No. We aren’t he’s just trying to make you jealous. He’s just pulling your strings. I begged him no to do it but he insisted. You know your brother.” I say as I look at his blank expression
He sat there processing, I couldn’t take the silence so I hugged him quickly and then his arms embraced me. When he kissed my head, I felt ease, but I felt there was unspoken words that was still hanging in the air, to my dismay it wasn’t what I wanted to hear but I know it was coming.
“Why do I feel like this night is that last that I’m going to be able to hold you?” I ask
“I – I don’t know what to do. I’m completely perplexedly irrevocably in love with you, Snow.”
“I love you too.” I say and I can feel him smiling as I am.
“Snow. No matter what happens always remember. You’re mine and I’m yours, it might not be now but all I need you to do is trust me.” He says and I just hug him tighter. What does he mean?
We lay there silent, I hear his heart beat in sync with mine; his breathes the feel of his arms around me. I was so comfortable and contented to want to let go. Dawn was breaking and the sky was changing color. With all the strength I could muster to let go I sat up and looked back at him as he smiled back at me.
“Should we order breakfast?” I ask and he just nods. He sits up and kisses me one more time and I just smile and pinched his cheeks.
We walk back in and I completely forgot that I was still wearing the beautiful gown. I was a complete mess before I could ask for a few moments to myself, Robert says.
“I’ll get the breakfast, just stay here, freshen up and rest. You didn’t sleep.” He says holding me close and I just nod.
“How about you? Aren’t you changing?” I ask
“Ms. Snow I don’t know what you’re suggesting but I don’t put out after the fifth date.” He talks in a funny way I think he was trying to depict a girl and I laugh.
“Don’t worry about me Snow. I can freshen up in another room.” He says and kisses me on the forehead.
“You have another room?” I ask as he was about to head out.
“Where do you think Isaac is staying?” He asks and left.
I quickly bathed, changed, brush my teeth and jumped in the bed to get a little shuteye, Before I could really get some deep sleep I hear Robert come in with breakfast but I was too tired to even sit up so he kisses me and tells me to rest and then I dozed off.
I woke up to a buzzing noise and I clamor for my phone in the dark but instead I pressed the remote for the shade and the blinds lifts and lets in the sun, I squint as the light gets in and tried to find the phone, when I got it Maxine’s alarming voice came through.
“Max?” I ask in a very sleepy yawning voice
“Angie, Where are you? I tried calling you since yesterday.” She exclaims, Why is she mad?
“I’m in the hotel, it’s my cousins wedding.” I say trying to understand her exasperation
“Robert is with you isn’t he?”
“How- How d’you know?”
“Well, it’s all over the freaking news!”
“And?” I ask completely oblivious
“He’s freaking engaged, Angela. That’s why I have been trying to call you.”
“What? Whe- when did this happen?” I asked as a jolt of adrenaline and anger shot up, making me sit up.
“Their engagement was announced this morning.” She says
“Angela? Are you there?” She continues, voice full of concern. What does this mean? What in the world is going on? I thought.
“What were you thinking?!”
“I wasn’t. He just showed up, I didn’t ask him to come.” I explained.
“Well then. What was he thinking?!”
“I – I don’t know.” I start and tears started to fall. I felt my heart trampled by the sky-high stilettoes of Victoria.
“I got to go” I say ending the call as I hear Maxine fight to keep me on the phone.
“What is happening?! Why is this happening to me again?!” I let out the frustration.
I pondered what to do next, but nothing was coming at me while I was packing my bags. I had no plans but I just needed to get out. Away. Now. I looked around and found the valet ticket for Robert’s car.
I wrote a note:
What possessed you to do this to me again! Is this one of your protection detail that I am unaware of? Stop protecting me! I’m not a child!
I’m taking your car, I’ll leave it in the airport.
I took my bags not looking back, when the car arrived, the bellboy helped me with my things as I took over the car. When my bags were all inside the car, I sped the hell out of there. I know I need to hear what he has to say but right now, the sight of him may as well be my reckoning.
I arrived from New York and didn’t want to go back to my condo so I picked up my phone and called Maxine to meet me at her place. I was waiting in the lobby for a while letting me have more time to think about what just happened. As soon as I looked up and saw her she rushed and hugged me tight making me drop the bags I was carrying. I was in so much pain that I was barely standing in her embrace. She ordered the doorman to carry my bags as she aided me to the elevator carriage. The door was about to close when I see Scarlet rushing toward the closing door flinging the grocery bags behind her.
“What are those?” I asked
“Only your favorites!” Scarlet shows me a bag of chips and wine for us to go nuts.
“Thanks” I gave her a weak smile, I tried hard to show how glad I am to have them but I wasn’t to brave as I thought to keep my feelings. I’m getting quite pissed of myself for getting too emotional and not being closed off. What in the world is happening to me?!
We went into Maxine’s apartment and I started to relax. I was getting paranoid earlier, Jumping at every chance I see a suited male walk through the lobby, I wouldn’t have been jumpy if the tenants in the building were businessmen in this case most of them are.
After all the slumber party situation happened I was left awake on the makeshift sofa bed. I replaying my weekend with Robert over and over again, and looked for signs that I hadn’t noticed. I was too distracted by Robert’s charms that I didn’t even think things through. I allowed myself to be vulnerable because Robert was an answered prayer for a long weekend, but who am I kidding, I was falling for him since he showed up on my doorstep. Tears came as I realized what really happened and hated myself for it. I vowed to never open up, vowed never to get involved but what did I do?
After a week of sleeping in I’ve gotten used to waking up to the smell of bacon and pancakes, with fresh brewed coffee swimming around the apartment. I sat up and saw Maxine and Scarlet dressed.
“Hey. Where are you going?” I ask
“Um. We’re headed to the airport cause Scarlet’s leaving us temporarily. She’s headed to Rome to join Lina.”
“What?! So you’re leaving us?” I ask pouting
“I’m sorry but I promise to give you a nice present when I get back.” She says as I stood to hug her good bye.
“Are you going to be okay?” Scarlet asks
“I guess. Just promise me one thing.” I say
“Have fun for me will you?” I ask and she nods. Scarlet and I haven’t been friends for long but I’m going to miss her while she’s away.
“Don’t have too much fun without me.” She warns Maxine and me.
“We’ll certainly try.” Maxine winks at me and Scarlet expressed annoyance at Maxine
“Be right back.” Maxine says kissing me on the forehead.
When they left, I felt that sinking feeling I had Five days ago. As I look over to the kitchen, I slowly regained my cheerfulness when I saw the huge stack of Bacon and pancakes on the counter. As I was eating away my sorrows I thought of my next move but nothing comes to mind, I was too preoccupied thinking of the most amazing night that happened that ended in misery. I felt my heart plummet to the floor as I everything replayed and there was no stop button.
After my sad eating, I opened the various luggage that Scarlet kindly packed for me. In the first luggage, My work stuff was gathered and in the other my clothes. I organized them neatly in the area Maxine has generously given to me while Scarlet was away.
After organizing I started scanning through the files in the luggage and saw the ticket to Hawaii and It hit me now is the time for me to use this. I started getting excited, to get away from everything and start anew. I grabbed my laptop and written my resignation and kept my wonderfully organized things back in the bag. I was done.
Just a little over 7am and I’m at the office, facing Robert’s doors contemplating of entering it. I paused to think. What if he’s in there? What will I say? Breathing in deep, I opened the door relieved to see an empty room. Walking towards his table made me think of him. Snapping out of my misery I place the resignation on his desk and taking in all that I’m leaving behind. No one and Nobody. Stop with the drama Angela you’re going to have a new life. One without sadness. My mind defends.
Before I could turn I heard the doors open and I froze. Please don’t be a robber or a serial killer. Please Lord, not now. I was panicking until -
“Snow?” The voice pierced right through me like a sharp arrow. I turned and there he was sullen and stressed out.
I’m frozen at the sight of him. Hurt. Angry. He doesn’t have the right to be this way! He choose this! He shouldn’t be like this. Not wanting to be here anymore I walked as fast as I could but he swiftly caught me and pulled me in an embrace. I felt helpless and in pain. This made things harder and painful like rubbing salt to my wounds.
“What are you doing?!” I say prying away from his embrace and tried to get out
“Angela , Please. Listen. Let me explain.” He begs holding a tight grip on my forearm.
“Fine. Explain!” I hissed taking my arm from him, stood there and held back my tears.
“It’s not what you think. I meant everything I said that day. I was going to tell you but when I came back in the room you were gone.” He paused
“What is there to explain Rob, You’re engaged! For pete’s sake. You made me believe there was nothing between you and Victoria! You played me!” I say not able to control my feelings and my tears.
“Angela, No. There’s nothing between me and Victoria.” He explains frustrated
“An engagement is nothing?”
“It’s business. A merger.”
“A fixed marriage is that it? Does that even happen in this century?” I ask appalled by the notion.
“It’s an agreement. Costa will accept the merger on these terms. They like keeping business in the family.”
“And you would sell your freedom, for a company?!” I ask confused and furious than ever.
“So what we have doesn’t mean anything to you because I don’t come with a multimillion company?!” I ask
“No! You’re everything to me.” He urges getting closer to me. I’m to disgusted to what I’m hearing such appalling situations from him
“Angela , Please.” He says pleading second guessing his actions to hold me or keep away.
“What! What do you want! Rob! I’m tired of your excuses! Let me guess you can’t explain right now, It’s for my protection.” I rambled
“Angela please, You may not understand this now, but I never meant to hurt you, this wasn’t how things should be. “He explains holding me in his arms in the process, comforting me, but right now nothing can.
“Angela, Just trust me on this. I’m asking you to wait for me to do what’s right-”
“Right?! Trust you is something I can’t afford to do. No amount of picnics, trips to Paris, or lavish buffets will make me trust you again! This is too much! Nothing can undo what you just did! What do you think I am Rob! Just because I don’t have a company doesn’t mean I’m dumb.” I say angrily as I push him away.
“Do you really think you need that company! You know what hurts the most seeing that this is not the only option that you have! You’re more than this!” I close, Turning my back from him and stormed out
“Angela, Where are you going?” He follows me
“I resign! Effective immediately!” I say hastily grabbing my stuff on my table.
Before Robert could say more, a pair of heels walked in. It wasn’t enough for me to be miserable the universe threw me Victoria Costa.
“You’ve got some nerve showing up here after your attempt of seducing my man!” Victoria raised her voice hoping to get attention from the employees that just arrived. While I didn’t mind but kept on placing my stuff in my box.
“Victoria, Let’s take this somewhere private.” Robert Hissed at her
“Why! She doesn’t deserve to be dealt with privately after she threw herself at you at that weekend!” She exclaims.
“Hey! I’m talking to you!” She exclaims once again
“What!” I ask like I didn’t hear her for the past second making her angrier
“You thief! You’re really asking for it!”
“Are you blind or are you just plain stupid! Can’t you see that I’m packing? I resigned for your information or do I need to hire a translator for you?” I fought back
“And for your information I did not seduce your fiancé he came to me! You on the other hand was sent away. Do you really think I’d let my daddy pin a marriage clause on the merger contract just to have my dream guy?!” I say and she shuts up
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Robert loves me, and your just a passing one night stand.” She fights back
“Victoria!“Robert tries pulling her into the office but she’s resisting
“Oh really, Unlike someone I don’t give myself up to every man who finds me pretty and calls me mi amor. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go. Anywhere is better than here”
“That’s right, Go! Don’t hurt yourself. He never was yours to begin with. He’s mine and you can never have him.” She snaps at me as I turned to leave. That’s it!
“Mine? I never said he was mine. You may have him now Ms. Costa, but is he really ever yours when what stands between you and him is a cold binding contract. What you have is a possession, you may own him but he never will love you like you wanted. Happy Unity to the both of you. Truly a match made in heaven or should I say a successful merger you two.” I told her off leading her to bump to Robert. I grabbed my box and left for the elevator.
As I walked through the aisle I saw approval from my workmates and made me feel liberated from this drama I was drawn into. As the elevator doors shut I saw Robert trying to catch the car. I felt relief as the doors closed. I’ve had enough.
I walked across the lobby and saw Isaac coming towards me.
“Angela, Robert asked me to assist you.”
“Isaac, I know exactly what he asked you. I don’t want to talk to him anymore.” I say refusing to give him my box.
“Angela, I really think you should hear him out.” Isaac advices as he kept up with my pace as i hurry to catch a cab.
“Isaac, I’m done, broken and hurt. I need time to mend myself.” I explain to him then placed my head on his chest seeking solace.
“I’m really tired.” I say and just like that Isaac hailed a cab for me.
Isaac opened the doors for me as I got in, I saw Robert rushing towards the cab as Isaac closes the door.
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