Check it out on Wattpad and find yourself a new summer read.
Check it out on Wattpad and find yourself a new summer read.
I’d been remiss in continuing our friendship. Some of the blame could fall on Chloe, but most belonged to me. Though it wasn’t clear why Chloe had avoided me to this extent, I knew it was a long road ahead if I wanted to repair our friendship. This was, of course, assuming she wanted the same.
The past years had been good to the both of us financially. Through Grandfather and Ruby, I’d heard how my friend had become the most sought-after wedding planner. She was now picking and choosing weddings and working less. I was proud of her accomplishments.
For Niles and myself, our business took off immediately. The third member of our team, Alexander, knew this business inside and out. We were lucky to work with him, and he worked magic with all the capital we infused into the business. The learning curve was about two years for me since I couldn’t solely focus on our business. But once fully entrenched, I worked as hard as my two partners.
I decided a few years ago to scale back on the coffee business and turn into a silent partner. Grandfather was getting older and I realized there wasn’t much time left to learn under him. My parents, Chloe and I took turns taking trips with him and creating as many memories as possible. Ruby and Niles also jumped in where they could. With Chloe being so close to Grandfather, one would think I’d run into her often. That wasn’t the case. It felt like she purposely saw him the days she knew I was unavailable. This avoidance would be addressed and stopped today.
I waited outside the entrance of the restaurant elevator for my friend. After keeping me waiting a short while, she arrived. She walked slowly toward me, almost wary of our meeting. What the hell had happened to us?
“Hello, Chlo-No!” I embraced her and gave her a kiss on her temple.
“Hi. Long time no see, huh?”
“Two years, to be exact. I think the last time we said more than five sentences to one another was at Ruby’s wedding.”
“Has it been that long?” she wondered.
“It has for me, Friend. Maybe feelings aren’t quite mutual.”
Her eyes averted mine. I knew it was time to go in and have our heart-to-heart.
“This place never changes, huh?” she spoke surveying the surroundings. “I haven’t dined here since the last time we were here together. I love it here.”
“It’s been that long for me too.” She looked up at me in surprise. “Let’s sit?”
I decided to start with the casual topic before digging in to what had happened with us. “What are you doing in Paris? Another wedding?”
“Yes. Some mega rich bride wants to marry at Versailles. It’s not going to be easy shutting down a tourist attraction. I’ve been here for a week trying to solve this issue. How’s your work going? Grandpa Harry tells me you’ve slowed down, too.”
“All the properties are up and running, thanks to you.” I reached over and squeezed her hand. “The coffee business is solid, thanks to Niles and Alexander. My life is back to being a duke-in-training, learning from the best.”
“What about Victoria?” she asked.
I found it odd that she would ask this question. “What do you mean?”
“Sorry, Michael. I’ve been a bad friend. I never congratulated you on your engagement. I know it was months ago and I swear, I tried several times to call you, or even text you, and it never happened.”
Here it was—an opening! “Is it my imagination or have you been avoiding me the past year or two?” She stared at me with guilty brown eyes. “I know I haven’t kept in touch as I should have, but the few times I thought I’d meet up with you, you were never there.”
“I’ve been busy,” she whispered. She knew that I knew she was lying.
“Too busy to celebrate Grandfather’s birthday?” I questioned.
“I spent the morning-half with him before leaving for a wedding in Dubai.” I quirked an eyebrow.
“All right. We’ve been friends too long for this runaround. Just tell me where I went wrong and I’d like to fix my half of our friendship. I assume you’re of the same mindset, and are willing to restart our friendship? Did you find another best friend? Are you seeing someone? What’s going on in your life, Chloe? Lately, you’ve stopped talking to everyone who loves you.”
She was quiet. “I don’t know where to begin, Michael. There’s so much to say and yet I feel it’s useless to say anything.” I saw tears in her eyes. I must have done something really bad for her to turn so emotional.
“I tell you what. I need to hire you for a wedding. Can you work exclusively with me for a month?”
That’s when the tears fell heavily. What the hell?
I had no choice but to return Michael’s call when I heard this message. The last time I sat and had a deep and pleasant conversation with my friend was back in New York at that grubby pizza joint. Today was close to ten years past and sadly, neither of us took the time to continue our friendship.
A lot had happened in the past ten years. I guess if I were counting days, it was more like a little over nine years. Regardless, Michael and I had a lot to talk about.
“Chloe!” The relief was palpable even from my end of the earpiece. “Where have you been?” He started with an annoyed tone, but quickly changed his tune. “How are you, Chlo-No? It’s been too long. Haven’t you missed me?” What the hell to say. “Where are you, Friend?”
Why was he being so sweet? After being separated for this long, I didn’t think I’d feel anything for Michael. But, here we were again—or better stated, here I was again. Somehow, there was an automatic timer on my Michael-switch. Whenever he turned on the emotion, I followed his lead.
“I’m in Paris, staying at Grandfather’s apartment.”
“I’m hopping on the next train into Gare du Nord. I assume you won’t run away again?” I didn’t mean to sigh aloud. Judging by the chuckle on the other end, I guess he heard me. “See you soon Chlo-No.”
I hung up without a reply.
I wished I had a job to escape to right now. I wished I didn’t have to face the music with Michael. As the past years had not been good for our friendship, they had been over-the-top blessed for my career. Once I felt Grandpa Harry was settled, I jumped into my life as Pierre’s apprentice with gusto. We initially started with one wedding a month. Then we took on two weddings a month and eventually, I graduated to a wedding a weekend. Around three years in, I went from apprentice to full-fledged owner of my own business. I paid a handsome royalty to Pierre, but it was worth every pound.
Pierre’s business was a well-oiled machine and he was always available to answer any questions or help when I was in a bind. He had become like another duke in my life. I had been blessed with mentors all my life. For that, I was truly grateful.
This past year, I chose to slow down my business. Staying in posh hotels got tiresome and weddings did not produce the same kind of happiness as I got older. I missed home, the comforts of my own bed, and I missed having people in my life. Long gone was the excitement of being surrounded by gushing bridal parties and sycophantic followers. While rushing to become the premiere wedding planner, I’d lost everyone who meant something to me. Of course my biological family and I never left each other for too long, but with the rest of my “family”…ugh! What a mess I’d created.
How had I gotten myself into this lonely rut? Greed, hunger, a need to escape—all three contributed to my workaholism. My insane schedule looked something like this: Mondays were my “office” days. Whether I was home in London or on location at possible future venues, I always reserved this day for clients—whether prospective or current. Many times, I was scouting locations on this day in other cities and countries.
Tuesdays I reserved for finishing what wasn’t done on Monday, and for focusing on the upcoming weekend’s wedding. I’d email all the vendors, reconfirm times, dates, locations, and get in touch with the bride. Usually, I tried to stay away for as long as possible, before getting sucked into the bride’s vortex. Once in, there was no escaping.
By Wednesday, I was on site. Why so early, you ask? Because I learned that high-end, sky-is-the-limit wedding parties started early. Some had parties all week, but most started usually on a Thursday and ended with Sunday brunch. Usually, I stopped sleeping at night around this time and I was on-call until Sunday late afternoon.
Thursday brought the entire wedding party, family, and close friends. Earlier in my career, I saw to every activity from this point until the post-wedding brunch. Now, having a little extra money, I hired people to take care of everything that didn’t happen on the wedding day.
Friday, of course, was the rehearsal and gigantic rehearsal dinner. When the evening began, there’d be about twenty people in attendance. When the free food and booze happened, the number grew three-fold.
Saturday was the main event. I tried to evoke a unique and precious memory for each bride and groom. Not duplicating anything I’d done in the past, unless requested by the bride, wasn’t an easy feat—but I reveled in the challenge. To see the euphoria on the couple’s faces brought mixed feelings of joy and sadness for me. I loved being a part of the happily-ever-after. But I also hated the loneliness that followed, knowing this was someone else’s happily-ever-after—never my own.
By the end of Sunday, I hopped on a plane and came back to my empty flat. After permitting myself a quick downtime, I was onto my next wedding.
This was how I’d lived my life for the past many years. For a bright woman, I wasn’t too smart.
Meet me at Le Jules Verne at 2:00pm. I just arrived. See you there. This was the text Michael sent.
I got up to greet my past, trying to tamp down my hope for a future.
Vol. 2 is here! Well, it’s almost here. I will post the first blog at midnight, tonight (PST). You’ll finally learn all that’s been happening in the lives of our three characters the past ten years. We start with Michael and Chloe, then Brendan joins soon after.
An FYI for you – I leave for a summer trip July 10-26. During that time, I will not be posting any blogs. I will post up until the day before we leave and the Monday I return. As always, I’ll post pictures of our trip on my Facebook page.
Hope to read all your comments, again, starting Thursday!
Only three blogs left. Vol. 2 will debut on Thursday, June 26th. For those of you who’ve read Vol. 1 in entirety, I’d brush up on the story again. I also recommend re-Reiding the epilogue portion of Indelible Lovin’ – Max & Jane’s Wedding. We have another wedding coming up!
You’ll find them all in the Soon-to-be-Reids section of my website. Happy Reiding!
No different from all the other days in my life, it’s bustling with activities.
First, let me bring you up to date on my daughter. She’s doing much better with 18% blood count (if you can believe that) as of our last checkup. She started with 3%, so that’s a huge improvement. She chugs along with life as if nothing ever happened. She pitched in a three-day tournament the Memorial weekend before finals, took five finals and casually brought home five A’s and an A+. Ho hum hum…another year at school… 🙂
My son’s high school golf team made it to the second (of four) round of California State Championships and eventually lost. The big bummer was that the third round was to be played at their home course. That would have been a huge advantage, but oh well. The good news was that he didn’t have to miss anymore days of school, traveling all over Southern California for these matches. He missed two days of school the week before finals. I, as a mother, didn’t know whether I wanted his team to continue winning. The third round was during finals week. He ended his first year of high school on a high note as co-MVP of the golf team, and with a 4.4 GPA. No slackers in this household 🙂 . As you can tell, I’m incredibly proud of both kids. They started a new school where they knew hardly anyone, and they finished with good friends, good grades, and a great time.
Monday kicked off the first day of summer, but my son is studying for his Bio SAT II exam (Sat) and taking Spanish 4 from 6:30-9:00pm Monday thru Thursday at summer school. Summer is not truly summer anymore for high schoolers. My daughter is lounging around, except for softball practices, and awaiting her weekend tournaments. She’ll be attending an outdoor camp in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to get her off her laptop and phone.
The big news in our household is that we FINALLY found a house. After a year of searching, we are in escrow on a new home. I’m in the process of getting an architect/designer to reconfigure the house, looking for someone to do the work on the house, and hoping this escrow will close without a problem. In the midst of trying to buy and renovate this home, I’m also researching for our summer trip. I thought we were staying put this summer, but thanks to my son, we have an epic trip lined up.
My son will be attending a golf camp in Scotland for ten days in July, so we all thought we should follow along–kind of. The four of us will be traveling to Istanbul together for five days, then my son will fly to Scotland on his own while the rest of us head to Greece. Four days later, my husband will fly home while my daughter and I decide where to head next. We’re debating between several Greek Islands and Amsterdam. Since The Fault in Our Stars, my daughter has been dying to see Amsterdam. We will eventually land in London (have I told you all how much we love London?) and my son will join us there. I believe we are headed home soon after.
Somewhere in between, I’ll keep writing. Speaking of writing, Finally, Love! Vol. 2 is right around the corner. I can’t wait to share it with you. For those of you who haven’t pre-ordered, do so now. The book is moving along beautifully. Sometime this week, I should be receiving the book cover for Perfect Harmony. Once that’s done, I’ll put that on pre-order as well.
That’s what’s going on with us. I hope you are all doing well. I’ve been writing quite a bit, but it’s never enough. I thought about sending out a teaser but couldn’t decide which one. I just finished Aug. blogs and sent that off to be edited yesterday. There’s a wedding happening in Perfect Harmony right now on my Word doc. You all know how much I love weddings. Are you wondering which couple is getting married? Oh, should I not have said that??? 😉 As for 10,000 Reasons, there’s too much drama to mention, and I need to get back to Indelible Memories. Harry Bennington just finished talking and Estelle Cowper Reid Ascot Bennington is telling her tale. Let me know which one interests you. I’ll only pick one teaser this time so choose carefully.