advent stories XO

Advent Stories #14- Back To Reality

Bella and Kaiser were met at the airport by his brothers, after one week on the run, as Sloane put it, they left their haven in the provincial town of Roussillon and stepped out into the real world waiting on them. Kaiser’s mother was still mad at him, but she’s managed to be kind to Bella when they talked. He hoped they could have dinner when they got back to London but there is still so much unresolved business he wants to handle with his mother. But one thing remained at the end of the week, they still love each other. They only have a life time to go.

‘You ready?’ Kaiser takes her hand as they walk out into the arrival hall at Heathrow. His brothers had insisted on coming to meet them.

‘As I’ll ever be.’

Bella immediately spot both his brothers; their resemblance is easy to tell. Tall just like him, handsome just like him and built just like him, they could easily be mistaken for triplets. They smiled when they saw their brother and exchanged the slightest of glances when they saw Bella.

‘Welcome home trouble.’ One of the brothers said to Kaiser, before giving him a hug. The other hugged him and Bella observed hanging back, they obviously love each other, and she can tell, just like her sisters, they too are quite close. She hoped she hadn’t ruined their relationship.

‘I want to you to meet someone,’ Kaiser gently tugged her forward, ‘Bella these are my brothers, Jesse and Mason. Brothers, this is my wife, Bella Rhodes…well almost Williams now, we still need to go through the legal formalities.’

‘A Rhodes girl.’ Jesse, the older brother notes.

‘What do they say about Rhodes girls?’ Bella asks, and from that look on his face he didn’t think she heard him.

‘Sorry I was just thinking out loud.’

‘I’d like to know what they say was about “Rhodes girls”.’ Some of Sloane’s gumption robbed off on her when they were together.

Mason smiled. His brother has himself a wife who from first impressions will take no shit. Good for him. ‘Please ignore Jesse he tends to speak before he thinks and this early in the morning his brain is still asleep-’

‘I did some research, and from all accounts, you Rhodes girls are trouble.’

‘If you mean opinionated, intelligent and accomplished, yes we are. What you’re not used to being around such accomplished women?’ Bella is on fire. She expected some of this, Kaiser already pre-warned her and she is a Rhodes girls, those girls are known for their trouble making so too bad for the oldest Williams brother she is not going anywhere anytime soon and she is not going to be spoken to or about like that by anyone, brother-in-law or not.

Kaiser gives Jesse a look Bella did not miss, ‘out of your system now?’

‘It’s okay, I get it.’ Bella says trying to diffuse the situation. Sloane hadn’t been so warm towards him either so she figures she deserves this.

‘I’m sorry.’ Jesse apologises, ‘it’s just that my youngest brother marries someone none of us have met, I needed to know your angle is all. And you cannot blame me for being protective.’

‘No I don’t, my sister almost lobbed his head off if it’s any consolation. You should know that I am not with your brother for his money and as hard as it is to believe, I do love him and you’re just going to get in line with that.’

‘Touche.’ Jesse helps them with their luggage. He is very much the older brother used to doing things for his younger brothers, out of love and sometimes obligations. All three brothers stepped into the dad role when their father passed away, assuming roles within the construction business their father owned. Jesse was the GM, Mason got the contracts and Kaiser, head of projects. They are all equal opportunity decision makers.

‘So where to?’ Mason got behind the wheel of the BMW SUV, after they loaded their luggage into the car and all piled in.

‘To Bella’s in Holland Park.’ Kaiser gave Mason the address and he entered it into his navigation system before pulling out to join onward traffic. He squeezed Bella’s arm gently, Jesse is who he is, his older brother but she handled him well and put him in his place.

‘So, this is the point where we ask how you guys met and what not, but I guess we already know the answer.’ Mason says, ‘but my question is where to from here? And please don’t mistake my asking as impertinence, I would just like to know that you both have a plan.’

‘We do.’ Kaiser and Bella say in unison.

‘You tell him, he’s your brother.’ Bella says, left to her she would have told them it is not their place to know but these are siblings who are in each other’s lives so they have a right to know.

‘I have to talk to mom first, I know she’s upset, I’ve been talking to mom-’

‘Bella did you talk to our mother?’ Jesse asks.

‘Yes I did. She was lovely.’

Both brothers laugh.

‘You don’t have to be nice about it, I know mom is no picnic.’ Mason says.

‘No, she was, she was honest but kind about it. I appreciate that.’

‘Have you told your parents?’

‘Just my sisters. I’ll be telling my parents today. Once I’m settled, I have other things to see to.’

‘How do you think your parents would take it?’

‘Much like my sisters have, not easy.’ Bella shrugs. Her mother will raise hell and her father would be disappointed in her. She is not looking forward to that conversation. There is a lot she is not looking forward to in her future but her life needs to be in order, she has spent enough time running away from the realities of her life. No more running from here on out. She is starting a life with someone, she would like to start it on the right footing, honest and open.

Mason pulls up outside her house, in a leafy muse of Holland Park and all three brothers get out of the car. Kaiser grabs her suitcase from the booth.

‘Bella, it was nice meeting and we’ll see you soon.’ Jesse gives her a hug followed by Mason.

‘I really hope this is what you want,’ Mason says, ‘and I wish you all the happiness this brings.’ Mason is obviously the peacemaker in the family.

‘Thank you, the both of you.’

‘I’ll be out soon.’

‘Take your time.’ Jesse says to Kaiser. Both brothers watch them go in.

‘She seems nice.’ Mason says to Jesse. ‘And you kept your cool.’

Jesse shrugs, he’d looked into Bella and her entire family, the Rhodes family are accomplished, father, mother, daughters, the whole lot of them acclaimed in their field. One of their sisters is wife of the tech billionaire Harper Fitzgerald, she one herself and the most in demand brand consultant with the Midas touch, another one an investment lawyer with a firm in Mayfair, and another a celebrated photographer. He’d looked into Bella’s newspaper, she is talented and with her inheritance, very wealthy, so she is most certainly not with Kaiser for money, the Rhodes family are well known, wealthy,- very wealthy- and prominent. It must be love but it is a lot to wrap his head around. He’ll always look out for his brothers, whether or not they want it, that’s how it’s always been, even before their dad died.

‘So here we are.’ Bella showed Kaiser round her house, all three floors, and rooms in between.

‘Here we are.’

‘What happens from here on out?’ Bella needed to hear him say the words.

‘We live our lives Bella. I love you and nothing is going to change that. I need to go talk to my mum I don’t know how long that’ll take but I’ll call you.’

‘Okay.’ She needs to do the same. They have many hoops t jump over.

One last kiss and Kaiser heads out the door.

Bella takes a minute to collect herself and let the events of the past week sink in. She left her home a different woman and returned to it a much different woman. She is shedding one part of her life and entering a new one with a man she has fallen in love with, the rest of her life is ahead of her. ‘But first things first…’ where to begin.