“Roses are blue, violets are red—”
“Shut up and pay attention,” says Dakota and shakes her head, as her mysterious companion contains his smirk in his first-class plane seat next to her. “When we land, we’re going to Devil’s nightclub and then the hot—”
“Roses are blue, violets are red, I’m a seducer…” and smoothly leans left over the arm rest, casting his deadly green gaze at her divine brunette beauty, “…so get in my bed,” he seductively whispers. The cabin fills with a loud slap.
“Say that again and I’ll start calling you by your real name.”
Shaking off the red imprint, he chuckles and stands from the vanilla leather. Stretching his muscly arms amidst the turbulence, he walks right and takes grip of the royal blue curtain entrance into business class. Looking over his right shoulder, he watches Dakota elegantly sip from her champagne glass. “Continue then. What’s the plan?” He peeks through the curtain and glimpses at the rows of passengers tightly packed together, noticing a couple kissing, as she places her glass down.
She turns to face him. “As I was saying, we need to—”
He turns to her. “I think we should join the mile-high club.” Leaning against the wall, he tilts his head and observes her glare. “I see that naughty twinkle in your eyes.”
Shaking her head, she looks down at the floor and resurfaces with a shifty smile on her scarlet red lips, locking her grey eyes into his tall, dark, and handsome complexion. “I think you’re right.” She stands and approaches him in her red ruby dress, and black heels. “Why didn’t you just say,” she sweetly says, as she looks up and flutters her long lashes at his towering beauty.
He widens his eyes. “Seriously?”
She bites down on her bottom lip and nods. “Mmhhmmmm.”
“Well, well, well. It only took you a law degree and a holiday to Italy.
She runs her dainty fingers down his crisp white shirt; enjoying his hardened abs. “Wait twenty seconds and then come join me.”
He widens his eyes again, watching as she exits through the curtain. He can’t believe it; it’s really happening. It’s only taken four years. Reaching into his black suit trousers, he pulls out his peppermint spray and freshens his breath.
Rubbing his veiny hands, he exits through the curtain with a smirk; his bad boy image projecting across the plane, as all eyes turn to him. With an ego to fill a mirror, he proudly walks down the aisle, catching the back of her red dress entering the restroom behind the brunette hostess smiling at him. Shimmying past her, he leans into her ear. “You should be a model,” he seductively whispers, and moves on, too busy thinking with his dick to notice Dakota laughing at the idiot, as she struts down the other lane and back to her seat. Reaching the bathroom, he grips the black handle. Cracking his neck, he opens it and looks at her brunette hair, as the occupier applies makeup in the mirror. He turns around, and steps inside backwards; his eyes peeking through the closing gap for any hostesses. “You’re in for a treat. There’s a reason they called me the chopper in university.”
Staring at the back of his shirt through the reflection, she applies the final stroke of her lip gloss. “Why would that be?” Closing her lipstick, she chucks it back into her makeup bag and turns to face him, as he locks the door.
He raises his eyebrow at her angelic voice. “Look, I know we’re doing this whole New York thing now, but at least keep the British accent.” He spins around in the tiny space and towers over her, brushing his hands down her devil red playsuit and gripping the back of her thick thighs; her arms and legs wrapping around him, as he lifts her up. Hit with her coconut shampoo, as their cherry, and ice breath collide, he closes his eyes and captures the moment in silence. “Ahem… it must have been a long and strenuous battle, having to stare at me in all those lectures but let’s put that behind us. I’m here. You’re here. That’s all that matters.”
She breaks into a giggle. “Are you sure you have the right girl?”
He leans back and inspects her. “Green eyes. You aren’t Dakota.”
She shakes her head sideways. “Nope.”
“Did you know green is my favourite colour? Must be fate.”
She blushes. “Fate?”
“Do you believe in fate?”
She glances over his stunning composure; drawn by his strong jawline and wild black hair, as his woody cologne and majestic green eyes attack. “Perhaps. Perhaps not,” she says, and combs her petite fingers through the back of his thick hair. “I’m Arabella Harper by the way.”
Hit with turbulence, as if it were fate, the gap between them closes as their foreheads press together. “And what would a beautiful woman like you Arabella Harper, be doing on a plane from Heathrow?”
She deeply exhales through her nose, struggling to stay composed as his dominant gaze and fine beauty screams alpha. “Umm… I’m visiting—”
Hit with yet another round of turbulence, they grip each other tight as it throws him against the door; the gentleman in him catching her parted lips. Regaining his step, he breaks their locked lips. “That’s the sweetest thing I’ve tasted all day. Candy floss?”
She grazes her pink glossy lips against his. “Kiss me,” she passionately whispers, as her chest drowns in a whirlwind of pleasure.
Using his fingertips, he stimulates her smooth thighs, feeling her cherry warmth steam against his upper lip. He looks her up and down. “How old are you?”
He smirks. “Welcome to the mile-high club.” He spins her around and slams her against the door, leaning into her, as she parts her cupid lips. Slipping, and sliding between the mounting moisture, he keeps her pinned with his muscly chest, as he removes his hands and begins journeying up her playsuit.
Gripping his hair tight, as his rough hands continue upwards, she breaks the moment and gasps the bathroom air. Pressing her forehead against his, she gazes into his dominance. “What’s your name?" She widens her eyes and nervously giggles; her back vibrating as someone knocks aggressively against the door.
He spins her around and gently lowers her. “It’s probably just a hostess checking in.” He turns around and unlocks the door. Giving her a boost of confidence, he looks back at her. “I’ve got this,” he says, and faces front, smiling his pink stained lips as he opens it. He starts to chuckle, met by his sly companion Dakota, as she looks his lips over. “Well, well, well… if it isn’t my—”
She grabs his white collar and drags him out. “I haven’t planned an operation for an entire year, only for you and your fuckboy ways to mess this up. Got it!” She looks Arabella up and down feistily and looks back to him.
He chuckles and raises his hands. “I got confused. I thought it was you.”
She rolls her eyes. “That’s why I will never sleep with you.” She looks her up and down again and fake smiles, slamming the door on her and escorting him back to his first-class seat.
Exiting through airport security, Arabella waits at the crowded, rotating carousel for her suitcase in Terminal Seven. Glancing to her right, she looks through the gap of the other passengers in search for her mystery man. No luck. She gulps amongst the surrounding chatter and looks down at the shiny square tile; her reflection looking back at her, as she twists her cupid lips. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. She feels the brush of a black suit jacket against her smooth skin, and looks up, staring at the back of a tall, dark, and handsome man, as he goes to grab his luggage; her heart racing, as he slowly turns around.
“Help me hon,” he says, and smiles as his wife brushes past her. She sighs and watches the couple vacate, spotting her hot pink suitcase. Well at least that’s not lost. She grips the handle and lifts it from the conveyer belt. Turning around, she places it on its wheels. Gripping the handle, she makes her way through the large crowd and heads for the exit.
Waiting for her best friend, Clarissa Campbell, she stands on the sidewalk in the pickup zone, swapping the musty airport smell for the New York exhaust fumes amidst the evening summer breeze, as it carries her brunette locks around her pale, and rosy face. It’s good to be back. She takes out her smartphone and scrolls through her social media; her attention broken as a loud clap occurs.
“My man,” says the deep voice. She peeks to her right, watching as her mystery man exchanges handshakes with an older Italian gentleman; unable to do anything as the brunette hovers around him. Why does she have to be there? She hears a car pull up to her left and looks, smiling her pearly whites at Clarissa in her black Range Rover. Rolling her suitcase along the path, she approaches and opens the back passenger side door, sliding the suitcase across the creamy white leather. She closes it and opens the front passenger side door; met with a cheeky scarlet red smile, from her elegantly stunning, blonde bestie.
“How was your first trip to England?” asks Clarissa.
She looks through the gap of the open door, observing the three enter a Rolls Royce Phantom. “It was good,” she unenthusiastically says.
Clarissa follows her eyes and looks at the phantom. “Are you going to get in?”
She snaps out of it and looks to her. “Oh sorry.” Hit with the pine air freshener, she shuts the door and fastens her seatbelt. Pulling away from the curb, she watches as they drive past them, continuing to observe from the wing mirror. Smaller, and smaller, they fade; her stomach sinking as the odds of ever seeing him again may as well be zero.
Clarissa taps her thumbs against the steering wheel amongst the silence. “How was it then?”
Entering onto Interstate 678, she leans against the window and observes the speeding cars. “Yeah, it was ok.” She looks up at the orange sky and sighs. She turns to her. “Actually, no it wasn’t ok.”
Clarissa keeps her eyes on the road, looking in the reverse mirror as she switches lanes and gulps. She had a feeling this was coming. “It happens. Look at my parents.”
Arabella leans forwards and places her flushed cheeks in her dainty palms, staring down at her feet. “Your mom didn’t cheat on your dad though.” Thinking about her dad and his new wife, she can’t help but feel anger; it’s like both her parents have forgotten about her, whilst they go onto create their own lives. “Maybe, I’m just overreacting.”
Clarissa nods and hits the play button, adjusting the volume to low as she bops her head to the catchy club remix. “Exactly,” she says, and risks their lives as she casts her naughty look at her. “Did you lose your virginity to any British guys then?”
She rolls her eyes. What is it with her and sex all the time? “Noooo.”
Clarissa raises her eyebrow at her unconvincing tone. “Arabella Harper!”
“What? I actually didn’t.” She raises her dainty hand over her cupid lips and looks to her. “I did kiss a guy though.”
Clarissa drops her jaw, looking into the reverse mirror as she attempts to switch lanes again. “And you’ve only just told me?”
“It only just happened.” She reaches into her cross-shoulder bag and retrieves her blush pink lip gloss, pulling down the sun protector mirror.
“On the plane,” she switches to her bottom lip, “in the bathroom.”
“Where has the innocent Arabella gone,” and looks to her, “who waits for her soulmate?”
“So I go in to do my makeup and I forgot to lock the door. He walks in and I thought he was just going to notice me and be like oops. Instead he saw me and closes the door. Then he picks me up—”
Clarissa raises her eyebrow. “What! Are you ok?”
Oh my god. Shut up and let me finish. “You didn’t let me finish. He’s not a predator. He was with a girl who looked like me, so he thought I was her.” She puckers her lips and closes the gloss, as Clarissa sits in silence processing this absurdity. “Oh… as for the kiss, he slammed me against the door.”
Clarissa widens her eyes. “You absolute animal, Miss Harper!” Arabella breaks into a giggle and slaps her arm. “I think your nickname should be changed from A to mile-high club, or MHC.”
She yawns. “Funny. I’m going to catch a quick nap.” She reclines the leather seat back. “I think the jetlag has already set in.”
Pulling up outside Arabella’s apartment block on Cypress Avenue, located on the corner of East 137th, Mott Haven, Clarissa shuts off the engine and looks to the sleeping beauty. “We’re here now.” No answer. “We’re here now!” and watches her bloodshot eyes slowly open.
“That was… quick,” she yawningly says and sits up. “Thanks for picking me up. Any plans for tonight?”
Clarissa looks in the reverse mirror and fixes her hair. “I’m off to the opening of Devils nightclub with Beatrice, then off to Miami for two weeks in the morning to see Father.”
She unfastens her seatbelt and looks to her. “Wait, are you missing B’s wedding?” She grips the door handle. “Also, what’s going on with the shop?”
“Apparently she wanted a small wedding. So I’ll be back on the day and I’ll pick you up for the reception in the evening… and don’t worry about the shop. I’ve hired cover so the wedding flowers are being taken care of. You just relax and I’ll see you when I’m back.”
“Sounds good,” she says, and opens the door. Stepping out onto the sidewalk, she opens the back door and retrieves her suitcase. She slams the door and leans back in for a hug. “Thanks for the lift. Have fun tonight and I’ll see you in two weeks.” She releases her and exits. “Don’t be a slut and make sure to text me.”
Clarissa looks back to her with a naughty look. “I still can’t believe you kissed someone. Who even are you anymore?”
She giggles. “I’m still an innocent angel,” she says, as she flutters her eyelashes. She slams the door and waves through the tinted window. “Byeeee.”
Listening to Clarissa fade into the nightlife, Arabella looks at the church in front, sniffing the sewage air. London smelt better. She turns around and lugs her suitcase up the graphite grey, seven step staircase, reaching into her tanned brown cross-shoulder bag at the top and retrieving her keys to unlock the rusted, black community gate. She ascends the outside staircase of the redbrick apartment block, and turns right, listening to the filthy pleasure from her neighbours open window. Walking through the communal door, she steps onto the burgundy carpet and looks at her creamy white apartment door, number one; first on the right. Sliding her key into the lock, she peeks left at her chattering neighbours under the staircase.
“Looking sexy tonight, Miss Harper,” says her neighbour.
She opens the door and enters her modern white wall, L shaped apartment, hitting the light switch and wheeling her suitcase along the light brown carpet. She lifts it onto the cream white couch to the right of the entrance and throws her bag on top of it. Hmmm… maybe I should. Fuck it! Retracing her steps, she pops her head out the door, her heart racing as her lips tremor. “Y-Y-You… look like shit tonight, Jerry!” She slams the door and bursts into a giggling fit, kicking off her caramel sandals and walking her bare feet onto the shaggy cream rug in the center; the fluffy fur caressing between her toes, as she gazes into the standing mirror next to the couch. Dropping her playsuit beneath her, she slides her hands down her hourglass figure. Not bad. Turning around, she looks back into the reflection, bouncing her cheeks up and down. Must work on that more. Raising her left hand, she releases the hairclip; shaking her head as her brunette locks unleash their thickness around her beauty bones. Walking back over to the couch, she grabs her smartphone from her bag and hits the light switch, using the torch on her phone as she walks straight ahead to her queen size bed, facing the kitchen. Ahhh comfort. Time to text Beatrice. “Just got back, have fun tonight with C. Wish I could have come but super tired. I will see you in two weeks at the wedding reception xx.” She leans over to the oak side table to her left and places her smartphone on charge before laying back with the duvet smothered over her. Sinking into the fluffy pink pillow, she shuts her eyes. Welcome to the Mile High Club… why did she have to be there! Those eyes were so beautiful. Please, please, please god, if you’re out there or whoever, let me meet him again. It’s all I ask.
Five hours later, the dark apartment shines from the backlight of her smartphone; the light sleeper in her catching the vibrations. Opening her eyes, she reaches for her phone and holds it away from her face, as she hits the unlock button. Adjusting her eyes, she opens the text from Clarissa.
“OMG. Just kissed this 11/10 guy at the nightclub. So hot!!!”
Gazing over herself in her apartment, Arabella slides her dainty hands down her tightly fitted white dress; the tight wrap showing off her perfect hourglass. Fixing her wavy brunette hair, she hears Clarissa beep her horn and panics. Make up? Check! Hair? Check! Dress? Check! Shoes? Check! Bag? Where the hell is it? She looks over to the couch, spotting the brown strap hiding under the fluffy pillow. There you are. She puts it on and assumes her position. “Make up? Check! Hair? Check! Dress? Check! Shoes? Check! Bag? Check!” She exhales a sigh of relief. The horn beeps again; this time never ending as Clarissa holds it down. Wtf is wrong with her! Rushing out the door, she descends the outside staircase into the summer’s evening warmth.
“Can you tell your friend to shut the hell up!” shouts the neighbour, from their window.
She gulps. Reaching the car, she opens the door and looks at C. “Will you stop that!”
Clarissa starts the engine. “Took your sweet time…”
With her cheeks rosy, red, she climbs in and fastens her seatbelt. “Just drive.” Hitting the gas, they reverse straight into the parked car behind; the back of their heads feeling the force, as their hearts race. “Oh my god! What is wrong with you today?”
Clarissa rolls her eyes and switches into drive, pushing down on the gas and leaving the wreckage behind as they veer right, onto East 137th. “I doubt they even noticed, probably just a scratch.” Arabella exhales her frustration; the last thing she needs is a neighbour slipping a repair bill under her door. It would be the death of her bank account. “The wedding gifts in the back in case you were wondering,” says Clarissa.
She looks behind at a large, hot pink, ribboned box. Thank god for that. “Well I’m glad you remembered because I’ve been so busy with work.” Shit! Why did I say that?
Clarissa raises her eyebrow, keeping her eyes on the road whilst looking back and forth at her. “Wait! You didn’t take the two-week break?”
She gulps. “I was bored, after a day of binge-watching crap, I didn’t know what else to do! So, I just sort of just went to work.”
“You seriously need to lose your virginity already. Like what are you waiting for?”
Oh piss off. “Soon! I’m going to close my eyes for a moment, it’s been a hectic morning.”
Reclined back in the comfy leather, she imagines a figment outline of the tall, dark, and handsome man from the plane. He raises his right hand. “Come closer,” he seductively whispers, and signals to come here with his index finger. She can’t resist, step, by step, she moves closer, as he stands in his white unbuttoned shirt. She takes his veiny hands and curls her dainty fingers between his, pressing her body against his hardened abs, as he towers over her. “It’s just you and me,” he says, as he presses his forehead against hers. She flutters her eyelashes, her chest drowning in chaos as she deeply exhales, creating a sauna of steam between them, as their green eyes burn their eternal flames. Grazing their noses, she parts her lips, as he starts to—
“Wake up you horny bitch!” shouts Clarissa.
Opening her eyes wide, she looks at the blonde queen. “What the hell?”
Clarissa gives her the look. “You are soooo filthy. Did you know you sleep talk?”
“No I didn’t,” she says, as she looks out at the marble lions. This isn’t the wedding? She looks to her. “Why have we stopped outside the Public Library?”
“Umm… I thought it was here. I tried to text her but no response.”
She pulls out her smartphone. “Ohhhh. I forgot. B text whilst you were away. Since they met in the library, the ceremony had to take place there. Not sure why the sudden change.” She opens her messages from Beatrice. “The ball room at Hotel L’Amour?” She types the address into the satnav. “It’s behind us. Take a left on East 41st and then left onto Madison.”
Driving down Madison Avenue, Arabella looks Clarissa up and down. “Love the white dress by the way.”
“Thanks. It’s a silk slit maxi dress. Only cost $1200.”
She looks away and rolls her eyes. Only… god she is so spoilt. Unlocking her smartphone, she scrolls through her messages with Clarissa; the last two weeks have been non-stop going on about that guy from the club. “You haven’t mentioned that eleven out of ten yet?”
“Don’t get me going again…” Trying to remain focused on the road, she struggles to concentrate as her club experience intrudes. “Fine! He was just so hot. Not just hot… next level hot... like godly hot.”
She looks at the satnav, as they pass East 61st street. “You’ve missed the turning?”
Clarissa shakes her head. “That’s your fault.” Continuing along, they turn left onto East 66th, and onto 5th Avenue. Enjoying the gift of darkness as it sweeps the evening sky, they soak up the vibrant colors as Manhattan’s city lights create that warm, magical feeling. Reaching the towering hotel, they swing left into the porte-cochere and join the other guests, slowly rolling along the neon white lit, red cobbled brick lane, as they reach the center. She looks out her passenger side window, as two red coated valets approach. “This reminds me of Vegas,” says Clarissa, as she gazes out her window at the extravagantly large, stone fountain.
“I’ve never been,” she says, as the redcoat open her door and holds out his sparkling white glove. She takes his hand and climbs out; her rose gold heels touching the crowded, grey sidewalk as he escorts her to safety. “Thank you,” she says, and smiles her pearly whites at him. Joined by the blonde princess, they turn around and stare goodbye as the valet sets off to park the Range Rover in the underground carpark. I wonder how long it’ll take her to realize she’s left the gift in the backseat.
“Clarissa?” shouts the groomsman, from the top of the hotel entrance.
Looking at the blonde queen, Arabella peeks over her shoulder, and widens her green eyes, as he descends the staircase. “Why is B’s brother calling you?” Let me guess. They slept together. That’s disgusting.
Clarissa sighs and turns around, with a fake smile. “Bret. Fancy seeing you here,” she says, and signals her blue eyes left at him.
“You didn’t return my—” He catches on and looks to Arabella, then back to her. “Hey Arabella. Didn’t see you there.”
This is so awkward. “Hey.” She looks to Clarrisa. “I’ll leave you two alone, so I’ll meet you in there,” she says, and gives her a look of disgust.
Making her way through the congregating guests, she walks along the Lyon red carpet and stops to look up through the glass overhead roof, appreciating the grand architecture as she scales the hotels mirrored exterior design and extravagant size. Holding onto the gold railing, she ascends the four, fresh white steps, elegantly smiling her beauty at the redcoat doormen; their white gloves each holding a golden handle, either side, of the expensive gold framed doors.
“Welcome to Hotel L’Amour,” they say, and pull it open.
“Thank you,” she says, and steps inside. Holy shit. Hit with warmth, she moves inside the modern, fresh cream spacious white lobby, and looks right, widening her eyes at the exquisite and fine art hanging in gold frames along the right wall; enough to open a local gallery. Why is it all Italian Renaissance though? Gazing left as she moves through the bubbly, chatting guests towards the center, she stares over the stunning blonde receptionist behind the walnut mahogany desk. Avoiding eye contact, as the receptionist catches her, she looks up; her chest sinking in awe as her favourite past time twinkles before her through the sky-high glass ceiling. That’s gorgeous.
“Champagne?” asks the white coat waiter.
“Don’t mind if I do,” says Clarissa, as she rejoins her side and takes a glass.
She grabs a glass. “Why thank you,” she says, and parts her pink glossy lips, swishing the dry fruity flavor around her mouth. She turns to Clarissa with a frown. “What the hell was that?”
“Not now,” she whispers, as the glamourous Tiffany, owner of Brides and Grooms across the street, and her husband Benedict approach.
“This is amazing girls. I couldn’t believe it when we walked in. The mahogany brown skirting, with the modern cream combination is what I’ve been telling him I want in the house for years,” says Tiffany.
Clarissa takes another sip and scales the room. “This sure is some fancy décor. This must have cost a fortune.”
Arabella nods in agreement with her blonde bestie, as the ballroom double doors open straight ahead of them.
Benedict, not one for being last, looks at all the guests moving. “Yes, well Tiff, ladies, it’s quite something. On that note, let’s find our seats, shall we?” He links arms with Tiffany and smiles at them. “Enjoy the night girls.” He turns around with his wife and heads for the ballroom.
Nearing the ballroom, with a hallway either side, Arabella looks to the right side and raises her eyebrow, silently sipping away as she observes a man dressed in a black suit, guarding a control panel like a Doberman on a stool, next to a set of steel doors. Hmmm… rather suspicious. She looks left, as they reach the ballroom entrance, looking at the blood red carpeted hallway. I wonder where that leads.
“Please find your allocated seats. Your names will be written on the cards. Enjoy your evening,” says the doorman.
She smiles and passes through the double, gold framed doors, following behind Clarissa as they walk along the walnut glossed floor, hit with a sprinkle of nostalgia as the fond memory of her prom rushes back. Deeper into the room, that nostalgia fades drastically. Who in their right mind would design this? Walking amongst the crystal glass rounded tables, she looks to her left and raises her eyebrow. Why is the room lit a winter blue with summer mural walls? This is dreadful. She lavishes up the pastel pink and blue hydrangea smell, scattered across the summer mural walls with banquets of extravagant flowers from every part of the globe; compliments of her and the Campbell empire. Arriving at table five, she looks up at the icy, tiered pendant, chandelier, hanging from the maple ceiling, and takes her seat, positioned to the left of her bestie. “Why is it winter themed with a summer mural?”
“They met in winter obviously,” says Clarissa, as she swoons over the magical room. “This is so dreamy. B has really outdone herself this time. God I’m going to have to do bigger and better on my day.”
The white coat waiter reappears. “Champagne?” They can’t possibly resist, as they both take two and sip away.
Giggling away on the copious amounts of flowing champagne, the room falls silent as the newly wedded couple, Beatrice and Tristram Levington, make their way onto the stage in front, from the side entrance, and take their seats in the middle of the long table, overlooking the floor. Beatrice waves to them both wearing a white drop-waisted wedding dress to die for; its delicate lace bodice, and appliques beautifully crafted throughout the skirt, with a halo-style headpiece to compliment her brunette wavy curls.
Tristram, in his traditional black tuxedo, picks up his glass and taps it with his fork twice, creating a ringing noise. “Thank you all for coming. Today marks a significant moment in the Levington history, for not only did my darling wife and I meet six years ago, on this very day, but that my parents also married on this day.”
Arabella lowers her glass from her lips and leans into Clarissa. “They didn’t meet in the winter?” she whispers.
“I’m such an idiot. Blame the champagne.”
She leans back and looks around the spinning room, squinting her eyes at the ballroom entrance. She sits confused and curious as a well-dressed man with his arms crossed leans against the entrance and watches the speech. Who is that? She refocuses on the speech.
“— you all enjoy the night, drink as much as you can, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the gifts.”
Clarissa widens her eyes and leans into her. “I forgot the gift. I’m terrible,” she whispers.
She spits out her champagne into the glass. “Ha-ha, I’m sorry,” and places the glass down, “let’s go get it.” She stands and follows the clutz to the entrance. Where’s he gone?
Waiting on the ranch brown, leather couch, in the lobbies waiting area, artwork side, Arabella leans forwards and places her flushed cheeks in her dainty hands. The alcohol starts to kick in. Christ… I need air. Peeking to her right, she looks at the guard again. He hasn’t moved a muscle. With her overheated, raspberry colored face dripping, she looks across to the left side of the ballroom and reads the small hanging sign. Garden this way. Yes please. She stands and follows the carpet to the end and turns right, looking down the long, glossed white hallway. This is long. Managing to not stumble, she reaches a silver door. Gripping the crystal handle, she twists and opens it. She gasps. Oh my god. Oh my god. Stepping out onto the oak wood decking, as the evening breeze cools against her sweaty skin, she approaches the panoramic glass railing and leans over. It’s so beautiful. Silently gazing out at the highly exquisite and well-lit garden, enriched with rare flowers and vibrant colors, she hears the flick of a zippo lighter. Glancing left, she observes a deep, blue flame amongst the shadows; the cherry embers of the cigar burning a deep fiery red, as the thick white smoke rises around their face. Well that’s not creepy at all. With her guard up, she faces front and peeks over, watching and listening as his penny loafers tap along the hard oak floor.
He leans over the glass railing on the other side, in his tightly fitted custom, black suit and looks out into the garden. “If only this garden looked half as good as you,” he seductively says. She discreetly scans the area for others, as he stubs his Cuban cigar out in the ashtray on the glass table and steps along the decking. Approaching her, he takes a sharp left and descends the two steps into the garden; her heart racing as she stares at the back of his black hair and observes him strolling deeper along the path. Stopping halfway, he points to a neatly arranged flower bed. “What’s this one called?”
Let’s just answer then go back inside. “Umm… a Juliet Rose.”
“Juliet?” He crouches down and delicately brushes its beauty. “I guess that would make me Romeo wouldn’t you say?”
She places her dainty hand over her lips and giggles. Control yourself. “I mean… it’s an extremely rare flower though.”
“Extremely rare you say. What if I’m rarer?” he charmingly asks and stands up.
She bursts into laughter. “I’m so sorry, but where did you—”
The garden fills with a loud gasp, as he spins around with his hands in his pockets and smirks. Locking his devilish gaze into her, he slowly trails back up the path, as she stands frozen. Ascending the steps, he turns left, as she turns to him. “The next time you want to selfishly gasp in a garden Dakota, spare a thought for those poor insects and their families you disturbed this time of evening.” He spins around and walks towards the glass table, holding in his chuckle with his tongue pressed against his cheek, as she stands there in shock. Looking down at the ashtray, he’s surprised by her silence – usually it’s insults. Turning to face her, he approaches. Towering over her, she looks up and flutters her lashes; their eyes reigniting their green flames as they lock. “You’re not Dakota?”
She shakes her brunette locks. “Arabella—”
“Harper.” He leans into her ear. “Must be fate,” he whispers. She struggles to contain her tingling sensation, drowning in a whirlwind of pleasure as his woody spiced cologne leaks from his exposed, veiny neck. Exhaling against his clean shave, she grabs his left wrist and guides his hand to her champagne lips. He presses his forehead against hers; their eyes connecting as she softly bites down on his thumb and soaks her moist lips around it. She breathes heavily; her chest exploding in waves of sensational flutters as his stifling complexion teases. He brushes her glowing cheek with his right thumb and curls his fingers; the stimulating touch of his fingertips shooting through her, as he sweeps her brunette waves behind her ear. Removing his thumb from her succulent lips, he brushes along her other cheek; the smell of her sweet perfume hitting him, as she moves her wet lips closer.
“Kiss me,” she passionately whispers.
Grazing against her cupid lips, he whispers, “Whilst I would love too, you’re drunk.”
“What’s your—” They both look to the garden door. He steps back, as the handle turns.
Clarissa bursts through the door and looks to her. “There you are. You’ve been ages.” Arabella smiles at her blonde friend and hints with her eyes in his direction. “What are you…” Turning her head left, she widens her crystal blue eyes, as her heart starts racing.
With a sexy smirk, he slowly steps towards her, closer, and closer, brushing his suit jacket against her smooth skin, leaving her in a tease as his fragrance hits. Opening the door, he turns around and uses his muscles as a doorstop. With all eyes on him, he looks down at his white shirt. “What do you prefer? One or two buttons undone?” He looks up; his godly complexion locking on to Arabella, as Clarissa blushes.
“Enjoy the evening ladies.” He winks to her and turns around; disturbing the gardens nature as he lets the door slam behind him.
Clarissa turns to her. “Why was he here?”
She raises her arms. “Do you know him?”
“That’s the man from the club,” she says, and takes a seat on the glass bench, left of the door. Arabella gulps. Should I tell her? She swears an oath of silence and takes a seat next to her, gazing out into the garden through the glass panel, as the champagne flows through them. “Did he like say anything to you, about me?” asks C.
“Why would he? We’ve just met,” she says and stares up at the twinkling display. Why does she always have to ruin everything!
“Did he tell you his name? I need to find his socials.”
No. You ruined my chance! “He didn’t say.”
Listening to the garden’s nature chirp and buzz, as the champagne effect hits, they close their tipsy eyes and rest; each enjoying their own version of the mysterious man.
Squinting her bloodshot eyes as her alarm rings, Arabella rolls over in her dawn lit apartment bed and reaches over to the oak side table; desperate to turn it off as her head pounds from last night. Restoring the crisp silence, she returns to her sleeping position. Her phone vibrates. She sighs and rolls over again, unhooking it from its charger and unlocking the screen; the bright light blinding her, as she opens the message.
“Hope you got home safe,” texts Clarissa.
How did I get home? She sits up and drops the phone on the duvet; panicking as she inspects her body. Everything seems ok. She looks around the bright, muggy room. Everything seems fine to me. She wipes the sweat from her forehead, and leans forwards, resting her puffy face in her petite hands. I feel like shit. How much did I drink?
Finding the energy to stand, she stretches and yawns. Moving to the kitchen, she opens the refrigerator and grabs a green juice. I was on the bench and then? Quenching her dry throat, she places the empty bottle on the granite, kitchen counter and retrieves her smartphone. “How did I get home exactly?” she texts Clarissa. She looks at the time, 08:30. Maybe I should call in sick… better not actually. She opens the local cab app. 9:30 is a good time. Attempting to pay, an alternative option to use crypto currency appears. Intrigued, she clicks and waits. What the… A reading dog. I can pay with a dog. Finding humor amongst the confusion, she converts her dollars to BookShib and is redirected to the payment screen. She taps the book cab option. I can’t believe I’ve just paid with a dog lol. Chucking it on the bed, she enters the bathroom and leans into the shower, hitting the power button. She heads back to the mirror and undresses. You look awful.She turns around and re-enters; the room heated like a sauna, as she steps onto the dark white shower tray and slides the steamed glass door shut. She spins around and stands under the hot pressure. Mmhhmmmm. With the steam building around her tight skin, she bends over and reaches for the shower gel; her peachy ass leaving an imprint on the panel as she stands. I can’t believe it was him. Closing her eyes, she lets her imagination run wild - his drop-dead gorgeous complexion, the smell of his cologne, and his words, all overwhelming her. Flicking open the cap, she hovers it over her soft, rounded breasts and lets it rain. Dropping the bottle, she cups them; creating a silky foam as she caresses them. Catching her rosy nipples between her spread fingers, she bites down on her sultry bottom lip; the desire to moan building as her body stimulates to her sensational twisting. The apartment door knocks. She stops and sighs. Who is that now?
Only half dry, she races to her wardrobe. Slipping on a white tee shirt and hot pink G-string, she opens the door and raises her eyebrow at her dissatisfied, mature neighbour, Barbara.
“Sorry, I was in the shower,” she says, and looks over her curly light brown hair and tacky leopard print dress.
“I can see that dear.”
Following her eyes, she looks down; her eyes and mouth widening, as her hardened nipples show through the soaked fabric. She gulps. “I am so embarrassed!”
Barbara flicks her hand. “It’s fine dear. The reason to have disturbed you so early is because someone has crashed into my car. I know it can’t be you of course sweetie, as you don’t drive, but I was just wondering, since your apartment is looking out onto the street, whether you happened to of noticed anything?”
The whiplash moment of Clarissa crashing pops into her mind. “No, I didn’t see anything. How bad is it. I hope it’s just a scratch?”
Barbara shakes her head. “I’m afraid it’s a little bit more than a scratch dear. Sorry for bothering you anyway. If you hear anything let me know. I’m just above.”
Slamming the door on the old woman, she races to her bed and grabs her smartphone. She is unbelievable. She hits dial on Clarissa. Listening to it ring, she answers. “You are unbelievable! Do you know that?”
“Hey, I’m sort of busy. Did you get my text?”
She looks in the mirror. “Nooo? I was too busy dealing with a neighbour!” she furiously says.
“Get down the shop already. Father decided he liked the idea so much that he has already updated the company website and found a supplier for the eternity roses. They are being delivered soon. Sooo, get your ass down there, ASAP!”
Panicking, she rummages around the room for clothes. “Are you not already there?”
“No, that’s a long story. I think the car valet last night must have reversed into something, I have a right mind to sue, but anyway, getting that fixed so won’t be in today!” The line cuts off.
Is she serious? She throws her smartphone on the bed and shakes her head in disbelief. Facing the mirror, she peels the soaked top from her moist skin; her breasts bouncing as the tight fabric catches her rosy tips. They’ve got bigger.
Clipping her thick, brunette hair up, as the cab waits outside, she does one last mirror check, looking summery in her pastel pinky white playsuit, and tanned brown gladiator sandals. She grabs her cross-shoulder bag from the couch and exits her apartment. Descending onto the sidewalk, as the summer breeze sweeps her rosy, glowing skin, she walks towards the yellow cab and climbs in the back.
“What happened to that?” asks the driver, as he stares at the wreckage. She shakes her head in silence, feeling nothing but shame for poor Barbara.
Driving along 5th Avenue, she stares out at Central Park, wondering about the mysterious man. What’s his name? Why was he in the garden? He wasn’t a guest at the wedding. He wasn’t dressed as staff. Pulling up along East 90th Street, she smiles to the driver and exits the cab. She’s already paid on the app. Reaching into her bag, she retrieves her keys and looks through the large window into the empty lounge of the meadowy green exterior shop front. Walking to the door; right side of the window, she listens to the morning traffic pass behind her as she unlocks the door. Entering the Campbell enterprise, she flicks both switches to her left – the lights to the shop, and the bright gold sign reading ‘Campbell and Co’ on the exterior front. Moving inwards along the grey carpet, she places her keys on the glass counter straight ahead and turns left into the open lounge, throwing her bag over the glass coffee table and onto the chocolate brown, leather couch.
Sitting behind the glass counter, she opens a business email. Oh my god! The shop fills with clapping as her excitement takes over. Grabbing her smartphone with a wide smile, she messages Clarissa. “We have our first order!!!” She places it back on the glass and looks straight ahead, smiling as an older, grey haired, suave gentleman enters the shop. Using his back as a door stop, he stands with a box in his hand, allowing two exceedingly attractive blonde women squeeze past him with their hands also full of extravagance.
Letting the door swing behind him, he approaches the counter. “Hello. I have spoken to your father, I’m the supplier for the Eternity Rose. Where would you have us put these beauties?”
“They really are beautiful,” she says, and points to the archway door between her and the lounge. “Just in the back if you don’t mind.” The two girls descend the creaky wooden steps into the workshop and carefully place them on the large wooden table. Making their way back onto the shopfloor, they smile to Arabella and wave goodbye, leaving the older gentleman alone with her.
He scales the room with his hands clasped. “A mighty fine establishment, Mr. Campbell has here. You must be Clarissa.”
She shakes her head sideways. “I’m afraid not. I’m her best friend and colleague. We went to floristry school together.”
He nods his head. “I am impressed. I hope you enjoy the exquisite, and truly immaculate, Eternity Rose. I will be delivering them every fortnight. My name is Peter Hoffman, and yours if I may ask?”
She pleasantly smiles. “Arabella Harper.”
“Arabella, what a sophisticated name. Nice to meet you.” He turns around and grips the silver door handle. “I will see you soon, Miss Harper.”
“Bye,” she says, and waits for him to exit. Racing down into the workshop, she hovers over the beauties, and deeply inhales their divine floral scent. This is heaven. With no time to waste, she prepares the first order. Delicately removing the twenty-four-karat gold dipped roses from their resting spot, she places a dozen onto the special clear bouquet wrap, encrusted with a white gold trim to enhance the luxurious feel. Turning around on the stone floor, she opens the wooden draw and retrieves a gold florist ribbon. Creating a perfect floral bow around the bouquet, she smiles and returns to the laptop for the delivery address - located on the west side of Hudson Yards - Manhattan’s gated community of wealth. Worried the delivery driver will mess up, she takes zero chances and books a cab with her BookShib on the local app.
Wrapped and ready to go, she locks up the shop and proceeds to the back of the taxi, holding her babies in her hands tight. Opening the back door, she delicately positions the flowers on the middle seat and carefully slides in.
The driver looks over the seat and sniffs. “They are incredibly strong.”
She smiles and looks down at them. “Yes. Words can’t describe these,” she excitedly says, as the driver pulls away from the curb.
Looking back in the reverse mirror, the driver says, “My wife would love them. I’ll pop into your shop next valentines’ day.”
Staring out the window from the backseat, she looks up at the tall, skyscrapers; the summer rays reflecting its godly shine off the world’s elite. The cab pulls up. “Could you wait here? I need a lift back to the shop after this.”
“Yes, that’s fine.”
She opens the door and steps out smelling of roses. Turning around, she leans back inside and lifts the bouquet from its resting place, as the summer breeze sweeps the back of her glowing legs. She closes the door and approaches the black community gate. She presses the buzzer. No one answers. She rings again. No answer! She peeks through the thick black bars that hides the elite in their luxury. Please answer. She tries one last time and patiently waits, as her nerves simmer. No. No. This can’t be happening. Not on the first order. Unable to leave them, she whips out her smartphone and opens the order, examining the confirmation email. She widens her eyes at the billing address and rushes back to the car. “Change of plan. Do you mind if we go to another location please?” she asks, as she places them in the middle seat and slides in.
He takes a sip of his ice-cold water. “What’s the address?”
She shuts the door and looks at her phone. “Hotel L’Amour on Fifth Avenue.” The cab sets off again.
“Just to make you aware, I’m clocking off after so you will have to arrange another lift back to the shop.”
“No problem.” She reinspects the address, gulping as her anxiety kicks in. It doesn’t mention a room number. Seriously. Why is it always me?
Pulling up in the cobble lane, the driver leans over his seat and takes a final whiff. “Gorgeous. It says you’ve paid for the first trip already. Consider this one a freebie. I’m feeling generous today.”
She smiles, as the red coat valet approaches. “Wow. Thank you so much.” The door opens. She takes his white glove and climbs out. Standing on the sidewalk, she waits as the valet retrieves her flowers and hands them to her with a smile. “Thank you.” She turns around and ascends the steps, listening to the fountains soothing flow bounce off the glass roof. She smiles to the doormen, as they open the grand entrance to match her pace. Holding the roses tightly, she steps onto the freshly waxed, white marble floor and approaches the reception to her left. Placing the bouquet on the mahogany desk, she smiles to the blonde receptionist.
“Welcome to Hotel L’Amour. What is the nature of your visit today?”
She looks at her nametag. What’s with the high pitch voice Chloe. “I work in a florists called Campbell, and Co, and we received an order. No one was at the delivery address. The billing address is registered to here. There isn’t a room number though so I wondered if you could help?”
Chloe smiles. “One moment please.” She picks up the reception phone and places her hand over her mouth, nodding away. She hangs up and smiles. “Please enjoy your visit,” she says and turns around.
She raises her eyebrow. What? She didn’t even say anything. Hearing footsteps approach her, she turns around. It’s the guard from last night.
“Please follow me, Miss.” She grabs the roses and follows the black haired, muscly guard towards the steel doors. He sounds Italian. He presses the control panel and retakes his seat. The steel doors reveal their secret, as they slowly open. It’s an elevator. “Please step in!”
“Umm… where is this taking me?” He says nothing. It can’t be that bad. It’s a hotel. She enters and turns around, watching the lobby light fade in the reflection, as the steel doors shut. Jesus! She flinches, almost dropping the flowers as the lift floods with devil red lighting. Feeling the force beneath her feet, her ascent begins. Looking left, then right, she turns around. What the hell? She’s in grandiose heaven, as three mirror walls capture every feature of her; only the devil himself would be this vain.
“Welcome to floor one-hundred. The Penthouse,” says the recorded, seductively, deep and sexy sounding woman. The doors begin to open. Blinded by an intense burst of sunshine through the opening gap, she rapidly blinks, adjusting her eyes as the black and white interior reveals itself; a cooling touch to keep out the heat. She steps onto the black, and white, large tiles, and scales the right side, a veneer white wall with even more Italian Renaissance art, as a strong mixture of cologne hits her. Directly ahead, a glass door attached to the back wall. Unable to see more, she walks inwards and reaches the corner wall, scaling it right to left. This is… wow, classy. Continuing straight ahead, she approaches the sliding glass door. Her jaw drops. Widening her almond eyes, she observes through the glass at the starry black, glossed terrace overlooking Central Park, fit with a swimming pool in the center.
She breaks out of her drooling state and looks left, met with one long Tuscany cream leather couch positioned along the glass wall – a shorter version either side of it, all facing inwards towards a glass coffee table standing on a cream white, Persian rug in the center. She turns around and walks along the back of the short couch, and turns right, and right again, along the Persian rug, placing the bouquet on the glass table before sitting on the long couch; the need for a sunbed unnecessary, as the sunshine reflects from behind. She leans back and spreads her arms across the top. Relaxing in comfort, she looks straight ahead at the red brick wall fireplace and a long-stretched mirror above it, enjoying her own reflection, as she patiently waits for the owner.