Blu taps her Oyster card and the barriers part to let her through. Walking outside Aldgate Station, a sharp gust of wind blows her freshly washed hair off her face. Christmas is all around, the lights, the decorations, London sparkles, a season for celebration. She walked the back road with a familiarity she’d missed, looks up and there it is- the Gherkin peeking through. It made her giggle she still thinks it looks like an uncomfortable vibrator- an integral part of the London skyline, like a metaphor for the dicks that run the capital.
She arrives at her destination, breezes through the door of 110 Bishopsgate and ascends the lift to the very top floor for Duck and Waffle. Taking in the familiar sights and sounds of the city, the beauty of London from above, stunning as ever. The lift pings open at the very top floor and she makes her way to the reception area bar, the memories of the many good times she’d spent here with her friends, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in between; from the club, to the bar, to her desk…
‘There she is!’ four pairs of hands engulf her in a group hug; her four best friends, they are so excited to see her.
This moment couldn’t have been more perfect as Blu thinks to herself, London it’s good to be home.
This is the first time Blu set her eyes on her friends since returning to London two weeks ago following the debacle and everything else afterwards. Debacle is a gentle way of putting it, she caused a damn disaster that hurt a lot of people. Especially Brodie.
God! Why can’t I speak?! I Blu take thee Brodie… why can’t I say those words?
‘I’m sorry, I can’t do this…I can’t…I’m sorry.’
‘Blu…’ Brodie saw the look in his fiancée’s eyes; fear and confusion but she still loved him, he saw that in there too. Before he had a chance to find out what was going on, his girl bolted.
The collective gasp filled the church like gossiping birds returning home after their busy work day away.
‘Fuck.’ Brodie said in almost a whisper.
The buzz from the congregation grew louder as Blu belted down the aisle. The poor reverend father didn’t know what to do or say, he simply stood there, hands clasped together probably wondering what the fuck just happened. Why the bride suddenly felt the need to re-enact that scene from Runaway Bride. Are vicars meant to watch such films? It’s Julia Roberts, none more wholesome than her so he imagines the Lord will permit them this mere trifle.
Brodie stood rooted to the spot, his mind running after his fiancee but his legs too heavy to move. What even is one meant to do in these types of situations? He looked at his mother; she sat there, unmoved by the chaos unfolding, but his father was up on his feet, his face contorted in confusion as he looked from Brodie to Blu who’d run the length of the church aisle and burst through the doors. Andi looked like she was going to give chase but Blu would give Usain Bolt a run for his money.
This was supposed to be the wedding of their dreams, Blu planned everything to a T. she went as wild with her creativity as possible maybe wilder, the church was set up like a garden of wildest flowers, and that wasn’t even the half of it. Quite literally.
Blu didn’t know how, but she found herself in the back of the waiting Rolls Royce outside the Church. ‘Drive. Just get me the fuck out of here.’
She looked back to see her friends and family starring at the departing car. The look of shock on all their faces. She was shaking with shame. What has she done?
The Manhattan skyline had given way to the prettiest fall landscape as the chauffeur drove them along to goodness knows where. The sun was setting before she noticed they were out of the city; they must have been on the road for a couple of hours. Everything felt so miserable and cold all of a sudden.
‘We have to stop for gas soon ma’am.’ The chauffeur’s king voice interrupted her pity party before it got started; he was in no apparent hurry.
‘Sorry. We probably should, I didn’t catch your name.’
‘Anthony. But you can call me Tony.’
‘Thanks Tony. Let’s stop for gas and I think I should have an idea where we ought to go from there.’ She reached for her phone but realized that everything she owned was in their apartment back in Greenwich Village. She needed a game plan; she was always the one with a plan.
Tony pulled into a gas station and Blu got out whilst he filled the car. She went to the bathroom; a sure sign she was losing her mind because she hates public bathrooms, but now is not the time to think about the absence of life’s conveniences. With water from the tap and harsh paper towels that can only be found in a public facility, she wiped up her makeup, her flawless makeup as applied on her by the makeup artists from Pat McGrath. She needed her entire body to breathe again, starting from her face. Several attempts later she felt clean, face void of any make up. Hair undone from the perfect chignon it was up in, her long natural tresses fell loosely down to her back and her edges thanked her. She removed the lace layer of her wedding gown so it was only the silk slip dress left. The memories of creating this wedding gown with the team at Saint Laurent, killed her. Hours and hours of work had gone into it, endless flights to Paris and what felt like a lifetime of fittings with the requisite mother-daughter crying moments with her best friends and champagne. And now she’d gone and pissed it all away. What the hell was she thinking?! She thought about discarding it but couldn’t bring herself to do so. She’ll send it back to them to put it to better use, hopefully some good will come out of it. Or it would make someone else happy… someday.
‘Get yourself together Blu. What’s your next move?’
That was the fundamental question to which she always has an answer. Blu is a visionary she could see a hundred steps ahead of most, it is why she is so damn good at her job, creating the most phenomenal campaigns for some of the world’s top brands. She always knew the next ten steps to take and she moved at warp speed whilst taking them. If only she knew what to do next; she had no idea what her next steps, following jilting the love of your life at the altar, should be because she’d planned her forever steps with someone else. She felt lost, and so she sat in one of the stalls in the bathroom and cried. Cried out of shame, out of fear and that look on Brodie’s face. He’ll never forgive her. She’ll never forgive herself. But in the end she just couldn’t go through with it. Not because she doesn’t love him, she does, very much so, but after what was said to her shortly before her father walked her down the aisle, she simply couldn’t go through with it. Several people came and went, some knocked on the door to see if she was okay because they could hear the crazy woman crying. Others even slipped money under the door for her. People are inherently good.
Two hours later she walked out of the stall; her next step clear in her mind. First things first, she needed to call her parents, let them know she is okay. A phone, her chauffeur should have one.
As Blu walked out of the bathroom she saw the flashing blue and red lights of the police car and knew they’d come for her.
‘Ms. Braithwaite?’ One officer asked as she approached the Rolls.
‘We got a call from the Governor, who I believe was a guest at your… er…wedding.’
‘He was.’ Blu remained calm.
‘Listen, we got the gist of what’s going on and your folks would just like to know that you are okay.’
‘Can I borrow your phone? I need to make a call.’
‘Of course ma’am.’
The nice officers let her use the phone to call her parents.
As expected her mother was hysterical. Her dear mom who had done nothing to deserve anything of what she’d done. She looked spectacular today, her gele sang to high heaven. She loves Brodie dearly. ‘Mum, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. The police found me I’m with the chauffeur and I’m fine. Let me speak to dad.’ Blu wanted to move on from hearing her mother’s sad voice, the worry got to her and she needed to be clear headed. ‘Dad, I’m okay. I’m sorry.’ Blu said, pre-empting her father’s question. No she is not okay and people need to stop asking her that. ‘Let me speak to Dada please…’ she waited for her best friend and cousin to get on the phone. ‘Hey…No, I’m not good. Still in shock at what I did. How is Brodie?
‘He’s as shocked as we are Blu. Where are you?’
‘I don’t know but I’m safe. I need a favour.’
‘I’ll be at the airport in a couple hours, meet me there with my luggage for the honeymoon, I need to get out of town. I’ll deal with the rest later.’
‘Okay.’ Dada didn’t question her cousin, whatever Blu is feeling, only she knows, and she will not put more pressure on what is an already stressful situation for her cousin. ‘Love you.’
That line made Blu shed a tear. ‘Thank you.’ She needed to know that she was still loved by those whom she loved. Brodie may be a different situation, but these are her people, her kin and Dada knew she needed to hear those words.
She hung up the phone and handed it back to the officers, who waited patiently as she made her call. ‘Thank you very much.’
‘Ma’am are you going to be okay?’ The second police officer asked her.
‘I intend to be. Please extend my gratitude to the Governor this was very kind of him. Thank you.’ She hopped in the back of the Rolls Royce, Tony turned and asked,
‘Where to next?’
‘To the airport.’ She’ll get there and pick the first flight out that appeals to her, she needs to be far away from here. Yes she is running away but only for a short while. That probably makes her a coward for not wanting to talk to Brodie about anything of what happened, but there’ll be time for that. Right now she wants to run and hide from the world as it judges her out of sight. She’ll give it that.
‘Yes ma’am.’ Tony pulled out of the gas station and waved his thanks to the officers who stood and watched them drive off. This wasn’t the weirdest thing they’d seen all day but it was up there and she’d been very calm about it. They did call it in to their colleagues in the city, to be on alert just in case. Still, they hoped the best for her.
‘I’m sorry about how today turned out ma’am.’ Tony said to his passenger in the back.
‘Me too Tony, me too.’ No one is sorrier that she is.
That was six weeks ago…