Bella curls up in bed, next to her husband, the sun is just rising and she spent the better part of the morning watching it rise before returning to bed. The conversation she didn’t have with her sisters weighed heavily on her mind. She felt like a coward for doing what she did, dropping the bomb and hanging up the phone, she could have handled it better. Still, now they know.
The past forty-eight hours have been a blur, the past weekend actually, a crazy type of blur that would give anyone a whiplash. Did she really do that? Get married to a man she met just three days ago? She looks down at her hand, her left hand, third finger, no ring, just a tattoo. Bloody hell she got a tattoo of the date to mark the occasion; that is her ring. He’d gotten one too. In all her life she has never been spontaneous, she is the planner, the over thinker, the analyser, every decision she has taken up until forty-eight hours ago, was carefully researched and informed. And then she met Kaiser.
Back to the beginning…
‘Please tell me you have no intentions of working this weekend and you’ll be doing shots with the rest of us?’ Ari says to her best friend as they boarded the plane on the way to her wedding. Everyone else is on board. Bella is that friend, loyal, kind, caring, loving, would do anything for her nearest and dearest possibly take a bullet for you if it came to that. She loves her to pieces, and Ari counts herself lucky to call her a best friend. Even with her newspaper and crazy work days she did not miss one event for this wedding.
‘I promise. I’m going to do everything on the plane and as soon as we touch down, I am all yours.’ Knowing Ari and Ben this weekend will be one to remember because they have spared no expense. She spoke to Sloane just before coming out, and her baby sister had given her a much needed pep talk, her partner in crime growing up. In another life, another time, she would be on this plane with her.
They walked into a noisy first class cabin to take their seats, Benjamin, the groom, and his friends are already causing a raucous in the cabin. Their poor fellow passengers.
‘Kaiser’s here.’ Ari whispers. ‘I didn’t think he was coming out with us he’s normally so busy. It’s a miracle he is coming to the wedding.’
‘Who is Kaiser?’ Bella asks, glancing briefly at Ari as she put away her luggage.
‘The very handsome one, crew cut, incredible amber eyes, sexy chocolate.’
Bella spared her friend a glance, ‘you’re getting married.’
‘It doesn’t mean I’m dead.’
Kaiser was talking to Ben, laughing at something funny they were sharing. Ari was right, he’s the very handsome one in a crew of very handsome men, but she was not in the mood for handsome men at the moment, nothing of the sort is on her mind right now. She settled into her seat, whilst Ari went over to her fiancé, fired up her laptop and watched her emails download. The newest ones from her accountant who definitely does not have any good news for her. She clicked open the latest, with the red exclamation mark that annoyed her so in that moment, and as she predicted, it was nothing good.
‘That’s a big sigh.’
Bella looked up from her laptop, Kaiser was in the seat next to hers. ‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Sorry I didn’t mean to pry but your sigh was rather heavy. Is everything okay?’
Bella thought his question odd. Brits are not good with emotional stuff, that stiff upper lip thing, emotions are meant for closed doors. ‘Yes I’m fine thanks.’
‘Champagne for you madam?’ An air-hostess asked Bella.
‘No thank you.’
Kaiser observed his fellow passenger, her every reaction was apparent in that furrow of her brow, she didn’t even know she had a tell; that slight frown that did nothing to hide how stunning she was. He noticed her from the moment she walked in with Ari, not least because Ari was the bride and a good friend of his. He wasn’t supposed to be on the plane but last minute changes saw to that. His childhood friend is getting married, he was looking forward to the weekend away before the madness of the new site in Marylebone takes over his life for the next year at least. His brothers all but pushed him on the plane, saying he deserved the break, he’d worked so hard on this project, in a way it was his father’s dream before he passed away suddenly last year. His dear old dad. He misses him a lot especially that it is coming up to Christmas. He died almost a year ago, three days will make one year since he passed and it was hard on everyone in the family. His mother especially. None of them were prepared for it. He still hasn’t come to terms with it. He doesn’t know that he ever will.
I’m Kaiser.’ He introduced himself to his seat mate, and extended his hand to shake hers.
‘Bella. Nice to meet you.’ Although she didn’t think it was. She was not up to socializing, Sod’s law that her best friend is getting married the same time her life is coming apart at the seams. Talk about irony. Somebody please inform Alanis Morissette.
Bella? That Bella? He’d heard about her from Ari. She was only banging on about her best friend to him sometime last year. About her newspaper, how stunning she was…blah, blah, blah. He put it down to typical Ari, always trying to set him up but he wasn’t in the mood for another relationship having just come out of a serious one, and shortly after that his dad died so timing always sucked. But damn… this is that Bella? He almost laughed out loud at himself for being an idiot and not making time to meet her.
‘Nice to meet you too. How long have you known the couple?’
Bloody hell he wanted to make conversation. The last thing 0n her mind right now is making idle chat with someone on a plane. Who does that? ‘I’ve known Ari since secondary school.’ Why couldn’t she be more like Sloane who has no problems telling a stranger she is in no mood for small talk? Ugh. ‘You?’
‘I met her through Ben, we have been friends since kindergarten and played football together. Pretty crazy huh?’
‘The whole wedding thing.’
‘Seems pretty normal to me. You meet someone you fall in love and spend the rest of your life together…it is just what it is.’ Maybe should have had that champagne so she could tune him out.
‘I suppose.’ Kaiser signaled to a hostess.
‘Champagne?’ He asked Bella. ‘You look like you could use a glass of something strong.’
Weird. This is weird. But he was right. ‘Yes please. Thanks.’
‘Two glasses of champagne please, a cheese and meat board- pardon me,’ he turned to Bella again, ‘are you vegetarian or do you have a preference for something else.’
Bella furrowed her brows. ‘Are we on a date I wasn’t aware of?’
Kaiser smiled, ‘we could pretend to be. Whatever happens thirty thousand feet in the air…’
Bella laughed, it felt good to laugh a little and forget her problems for the time. She turned to the air hostess and said, ‘we’ll take a cheese board and some baguettes please in addition to the champagne. Thank you.’ She might as well enjoy the fantasy of her life up in the air before having to face the music of the life down below because sooner or later she is going to have to come clean to her sister and tell them that she is about to lose her company. Her lovely little Saturday newspaper is about to go burst along with all her dreams and their hard work. Kaiser was right, she absolutely must have champagne, this life is better right now.
(Windows- Harvey Nichols)