Character List

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bonus - In the Air Tonight

****  Hi Dolls - I've found that I have a hour or two free after going out with my London colleagues and the time my husband gets home in NYC. Five hour time differences suck!  I wrote this post buzzed because who doesn't go to the pub after work each night;)  Anyways let me know what you think. Maybe buzzed Arianna is a better writer;) ****

Lukas had always been strong and supportive and here he was, sitting across from me with tears in his eyes.  I immediately thought that he was sick.  I remembered him sharing his experience with congenital heart disease and having surgery in college.  He even had the scar in the middle of his chest as a reminder of his immortality. There had been so many advances in medicine over the years that I was positive that together we could get through anything.  My mind immediately wondered if he was unfaithful.  It's a long shot but considering his behavior, it was definitely a possibility.

I watched as Lukas fidgeted with his napkin.  "Can we go somewhere and talk?  I don't feel comfortable having this conversation here" he said quietly.

Immediately I thought he was going to break up with me and was afraid I would create a scene.  My heart thumped incessantly with anticipation.  Why do I always jump to conclusions and drive myself crazy? "Sure, whatever you'd like" I responded gently.

Lukas called our waiter over and asked him to wrap our food.  He was very sweet and obliged.  We waited in silence, sipping on the bottle of wine before us to calm our nerves.  Lukas seemed lost in his thoughts and absentminded.  Meanwhile I was a bundle of nervous energy.  I was startled when the waiter returned with our boxed food and the check.  Lukas took care of the bill and left a very generous tip before we left.

It was a gorgeous night.  The sky was blue and sparkling with stars.  Not a cloud in sight.  We walked in virtual silence; neither of us quite sure where we were going.  As we waited for the walk sign, I asked Lukas if he wanted to go to my apartment and talk.  Priya had a date with Anthony and wouldn't be home for hours.  He immediately agreed and hailed a taxi.  I held his hand and rested my head on his shoulder as we drove through the pothole ridden Manhattan streets.

I tensed up as our taxi stopped in front of my building.  Lukas and I walked hand in hand into the elevator.  Once inside my apartment, I motioned for Lukas to have a seat on the couch.  I sat facing him.  "So what's going?" I asked softly.

"God, Elisabeth.  I don't know where to start."

"How about at the beginning?  You can tell me anything" I said as convincingly as possible.

He took a deep breath and leaned forward, "Tuesday was one of the worst days of my life."

"Why?" I asked as he rubbed his temples.

Tears once again formed in his eyes, threatening to make their way down his cheeks.  "My sister tried to commit suicide and is under suicide watch at Lenox Hill hospital."

My mouth dropped open in shock.  His words replayed in my mind.  Immediately I wrapped my arms around him and held him close, as he cried.  "Are you sure?" I whispered.

He pulled away. I watched as he walked into the kitchen and grabbed a napkin.  "I had forgotten my my wallet at the apartment and went home around 1'ish Tuesday.  When I opened the door the kids were crying and shaking Lauren.  She was laying face down on my living room floor.  I tried to revive her but couldn't. She was breathing but her pulse was weak."

"Oh my God, Lukas" I said, shocked.

"I called 911 for help.  I had no idea what to do.  The kids were freaking out and I tried my best to console them.  Shit I was so scared" he said as a lone tear slid down his cheek.  I wiped it away gently and urged him to continue.

"The cops and paramedics came. They found a suicide note and empty pill bottles on Lauren's bed.  They took her to the hospital, pumped her stomach and now she's under suicide watch" he said emotionally.

"Where are the kids?"

He leaned back against the couch and closed his eyes.  "They're with Jeff (their dad)."

"How's Lauren doing?"

"I don't know. The doctors say that she's making progress but needs extensive therapy and support.  I feel like a shitty brother because I was always on her ass about something or the other.  Maybe if I supported her, she wouldn't have tried to kill herself."

I threw an arm around him, "Oh, honey.  Don't say that.  Lauren needs help.  Don't blame yourself for her actions."

"That's just it.  She lived with me.  I should have seen the signs" he said despondently.

"Lukas, I'm sorry you're going through so much.  I wish you would've told told me earlier.  You didn't have to deal with this alone."

He smiled, "I know.  It's just that you have a lot going on."

"That doesn't matter.  You're one of the most important people in my life and if you have a problem, I want to help.  I want to be there for you like you've been there for me" I said gently.

"Thank you, Liz" he said kissing me softly.

I nodded.  "You had me so worried, Lukas.  You have no idea what type of thoughts were running through my head this week."

"There is one more thing I need to tell you" he said apprehensively.

I felt my heart drop and a pit form in my stomach.  I couldn't speak and nodded.

"With my sister's condition, my parents want to be close by.  They're staying at my place, in Lauren's room, until she gets released.  After that they plan on taking her back to Connecticut so that they can keep an eye on her" he said quickly.

I shot him a small smile, "That's good, right?  Lauren definitely needs her loved ones around her at a time like this."

"Yes but that also means that I'm going to have to spend a lot more time at the office and in Miami than I intended" he said as he entwined his fingers with mine.

It took a moment for me take in his words.  "We'll make it work" I said firmly.

He chuckled, "Yes, I would like that.  I need you to understand that as much as I want to be with you, I might not have the time."

"I understand.  I was worried that you were planning to break up with me" I said honestly.

He cupped my face, "Break up with you?  Despite your craziness at times, you make me happy."

"What happens next?"

"Hopefully Lauren gets released soon and gets better" he explained.

I snuggled close to him. "From the little I know of her, she is very determined and strong.  Plus she loves Stephanie and Liam."

"Yea, she does.  Jeff has been great.  He brings the kids to see her every other day."

"That's nice" I said relieved.

Lukas wrapped his strong arms around me.  We were relaxing in blissful silence when my stomached growled loudly.  I was completely embarrassed.  "Maybe we should have dinner" he said playfully.

Our food was still warm and so freaking good.  No wonder ABC Kitchen is one of Barack Obama's favorite NYC restaurants.  We devoured our meals and then Lukas helped me clean up.  Once we were done I retreated to my bedroom while Lukas went to the bathroom.  I was only in my thong when Lukas returned.  His took in every inch of my body with his eyes.  I blushed inwardly and walked towards him.  I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him while his hands squeezed my ass, pulling me closer.  It had been only been five days since we last had sex but I wanted him bad.

He picked me up and laid me on my bed.  His lips on mine while his hands squeezed my breasts.  He dipped his head and whirled the tip of his tongue around my nipple, making me squirm and moan.  He gently sucked on my nipple before gently nipping them.  Each caress, each kiss making me wetter and wetter.  I sat up and unbuckled his belt, tugging at his jeans and boxer briefs, pulling them down.  I wrapped my hand around his hardness before licking all around its length.  I looked up at him while I twirled my tongue around his cock head.  Our eyes locked and I took his manhood into my mouth in one quick motion.  I alternated between sucking and licking, while bobbing my head.  Lukas groaned loudly, his hands tangled in my hair.   I released his throbbing cock from my mouth and slowly licked its underside, while he shivered with desire.  He pulled me up and slipped off my now soaked thong.  He positioned himself behind me and filled me in one motion.   He gave me a moment to adjust before moving inside me.  Each movement harder and deeper than the previous.  One of his hands was between my legs, stroking me while the other gripped my hips.  My breathing was jagged and my body trembled with desire.  He gently nipped my neck and that sent me over the edge.  I called out his name as I climaxed.  Lukas continued thrusting inside me deeper as I squeezed him tightly with my muscles. He growled as he came moments later.

As we laid in my bed spent, Lukas shared that he was going to Miami next Friday.  He invited me to come along and I told that I'd think about it.  Our team was already stretched to the limit with Grant's departure and I didn't want to draw any negative attention towards myself

------

The next morning when I awoke, Lukas was no where to be found.  I reached for my cell phone on the nightstand and saw that I had a text from him.  "Hey babe, you looked so peaceful and I didn't want to wake you.  Went to go check on my sister.  Text me when you're up."

I immediately texted back, "That's okay sweetie. I hope your sister is doing better."

I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and threw on a plush white robe.  I scurried into the bathroom and took a long, warm bath.  My mind drifted to Lukas.  I was totally wrong to jump to conclusions.  Even though Lauren and I were never going to be best friends, I hoped that she would pull through and get her life back on track.  Her kids need her more than she knows.  I was apprehensive about Lukas having to spend more time in Miami.  He had become such a huge part of my life that I couldn't imagine not seeing him for an extended period of time.  Maybe I'm being selfish and over-analyzing.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I was on edge as I went to work a few hours later.  What if my dream was some type of prophecy?  I know that's crazy talk, but it's possible, right?  Thankfully there weren't any cameras or media engulfing me as I walked to SIB.  I went through the revolving doors and breathed a sigh of relief.  Silently I scolded myself for letting that nightmare bother me so much.  I've had bad dreams before but none were as realistic as this one.  After being jolted awake I was still in fear.  Thank God Priya was there to comfort me.  She stayed with me for the remainder of the night and I was grateful.

My workday was busy as anticipated.  I didn't have even a spare second to think about but work for most of the day.  By three I was exhausted and took Nick up on his offer to get me coffee.  I sipped on my latte as I plowed through my emails.  Nick made small talk but I wasn't in the mood to be social.  I had way too much on my plate and mind.  By six I was gathering my things and shutting down my computer when my phone rang.  It was my manager, John.  He said he needed to see me in his office immediately. 

Honestly, I didn't know what to expect and I didn't have the energy to speculate.  I walked slowly to his office and knocked gently before walking in.  He motioned for me to sit and I did.  "Did you have a good Labor Day weekend?" he asked facing his computer.

I mumbled, "Yes it was alright.  How about you?"

He spun his plush leather chair around.  I immediately noticed the dark circles and bags under his eyes.  He looked like he needed a good night's sleep ASAP.  He took a deep breath and let out the air super slowly, "Because of the Grant scandal I was forced to work all weekend nonstop.  He fucked up his trading book and fabricated numbers that were very much off.  His trading book alone is running at a $250 million loss.  Audit has been on my ass.  The FBI wants to ask me additional questions.  Legal is running circles around me asking why I didn't know about Grant's activities.  It's been a nightmare.  I haven't seen my family in days."

"I'm sorry to hear that" I responded sympathetically.

He nodded.  "I don't mean to burden you with my problems.  Let me cut to the chase.  Legal is telling me that Britney Catalanotto literally just turned herself into the FBI."

My eyes widened and my mouth dropped open.  It took me a few moments to truly digest what he just said. "Is that so?" I asked.

"Yes.  What's your relationship to her?"

I cleared my throat.  "Britney and I grew up together.  We were very close friends, like sisters for years. However, all that changed the past few months.  We aren't even friends anymore."

"Because of Grant?"

I shook my head vehemently.  "No.  This is embarrassing.  We aren't friends because she was trying to sabotage my relationship with my boyfriend."

"I don't want to pry into your private life."

"Thank you, John" I said appreciatively.

"I do have a question though.  Does Britney have any information on you that could impact your career?"

I quickly replied, "No.  I never engaged in unscrupulous activities either here or at my previous employer."

"I didn't mean to imply that.  I'm stressed out and don't know if I can deal with another bombshell."

"I understand, John.  I swear that I've done everything by the books."

"Thank you, Elizabeth.  You're an excellent employee and a valuable asset to my team.  I don't for a second question your dedication, hard work or loyalty" he explained.

"I appreciate that.  I know Grant's scandal has everyone on edge.  I'm still baffled by the charges and how shady he was."

"Me too.  I don't want to keep you" John said, looking at his watch.

I stood up and smoothed my skirt.  "Have a good night and don't stay too late."

Most of my colleagues were long gone by the time I returned to my workspace.  I grabbed my purse and iPhone.  I saw surprised that Lukas hadn't called or responded to my text from this morning.  This was so unlike him.  I chalked it up to him being busy.  He was suppose to meet with investors and got tied up I convinced myself.  

That evening Priya and I ordered Thai Chicken salads and talked.  Today was her first day back to medical school.  She shared that she was worried about passing her classes and I reassured her that she will.  Priya is super smart and determined to be a doctor.  I would never let her doubt or question that.  Plus for some reason, I felt that deep down she was worried more about her relationship with Anthony than passing her classes.  I took a big gulp of water before speaking.

"How are things with Anthony?  I mean, last night you were so worried about Mrs. Rossi.  Are you feeling better about things?"

She shrugged, "Yes and no.  I'm falling in love with Anthony and that scares me."

"Why?"

She nibbled on her bottom lip, nervously.  "He's the first man I've felt this strongly about and I'm scared of losing him.  Medical school takes up most of my time and I'm worried that we'll grow apart."

"Honey, you and Anthony really like and I think love each other.  You'll find a way to make it work" I said gently.

"I hope so.  He's such a huge part of my life and I don't want to lose him" she responded, emotionally.

"You won't" I said gently.

-------

I was laying in bed, when it dawned on me that I hadn't heard a peep out of Lukas all day.  In fact, was I mistaken or did he promise to sleep over tonight?  Immediately I assumed that something bad happened to him.  That would be the only logical explanation.  I checked my phone one last time and still nothing.  I pulled up his number and hit send.  After the second ring I got that annoying automated message, "You're call has been forwarded to voicemail."  Did he really just send me to voicemail instead of answering the damn phone?

Since he didn't want to talk on the phone, I texted him.  "I haven't heard from you all day.  Is everything okay?" 

I stared at my phone waiting for him to respond but he didn't until close to midnight.  "Sorry, Liz.  Long day at the office."

"Oh" I texted back.

He texted back, "Are you upset?"

"I'm going to sleep.  Talk to you later."

With that I put my phone to charge.  I had an uneasy feeling about this situation.  I know I have a tendency to jump to conclusions erroneously.  However, this time, I couldn't shake my gut feeling that Lukas was avoiding me and hiding something.  He couldn't have cheated because he was with me all weekend.  What the heck was going on? After thinking long and hard I decided to give him the benefit of doubt.  He's never betrayed or lied to me before so why shouldn't I trust him?

-------

The remainder of the week thankfully flew by and before I knew it it was Friday evening and I was getting ready to meet Lukas for dinner.  I hadn't seen Lukas in days and was both excited and uneasy to see him.  Clearly he was acting all types of weird.  Instead of speaking on the phone for hours, he would brush me off after a few minutes saying the he had to get back to work or he was tired.  Whenever I texted him he would respond with one word answers.  Something was definitely up and tonight I was going to get to the bottom of it.

New York weather has been picture perfect lately and today was no exception.  While the days were in the 70s, the nights were chilly.  I opted to wear Rebecca Minkoff leather skirt with a black crop top with lace sleeves.  My hair was super sleek and straight and my makeup with natural except for the dramatic smoky eye.  I slipped into a pair of black Vince Camuto booties and grabbed my clutch. I spritzed myself with Marc Jacobs Honey before leaving.

About a half hour later I nervously got out of the cab and walked into ABC Kitchen in Union Square. I was quickly directed to a table off to the corner where Lukas was already seated.  The butterflies were wreaking havoc in my stomach as we made eye contact.  He stood and gave me a tight hug before pulling out my chair.  He looked so handsome in a button down shirt with fitted dark jeans and Gucci loafers.

Lukas complemented me on my outfit and made small talk while I was a bundle of nerves.  I stopped for a moment and took in Lukas' appearance.  He looked tired and not as happy as he usually is.  I couldn't continue to speculate about what was up.

Uneasily I took a huge gulp from my glass of wine before meeting his eyes.  "Lukas we need to talk" I said shakily.

He gave me a tight smile, "What about?"

I look a deep breath before proceeding.  "I really like you Lukas and I can't shake this feeling that something is wrong.  I mean it seems that you've been blowing me off and avoiding me all week."

Lukas shifted uncomfortably and stared down at his glass of red wine before downing its contents.  "I've been busy Elisabeth" he said flatly.

"I understand being busy.  I even get why you cancelled on Tuesday but then when we spoke on the phone you rushed me off.  It was as though you didn't want to talk.  Even when I texted you, you would give me one word responses" I said emotionally.

"Elisabeth" he started and I interrupted.

"Lukas I love you but I'm not willing to 'play games'. I'm too old for that.  I need you to tell me the truth" I said firmly.

He chuckled, probably taking in the irony of my words.  Back when we first started dating he told me a few times that he was too old to play games.  Now the shoe was on the other foot and I was repeating those same words to him.  "I'm sorry that I've neglected you lately.  I've had a lot on my mind.  Not to mention this Miami project is taking off and a lot more labor intensive than I thought."

I couldn't stop myself from blurting out, "Is this about Sandy?"

Lukas wrinkled his forehead and shook his head.  "How could you even think that especially after I told you about our history?  I can't believe you would even go there" he said disappointed.

"Well then what is it" I asked bluntly.

By this time our waiter brought over our entrees.  Lukas had ordered the oven roasted lobster while I selected the ricotta ravioli.  We also had sides of mashed potatoes and broccoli with a cheese sauce.  Everything looked scrumptious and under normal circumstances I would've dived right in.  However, tonight I was too nervous and worried to eat.  I needed to know the truth and Lukas' reluctance only made me more anxious.

I stared at him and pleaded, "Lukas, please tell me what's going on."

He closed him eyes and took a deep breath.  When he opened his eyes they were filled with tears.  "There's something I need to tell you" he stammered.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Manic Monday

It was close to nine when Lukas dropped me off in front of my building.  Naturally I invited him to spend the night but he declined.  He wanted to go home and get ready for the short but busy work week ahead.  He shared this he and his dad were drawing up the final plans for their new location in Miami and were expecting to close by the end of the month.  Before getting out of the car, I leaned over and gave him a lingering kiss.

"Are you sure there's nothing I could do to change your mind?" I asked cupping his handsome face.

"I wish I could but I have get ready for an investor's meeting tomorrow and check in on Lauren and the kids."

"I understand" I said with a pout.

"How about we get together tomorrow night?"

I nodded and grinned at him, "I'd like that."

After sliding out of his Range Rover, Lukas helped me with my overnight bag.  He offered to walk me to my apartment but I insisted that I would be fine.  I didn't want him to get a ticket for parking illegally.  I wrapped my arms around him and pulled him near before getting on my tiptoes and kissing him deeply.  He moaned softly, his strong hands entangled in my hair.  I reluctantly took a step back.  "Text me when you get home" I said breathlessly.

"I will" he said, giving me a quick kiss.

He stood on the sidewalk watching until I went inside my building before getting back into his car.  My doorman, Javier, said that I looked like I had a great weekend.  I laughed and said that I did and told him to have a wonderful night.  I was in good spirits when I entered my apartment.  I turned on the lights and went straight to my bedroom.  After grabbing a Victoria Secret nightshirt, I took a long, hot bath.  I was drinking a cup of tea and relaxing on the couch when Priya finally got home.

She didn't acknowledge me as she walked to her bedroom.  I thought it was strange but didn't make anything of it.  She was probably exhausted from the long drive.  I checked my phone and saw that Lukas texted a half hour earlier that he was home and Lauren and the kids turned his apartment into a dump.  I responded back that he could spend the night.  I had just hit send when Priya came out of her bedroom and glared at me, "Elisabeth we need to talk."

I immediately knew that something was wrong.  "Everything okay with you and Anthony?" I asked concerned.

She scoffed, "Seriously, Elisabeth?  I overheard your conversation with Anthony's mom this morning, well at least part of if.  Don't you think you, my friend, you should have told me that she hates me."

I wrinkled my forehead, "Priya, she doesn't hate you."

Tears gathered in her eyes, " I heard her say that she has doubts about our relationship.  I've tried so hard to make a good impression on her."

I brushed away the tears from her cheeks.  "Mrs. Rossi likes you a lot.  In fact, she was saying that you remind her of herself.  She doesn't want you to make the same mistakes she did."

She was blubbering mess at this point.  "What mistakes?"

"She was studying to be a nurse when she met Anthony's dad.  She gave up on that dream for love and grew to resent her husband.  She doesn't want that for you and Anthony."

A look of relief washed over Priya's face.  "That's all?"

"Yes.  She really likes you Priya and she knows how happy you make Anthony."

"I feel so embarrassed.  I thought she didn't like me because I was Indian" she confided.

"Anthony's mom isn't like that.  Anthony's happiness is all that matters to her."

Priya nodded, "You know I pretended to be asleep so I wouldn't have to talk to her during the car ride to her house."

"Aw, honey.  Don't worry so much."

"Thank you, Elisabeth.  I'm sorry for coming at you like that" she said quietly.

"It's okay. I'd probably react the same or probably worse if I thought Lukas' family didn't like me."

Even though Priya said that she was fine and relieved, I sensed that she was hiding her true feelings that she kept buried deep down.  I wanted to plow forward and get to the bottom of this but didn't feel like dealing with anymore drama.  That's all this past weekend was.  First the wedding and that freak show Sandy.  I was embarrassed that I let her get to me and got upset at Lukas.  I was completely in the wrong and very grateful that Lukas chose to forgive me.  Second was Britney showing up at the Hamptons house.  I was completely caught off guard by her.  I could never forgive and forget what she did but I hoped that she wasn't entwined in Grant's schemes.  Thirdly we have Melissa and Josh.  My head throbs just thinking about how stubborn she was.  If not for Mrs. Rossi, Melissa could have left the love of her life walk away.

As I laid in bed that night, I tried to clear my thoughts.  September was generally a busy month as investors tried to get their investments in place for the third quarter.  I was sure that I would have an crazy busy day ahead and needed my sleep.

------

The lights were blinding and I was surrounded by a sea of reporters yelling at me.  I was trapped and couldn't make out what they were asking or why they were even there.  I broke out in a cold sweat as I looked around, searching for a friendly face.  My heart was pounding out of my chest and I swear I was on the verge of a panic attack.  I wanted to run but couldn't.  Screaming, I asked the reporters what the fuck they wanted from me.  They seemed to be caught off guard by my defiance.  In that split second, I saw an opening and broke free, walking as quickly as I could towards the SIB building.  I was about to go through the revolving doors when I felt a strong hand on my upper hand.

Spinning around quickly, I noticed two large police officers glaring at me.  "Is there a problem officer?" I asked nervously.

They exchanged glances and started laughing as though they had just heard the funniest joke.  I cleared my throat and tapped my Christian Louboutin clad right foot impatiently.  The officers looked at me in pity while the media watched on.

"You're Elisabeth Lombardi, correct?" asked one of the officers.  His brown, beady eyes taking in my every movement.  I studied him for a moment; middle aged, with a growing beer belly or shall I say donut belly.

"I am" I said as confidently as I could muster.  Again these two idiots smirked and laughed at me.  I looked around in confusion, silently wondering if I were on Candid Camera or Punk'd.  My anger was building with each passing second.

"What the fuck is so funny?" I asked angrily.

The both stopped dead in their tracks and turned their attention back to me.  The other officer, who had bloodshot hazel eyes and looked to be in his late 30s, grabbed my upper arm hard and I winced.  "You need to watch your attitude little lady or else we'll throw in resisting arrest and obstruction of justice on top of all your other charges" he threatened.

I wrinkled my forehead in complete and utter confusion.  Did he just say other charges?  It became hard for me to formulate any words and my head felt woozy.  My vision became blurry and I was sweating profusely; my head pounding and everything around me seemed to be spinning like a top.  I had lost all control of my senses and felt my body go limp.

My head was still throbbing as I came too.  I looked around trying to remember but couldn't. I saw a toilet to the corner and when I sat up I saw the bars.  For some reason I was in jail. What the fuck happened and why was I here?  I staggered as I stood up and walked to the black bars.  I started screaming for help and immediately a prison guard approach.

"Oh it looks like sleeping beauty has finally awoken" she said sarcastically.

"What am I doing here?" I asked as tears streamed down my cheek.

She scoffed, "Like you don't know.  Britney Catalanotto told the authorities everything they needed to know.  Make yourself comfortable because you'll be in here for a long time."  She turned on her heels and walked away.

I shook the bars angrily, wanting to get out.  It was hopeless and I gave up after a while.  This was my destiny it seemed.  I slowly walked to the uncomfortable cot and plopped down.  My head was in my hands as I started crying uncontrollably. How could this have happened?  Did Britney frame me to save her own ass?  I immediately regretted agreeing to talk to the bitch on Saturday.  I couldn't fathom how any of this could've happened.  I might not be a lawyer but was sure that one had to be coherent and read their Miranda rights before being arrested and thrown into jail. I was lost in my thoughts and jumped when I heard a voice, "Ms. Lombardi, please follow me."

I looked up and saw an African American female cop with a friendly face.  I glanced and saw her last name was Johnson.  "Officer Johnson, why am I here?" I asked quietly.

She gave me a small smile, "Didn't Officers Taylor and Hernandez go over the charges."  I shook my head and she continued, "You're being charged with conspiracy, embezzlement and blackmail."

I stopped in my tracks and felt numb.  I held on to the bars on another cell to compose myself.  "What?" I gasped.

"Are you okay, Ms. Lombardi?" she asked, clearly concerned.

I swallowed hard and shrugged.  "I'm completely caught off guard."

She nodded and we continued down the corridor.  Other prisoners yelled and made lewd comments as we walked past their jail cells.  I kept my head straight, not wanting to make eye contact.  "Where you taking me?"

"I apologize.  Someone has posted your bail."

"So that's it?  I'm free" I asked hopeful.

"No.  You are free until the trial.  Until then you have to remain the country.  The sergeant will explain it all."

While Sergeant Waters did explain the nitty gritty, I was completely lost.  My mind wandered and I nodded absentmindedly.  Once I was sprung, I walked into the crisp New York air.  It was the perfect fall day, seventy and not a cloud in the sky.  I cabbed it back to my apartment and recapped the unbelievable turn this day took.

I unlocked my apartment door and turned the knob slowly.  After closing the door behind me I gasped in shock as I saw Britney sitting on my couch.  She laughed manically.  How did she get into the apartment and what was she doing here?  Because of her I spent the entire morning in jail.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" I yelled, walking towards her.

"Paybacks are a bitch aren't they?" she asked.

"What do you want from me Britney?"

She stood up and closed the distance between us.  As I tried to push her back, she bitch slapped me and I tasted blood.  I staggered, bringing my hand to my face and she punched me in the stomach.  I slumped forward in pain while she continued her assault.  I tried to fight back, kicking and flailing my arms.  I'm sure I landed some good shots but she was too much for me.  I fell to the floor and struggled to get up while she yelled at me.  Closing my eyes, I willed myself to put this bitch in her place.  Somehow, I found the strength and stood up.  My back was turned to her as I held onto the wall to catch my balance.  Mentally I decided to charge at her.  I turned around and was stopped dead in my tracks.

Britney had a gun pointed straight at me.  I lunged at her and the gun came loose.  We struggled on the floor.  Both of us trying to get the upper hand.  She punched me and I rolled her over, grabbing her head and slamming it against the floor.  She groaned in pain and grabbed a handful of my hair.  I ordered for her to stop but she wouldn't.  We battled for what seemed like an eternity and we both were tiring.  Britney asked me if I wanted to call a truce and naively I nodded.  I rolled off of her and saw her scamper towards the gun.  I pushed her back and a loud gunshot radiated through the room.  I saw blood and screamed in horror.

-------

I jumped out of my sleep, drenched in sweat, my heart pounding uncontrollably as though it was trying to jump out of my chest, my hands gripping my sheets, screaming as though someone had actually attacked me. I looked around and took in the comforting surroundings of my bedroom.  It seemed so real but it was only a dream.  Priya pounded on my bedroom door and I hoarsely told her to come in.

Note:  Sorry dolls.  I'd be remissed if I didn't bid farewell to my favorite athlete of all time - the one and only Derek Jeter.  As a teenager I had a huge crush on him as did most of NY; which woman wouldn't be mesmerized by those gorgeous eyes!  Over the years my admiration for him has grown.  Not only is he one of the best baseball players of our generation, he's also humble, kind and extremely altruistic.  As Derek hangs up the pinstripes, he's left us with so many with lifelong memories.  He is the epitome of a world class athlete and person. I'm sure that wherever life leads Derek, he will be successful.  He will be missed dearly.  I can't fathom going to a Yankee game and not seeing Jeter at shortstop or in the lineup. Decades from now so many of us will tell our grandkids that we got to see Jeter play.  Thank you Jeter for 20 years of memories, championships and joy. RE2PECT.

Derek Jeter

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Author's Note

My dears,

The past two weeks or so have been extremely challenging and stressful for me.  I feel the need to explain some things because I hate disappointing all of you.  My wonderful husband tore his bicep and had surgery last week.  Thankfully he is on the road to a speedy recovery!  During that time my main priority was trying to assist and nurse him back to health.  In addition, my job has been kicked up a notch.  My manager was suppose to go to London on business but his wife gave birth to their fourth daughter this weekend and he has selected me to go in his place and represent our NY team.

I know you're probably wondering, "what the hell is Arianna rambling about and why can't she get to the point already!!"  So here it is.  Unfortunately, I haven't had time to focus on writing and tomorrow's post is no where near completed.  I will try to have something up either Thursday night or Friday morning.  Please bear with me:)  Additionally, I will attempt to write on the plane but I cannot promise that next week's posts will be on schedule.  There is a possibility that I won't be able to post at all.  I honestly don't know.  Your best bet is to check back every now and then to see if there is a new post. 

All of you have been amazing and I thank you for your unbridled support and for reading my blog.  I am blown away and truly humbled.  With that said, I feel that the past few posts have taken a step backwards in terms of writing.  Admittedly, I wrote them at the last moment.  I think other bloggers will agree that we are all harder on ourselves than our readers.  As a couple of my readers have correctly pointed, I seem to have rewritten history...lol...and resolved conflicts a little too picture perfectly.  Both are valid points and appreciate the constructive criticism.  These are both areas that I will try to improve on. I know I can do better and have done better.  I want to create posts that draw my readers in and leave them wanting more!  In the future,I will work on creating posts that are higher quality.  

Again, I apologize.  I hate going back on my word and not being able to post tomorrow morning and going off schedule.  This is literally irritating me.  I hope to get things back to normal soon. I appreciate all of you, Elisabeth does too;)  There's a lot in store for Elisabeth, I just need to find the time to write!!  Thank you again!

xoxoxoxo,

Arianna

Monday, September 22, 2014

And So It Goes

Our blissful afternoon was interrupted by Melissa and Josh's fight downstairs.  They were so loud that I'm sure all of the Hamptons probably heard the commotion.  As we overheard Melissa tell Josh he could leave and that their engagement was possibly a mistake, I felt uneasy.  I had urged her to speak with Josh and let him in on why she was acting different but she was too hardheaded to listen. Part of me wanted to bolt out of bed, throw on some clothes, run downstairs and talk some sense into both of them.  The other part didn't want to put myself in the middle of their relationship.  I was saddened that Melissa was about to let her soulmate, yes I said soulmate, go.

Melissa and Josh were perfect together.  From the moment she saw him, she was smitten.  Heck, he had most women swooning with his charm and classic good looks.  He stood tall, well over six feet with a toned, fit body, deep blue eyes that you could get lost in, full lips, breathtaking smile and olive skin.  He was soft spoken, easy going and definitely complimented Melissa's type A personality.  He made her happy and she positively glowed whenever she spoke of him.

They had so much in common.  They were both extremely driven and dedicated to their careers but also enjoyed detaching and spending time together.  They've traveled the world, trained for triathlons and grew together.  I can still vividly recall Melissa's joy when they got engaged.  We all knew that they would end up spending their lives together; it was only a matter of time before he popped the question.  Now with this blow out argument, I wasn't sure what was going to happen.

Lukas nudged me gently and I snapped back to reality.  "I hate that Melissa and Josh are fighting like this" I said in a hushed tone.

He nodded, "I don't know either of them well but from talking to Josh I can tell how much he loves Melissa.  He told me he can't wait to marry her."

"Josh is a great guy and I wish Melissa would tell him what's going on.  She's always had everything together and I guess she feels that she's losing control.  I wish she'd talk to him instead of pushing him away."

Lukas turned on his side and faced me.  "What exactly is going on with her?"

I had avoided this question just the day before but now I was inclined to tell Lukas everything.  I hoped he would help me decide what to do.  "That night when I had dinner with Melissa, she was saying that she has had a terrible stomach virus.  I don't know why but I asked her if she was pregnant."

"Is she?" Lukas interrupted.

"That's just it.  She took a test that night and it was positive.  She was so happy and excited to have a baby even though it wasn't how she planned it.  The next day she went to the doctor and found out that the test was a false positive."

"False positive?" he asked confused.

"I think that means that the test result wasn't accurate.  That's why she's been acting weird.  She's disappointed and sad that she isn't pregnant.  I told her to tell Josh everything but from the looks of it she isn't taking my advice.  I feel awful.  If I didn't suggest that she's pregnant none of this would have happened."

Lukas kissed my cheek gently.  "Baby, it's not your fault.  You meant well.  I feel bad for both Melissa and Josh."

"I don't know what to do anymore.  Should I go down there and tell Josh the truth?  I can't stand the idea of them breaking up like this" I shared.

"That's a catch 22.  You tell Josh and then Melissa will be pissed.  You don't tell Josh and then they go their separate ways.  I honestly don't know what to tell you."

I sighed loudly, "It fucking sucks."

Lukas cupped my face with his big, strong hands and kissed me softly.  We were interrupted by Mrs. Rossi scolding both Melissa and Josh for fighting.  I giggled.  Finally, a voice of reason.  She insisted that they sit with her and talk their problem out like adults.  Did I mention that I absolutely adore Mrs. Rossi?  After that there was silence.

"How awesome was that?" I asked Lukas.

"Very awesome" he said wrapping his arms around me.

---------

About an hour later we cautiously wandered down the stairs.  Neither of us were sure what to expect.  Deep down we both hoped that Mrs. Rossi would be able to get through to both Melissa and Josh but knew that there was a huge possibility that she wouldn't be able to make any headway.  The living room was empty but we heard voices coming from the kitchen.  Moments later we found Melissa, Josh and Mrs. Rossi sitting on the leather stools that surrounded the granite island.  They were conversing happily as though the screaming match was didn't exist.  As soon as Melissa spotted us she invited us to join them.

"We don't want to interrupt," I said nervously.

"You're not.  There's actually something that I need to get off my chest" she said firmly.

Lukas and I settled into the empty stools and waited patiently for her to begin.  She clasped her hands in front of her and cleared her throat.  "Elisabeth I put you in a difficult spot, telling you what was wrong with me and then swearing you to secrecy.  I apologize.  Mrs. Rossi has showed me the errors of my ways and I am grateful that she stopped me from making the biggest mistake ever.  I've spoken to Josh and he has been super supportive.  I know that I've been a pain in the ass lately but I want to make the most of what's left of this weekend."

Lukas and I exchanged surprised glanced before I said tentatively, "So does that mean that things between you and Josh are good now?"

Josh smiled, "Yes.  Melissa is my everything and I can't picture life without her."

I grinned happily; thrilled that Melissa and Josh were able to get on the same page.  Shutting your significant other out is definitely not the answer and thankfully Melissa realized this.  We were talking among ourselves when Anthony and Priya returned from the beach.  They both looked exhausted and a bit flushed.  Anthony quickly asked about dinner while Priya went upstairs to shower.

I started to suggest the Lobster Roll but was immediately playfully admonished by Anthony.  "After last night, we're not taking any more suggestions from you."

I hit him on the arm.  "Let's go to the Lobster Roll it's not too far from here and the food is to die for."

"Plus we don't have to get dressed up" Melissa added.

After a little convincing Anthony was on board.  He excused him himself and went upstairs.  We talked for a little while longer before starting to get ready.  By seven we piled into Lukas' Range Rover and Melissa's Mercedes coupe and headed down Montauk Highway towards Amangasett. We pulled into the packed parking lot and struggled to find a spot.  The Lobster House looks like a dive from outside but don't let appearances fool out.  The food is the best you'll find.

Anthony walked into the restaurant while the six of us waited.  Mrs. Rossi shared that in all her years coming to the Hamptons she's never visited the Lobster House.  Instead, they would buy groceries and barbecue or cook each night.  Both Priya and Lukas added they hadn't been here either.

Fifteen minutes later we seated in the back outdoor space.  "This is very homely" Anthony said quietly.

"Weren't you ever taught not to judge a book by it's cover" I asked, rolling my eyes.

Anthony was probably about to throw a zinger out there when our waitress approached.  She was wearing khaki shorts and a navy blue t-shirt, her blond hair in a ponytail. She looked no older than 18.  She efficiently took our drink and appetizer orders.  The men ordered beer, Melissa and I ordered white wine while Priya and Mrs. Rossi settled for iced tea.  For appetizers we selected steamed mussels in a garlic butter white wine sauce, crab cakes and fried calamari.

We all starving and ecstatic when our appetizers arrived; we literally devoured everything in record time.  Between bites we engaged in light conversation and people watched.  While Priya talked about going back to school in two days, I saw a look of concern sweep over Mrs. Rossi's face.  Medical school is no walk in the park and Priya would be inundated with coursework.  Maybe she worried about Priya and Anthony growing apart?

After a wonderful and filling dinner (most of us opted for classic lobster rolls with fries and cole slaw, while Melissa and Mrs. Rossi went with the hot lobster roll) we went miniature golfing.  It was so much fun and Mrs. Rossi managed to get a hole in one.  She was such a good sport and so much fun.  We were on the eight hole when a older gentleman approached.  He introduced himself and they started talking.  Anthony glared at him mom and the man while his anger grew.

I nudged his side, "What's wrong?"

"That man is hitting on my mom" he said angrily.

"Your mom has been single for many years, maybe it's time for her to get back into the dating scene" Melissa said gently.

"I don't need you telling me what's best for MY mom" Anthony said dismissing her.

What...the...fuck?  His mom deserved to be happy and needed companionship.  Why couldn't Anthony see that?  From the corner of my eye I noticed that Mrs. Rossi and the gentleman were exchanging number while Anthony looked on.  Once his mom rejoined us, Anthony wasted no time showing his displeasure.

By the tenth hole, she had enough and said kindly but firmly, "Anthony, you're my son and I love you dearly.  I've sacrificed a great deal to ensure that both you and your sister have opportunities that I didn't.  You're both on the fast track to achieving all of your goal and moving on with your lives.  I need to move on too.  I've been by myself for well over a decade and need companionship."

"Ma, you have girlfriends that you can hang out with and talk to.  You don't need to start dating again" Anthony countered.

She gently stroked Anthony's cheek, "Honey, I don't want to spend my golden days alone. I want someone that I can share my life with.  I'm not looking to rush into a relationship but going on a date might be nice."

Anthony's face softened and he smiled.  "Okay.  I want you to be happy.  You deserve to be happy."

She hugged him tightly, kissing him on both cheeks before pulling away and wiping the tears from her eyes.  Anthony was emotional as well.  The rest of the night went by smoothly with playful ribbing and the men making plans to go golfing the following weekend.

Later that night we were watching the eleven o'clock news when the newscaster said that there was breaking news on Grant.  Two more female victims came forward with claims that Grant sexually assaulted them.  His lawyer vehemently denied the allegations and his parents had moved out of their Garden City estate to avoid the media circus.  Grant was under psychiatric watch because authorities felt he was a suicide risk.  Melissa was about to change the channel when a sketch of a woman looking like Britney was shown.  Our eyes were glued to the television.  As per the newscaster the woman in the sketch was a person of interest that both the FBI and police would like to speak with.  Watchers were given a phone number to call if they came into contact with or knew the person in the sketch.

"Holy shit" Anthony said, shocked.

"You don't think she was working with Grant do you?" Melissa asked.

Immediately all eyes were focused on me.  "Liz what did you and Britney talk about earlier" Anthony inquired.

"Britney apologized for her behavior and mentioned that she was going to start going to therapy to get her life back on track" I said quickly.

"Did she say anything about Grant?" Priya asked.

"She claimed that Grant videotaped them having sex and was using the tape to blackmail her.  To be honest, I don't know if I believe that.  She told me the same story about Jason."

"It's hard to decipher the lies from the truth with Britney these days.  She seemed really conflicted though" Melissa shared.

I nodded.  "I agree.  She was scared and believe that the police were conspiring to make her an accomplice."

"The truth is going to come out and I hope that Britney is dragged through the mud by the media in the process" Anthony said.

"Do you think someone will turn her in?" Priya inquired.

I shrugged.  "I don't know.  I'm getting a headache just thinking about it."

"Me too.  Whatever happens, happens" Melissa said flatly.

------

The next morning, Lukas was in the shower when I wandered downstairs.  I was immediately greeted by the smell of freshly brewed coffee.  I found Mrs. Rossi in the kitchen whipping up Belgian waffles from scratch with a strawberry compote.

"Did you sleep well dear?" she asked sweetly, stirring the strawberries.

"Yes.  Can I help you with anything?"

"No" she said firmly, pouring me a cup of coffee.

"Thanks.  Coming to the Hamptons brings back so many wonderful memories of my childhood.  I love it out here."

She gave me a small but warm smile.  "It is very tranquil and relaxing."

"So Mrs. Rossi are you going to call that gentleman from last night?"

She opened her mouth to speak but then hesitated.  "I don't know, dear.  He seemed like a sweet man but Anthony isn't comfortable with me dating."

"Anthony'll come around.  He wants you to be happy.  I think you should call him.  Not only was he nice but he was attractive for an older man" I said with a laugh.

"I'm old fashioned.  I'm not use to chasing a man.  Back in my day, the men courted and wooed the women.  If he calls me, I'll talk to him but I'm not making the first move."

"I'm a romantic and love the idea of being wooed" I said dreamily.

Mrs. Rossi turned and faced me, a serious look on her face.  "Dear, I want to ask you a question."

"Sure, go ahead" I chirped.

"Anthony is smitten with Priya and I like her too.  She makes him happy and brings out a side of him that I haven't seen in years."

"She's great.  I think they complement each other" I said genuinely.

"I don't want my son getting hurt.  She's studying to be a doctor but with her going back to school how much time will she have to devote to their relationship?" she asked rhetorically.

"I think they'll be fine" I said feeling uncomfortable.

"Maybe you're right" she said, turning her attention to the strawberry compote.

"Mrs. Rossi, I know it's not my business but do you like Priya?"

She looked me straight in the eye.  "I do like her.  I see a lot of myself in her.  That's why I'm fearful."

"What do you mean?"

"When I met Anthony's dad, I was in college studying to be a nurse.  I became so engrossed with our relationship that I let my grades slip and I lost focus.  As the years passed, I became resentful.  I don't want Priya to get involved with Anthony and give up her dream because it would only lead to an unfulfilled relationship" she said gently.

I finally understood why she wasn't a 100% on board with their relationship and it made perfect sense.  She was afraid of Anthony and Priya making the same mistakes she did.  "I think both Priya and Anthony will be filled with regret if they let each other go.  They'll always wonder what could have been.  I'm sure that they'll be able to make their relationship work."

"I hope so" she said, squeezing my hand.

-------

After a delicious and filling breakfast we went to the beach and worked on our tans.  It was the last unofficial weekend of summer and we wanted to make the most of it.  After hours in the sun, we trekked back to the house where we cleaned up and got ready a late lunch of barbecue.  As we sat around the patio table, I noticed Mrs. Rossi taking more of an interest in getting to know Priya.  They were talking quietly amongst themselves while Melissa and Josh talked about their wedding planning issues.  Both sets of parents were padding the guest list with people neither of them ever met.  Lukas suggested that they consider a destination wedding because they are more intimate.  I made a mental note to ask Lukas about his wedding on our drive home.

By close to five we loaded up our cars and headed west.  We were stuck in endless bumper to bumper traffic on Montauk highway.  I felt Lukas' hand on my thigh and met his eyes.  "I had a good time this weekend" he said.

"I did too.  I could have done without the drama but all in all it turned out to be a pretty nice weekend."

"Josh is a good guy.  We made plans to go golfing with Anthony next weekend."

I playfully hit his upper arm, "I know, I was sitting right there."

He laughed, "Old age creeping up on me."

"Lukas, you mentioned a destination wedding before.  Is that the type of wedding you and Isabella had?" I asked cautiously.

He shook his head, "We had a huge country club wedding.  That's what she wanted and I obliged."

"Would you like to have a destination wedding one day?"

"Are you asking me to marry you?" he joked.

"If you play your cards right, I just might" I said with a wink.

He chuckled.  "Make sure you get me at least a three carat ring."

"You're so freaking high maintenance, Lukas."

He smiled.  "Do you want a destination wedding?"

"I don't know.  It depends.  A friend had a wedding in Punta Cana and it gorgeous.  At the same time, every since I was a little girl I've dreamed of having my wedding at Oheka Castle and being a princess for a day."

"You're my princess" he said, leaning over and brushing his lips against mine.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unpredictable Times in the Hamptons

"Britney's here?"  I asked confused.

Anthony nodded, "Yeah, she said she needs to talk to you.  It's cool if you don't want to.  It's your call."

"Oh my God, this is so complicated" I muttered in disbelief.

"Anthony, can you give Liz and I a few minutes alone?" Lukas asked.

With the Anthony walked back inside the house, leaving the two of us on the porch.  Lukas took my hand and led me to his car.  He opened the back door and motioned for me to get in.  I did and he followed, pulling the door behind him.

"Are you okay, Elisabeth?  You're shaking like a leaf and you look so pale."

"I don't know if I can talk to Britney" I said quietly.

"After everything she put you through, you don't owe her anything."

"It's not that Lukas" I said flatly.

"Then what is it?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

I took a deep breath, not knowing exactly where to start.  Even though Lukas knew about my meeting with the FBI, I didn't tell him all of the details and he didn't push either.  I started speaking quickly.

"When I met with the FBI they asked me about Britney.  They wanted to know about our friendship, whether we had spoken recently and how much I knew about her and Grant."

Lukas looked at me, shocked "What did you tell them?"

"Not much.  I told them that Britney and I weren't friends because she was trying to break up my relationship with you and wanted me to reunite with my ex.  I mentioned that I hadn't spoken to her since then and that had no clue about the extent of her relationship with Grant."

Lukas leaned forward, rubbing his temples.  "Why didn't you tell me this before?"

"You went out with Damien and I had dinner with Melissa that night.  Then Friday, I was exhausted and Saturday was the wedding.  I totally slipped my mind."

He turned his head and looked at me.  "I think you should have been completely honest with the FBI.  Omitting information can come back and bite you in the ass."

"I was embarrassed.  I had two lawyers from my company there with me.  I didn't feel comfortable airing my dirty laundry in front of them.  I probably should have thought of the consequences but I was too concerned with maintaining my reputation at SIB.  I didn't want word to get out about all of the drama in personal life" I said honestly.

"I understand.  Right now, how do you feel about talking to Britney?  Is it something that you're comfortable doing?" he asked.

I shook my head, " I don't know.  I'm not looking to forgive or reconcile with Britney after all that she's put me through.  I've always considered her to be the sister I never had and I can't get over how much she lied and hurt me.  I don't wish bad upon her but at the same time I can't be her friend.  I'm afraid that talking to her will get me further entangled in this mess but then I'm conflicted.  What if she has something important to tell me that could change everything?  I guess I'm confused."

"I agree 100%.  I want you to do what you feel comfortable with" Lukas said, entwining my fingers with his.

I gave him a small smile, "I want to hear her out but I won't tell her about my conversation with the FBI.  Promise me you won't say a word to anyone."

"Of course I won't say anything" he said wrapping his arms around me.

Twenty minutes later, after I said hello to everyone, I walked slowly out of the French patio doors to the well manicured backyard.  Britney immediately glanced in my direction and a look of relief washed over her sun kissed faced.  I sat across from her at the wrought iron patio table.

"Anthony said you needed to speak with me" I said sharply.

Her head bobbed up and down in agreement.  "Yes, thank you agreeing to speak with me."

"I don't want to spend too much time out here, so can you please get on with it."

Nervously, she tapped her fingernails on the table.  "First I wanted to apologize for my behavior.  There is no excuse for me lying to you or me attacking you at the rooftop.  I was wrong and I take full responsibility for everything."

I stuttered, "Thank you, that means a lot."

"That night at Pimelo I ran off because I couldn't stand being around Grant one more second" she blurted out.

"I thought you and him were close."

She shook her head and her eyes were full of tears.  "He treated me like shit and made my life miserable.  I didn't know he was involved in so much shady business, nor did I know that he was videotaping having sex with every woman.  He had taped me and him together and was holding it over my head; threatening to post it on the internet and expose me if I didn't help him get you."

"Britney, why should I believe you?  You told me that Jason was doing the same exact thing and it was a complete and utter lie."

"Because this time it's true.  I left that night because I had enough.  I was planning to go to the authorities and tell them about the tape but someone beat me to the punch" she pleaded.

I leaned back in my seat and studied Britney's face.  She looked so sad.  "Okay.  I don't mean to be a bitch but why are you telling me all this?  Why did you want to meet with me so urgently?"

"I wanted to apologize, clear the air and let you know that I have started seeing a psychiatrist to get my life back on track."

I reached over and put my hand on top of hers.  "I'm glad to hear that.  I hope everything works out for you."

"Me too.  There's one more thing" she said nervously.

"What?"

"I think the FBI are trying to make me an accomplice of Grant's but I swear I had no idea he was that twisted.  I thought he was using me but with each day it seems like the plot thickens" she said despondently.

"Listen, I'm sure that the authorities will get to the bottom of this.  I'm sorry that Grant hurt you.  Even though we aren't friends, I want the best for you.  Therapy is definitely a step in the right direction" I said, getting up.

"Thank you Elisabeth" she said following me into the house where I immediately spotted Melissa and Josh chatting with Lukas, Anthony and Priya, while Anthony's mom cooked.  Britney hesitantly exchanged pleasantries with Melissa before proclaiming that she had to leave.

Once she left, Melissa mentioned that she wanted to talk to me in private.  I figured she was curious about Britney but was mistaken.  She immediately burst into tears once we entered one of the guest bedrooms.  I tried to console her but she sobbed uncontrollably.

"What's going on?" I asked gently.

Her tears fell like raindrops.  "I'm not pregnant" she blubbered.

"Isn't that what you wanted?  When we spoke you said you weren't ready to have a baby just yet" I said softly, trying to comfort her.

"After you left Thursday night, I ran to Walgreens and bought pregnancy test.  I know that I was suppose to take it first thing in the morning but I couldn't wait.  Those ten minutes were pure agony.  When I finally looked at the test, it was positive.  At first I was scared but then I started embracing the idea of having a baby.  I didn't tell Josh anything and wanted to be 100% positive first.  Anyway the next morning I made an emergency appointment with my gynecologist."

I waited patiently for her to continue.  "I didn't even bother taking the other pregnancy test.  Long story short the doctor did some tests and I'm not pregnant.  Turns out that it was just a false positive.  She said that it happens a lot of times."

"I'm sorry, Melissa" I said, rubbing her back gently.

"It's hard to believe but once that test came out positive I started loving my 'baby'.  Maybe it wasn't the way I planned but I was happy and couldn't wait.  Now I feel so empty.  I'm trying to put up a happy front for Josh but it's hard and I find myself just avoiding him" she said quietly.

"Aw, sweetie, you have to tell Josh what's going on.  You can't keep your emotions bottled up and deal with this on your own.  When the time is right, I know that you'll be an awesome mom."

She smiled tightly but her eyes showed the pain she felt.  "I feel like a fool for falling in love with a hypothetical baby."

"It's completely normal.  You thought you were pregnant, how could you not love your baby?  Don't be so hard on yourself" I said soothingly.

"I'm fucking confused.  I always envisioned having a baby after three years of marriage and now all I can think about is how much I want a baby" she shared.

For the next half hour I did my best to console Melissa.  I allowed her to vent and share her feelings without saying I understand because truthfully I didn't.  I've never had a pregnancy scare (knock on wood) and couldn't imagine how I would feel if I believed I was pregnant when in fact I wasn't.  Plus it always pissed me off when someone claims to understand something when they have no clue.

By the time we joined the others, it was dinnertime.  Priya helped Mrs. Rossi (Anthony's mom) set the table while the men talked about the upcoming football season.  As we approached Lukas looked at me quizzically but didn't say anything.  Anthony, meanwhile, wasted no time asking if we had a good talk.

I chuckled and said we did but didn't elaborate while Melissa fluttered around the kitchen trying to find something to do.  During dinner I was amazed by how seamlessly Lukas fit in with my friends. All of us except Melissa were conversing happily while making plans to go to 1OAK later in the night.  It was the Hamptons newest club and having been to both the NYC and Las Vegas locations, I was almost sure that it wouldn't disappoint.

After dinner I helped Mrs. Rossi clear the table and dried the dishes while she washed.  I hesitated for a moment when she brought up her concerns about Britney.  She felt that Britney was acting strange and worried that she was in some type of trouble.  Luckily she sensed from my quietness that I was uncomfortable discussing Britney and changed the subject.

"Honey, how are things going with Lukas?" she asked with a huge smile.

"He makes me so happy.  When I moved back to New York, I never imagined that I would meet someone like him.  I'm grateful to have him in my life."

"Aw, you two are a sweet couple.  Promise me, you'll invite me to the wedding?' she said teasingly.

I chuckled. "Of course I will.  You're not just Anthony's mom, you're family."

She pulled me into a tight hug.  "That means a lot to me.  If you need anything, no matter how big and small, I'm always here."

"Thanks, Mrs. Rossi."

--------

Around ten, we were all gathered around the granite island in the kitchen pre-gaming.  We took straight shots of Kettle One while waiting for our cabs.  We were just about to leave when Melissa said she wasn't feeling well and wanted to lie down.  Josh volunteered to stay with her but she adamant that he go out and have a good time.  Reluctantly he followed us outside, where our cabs awaited.

1OAK was packed.  It was hard to move around or even order drinks.  The atmosphere were intense and the crowd was full of wannabe guidos with spiked up hair and arrogant personalities.  The women weren't any better; clad in the tightest, shortest, lowest cut dresses they could find and shoes they could barely walk in.  It was a total 180 from 1OAK in the Meatpacking District.  We hung out for a about an hour or so but felt out of our element and decided to go back to the house.

During the cab ride, Anthony kept complaining that we should have listened to him and gone to Georgica instead of 1OAK.  He was probably right but I wasn't going to admit that.  Thankfully Priya was able to calm him down.  I noticed that Josh was all types of quiet and looked really sullen.

"Hey, everything alright with you?" I asked, nudging him.

He shook his head,  "I think Melissa is going to break up with me."

Anthony's eyes widened, "Why?  What did you do?"

"Dude, I didn't do anything.  She's been avoiding me and refuses to even talk to me.  I'm frustrated; I don't know what the hell is going on.  We went from being happy to her not even wanting to be around me" he said sadly.

"It's probably nothing serious.  Maybe she's stressed out with wedding planning?" I said covering for Melissa.  I wanted to tell him that Melissa loved him and was acting weird because of the false positive pregnancy test but it wasn't my place.  Deep down I hoped that she would take my advice and open up to Josh.

After we returned to the house, we all went to our respective bedrooms.  As Lukas and I laid in bed, I filled him in about Britney.  I snuggled close to him, my head on his chest.  He rubbed my back gently.  "What's the deal with Melissa?"

I took a deep breath, "All I can say is that she loves Josh but is going through some personal matters that he doesn't know about."

"Is it serious?" he asked concerned.

I shook my head, "I don't think so.  Once she opens up to him, everything should be fine."

--------

After breakfast the next morning, all of us headed to the beach.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day; perfect for taking advantage of the private beach just 300 yards away.  I was sickeningly sweet to watch Priya and Anthony play in the water.  They were adorable together.  I was glad that Anthony finally found a wonderful, normal woman that complemented him.   Melissa was still giving Josh the silent treatment and he looked miserable.  It was definitely awkward being around them.

"Do you want to head back in?" Lukas inquired.

"Yes, I'm a little tired and want to take a nice long nap."

We rushed inside the house and up the stairs to our bedroom.  Once he pushed the doors behind him Lukas' lips were on mine, kissing me with a sense of urgency, while his hands grabbed my ass.  I moaned feeling his hardness.  He dipped his head and kissed my neck before suckling on my nipples. Pleasure shot through my body.  He untied my bikini bottoms and moaned feeling how wet I was.  I pushed down his board shorts and stroked his hard, pulsating cock.

"I want you so fucking bad" he said huskily.

"How do you want me baby?"

"Like this" he said, turning me around and getting me on all fours.  I looked back at him; our eyes locked as he thrusted into me.  I gasped loudly, feeling so full.  He grabbed handful of my hair with one hand while the other squeeze my breast as he fucked me hard.  When he sensed I was about to orgasm, his hand moved between my legs and teased me mercilessly.  I screamed out his name as my body clenched tightly around him.  Lukas gave me a moment to recover before continuing.  He grunted loudly and nipped my shoulder with his teeth as he came.  Moments later we both collapsed on the bed, trying to catch our breaths.

We were basking in the afterglow of mind blowing sex when we heard Melissa and Josh yelling at each other.

"I can't take this shit anymore" Josh yelled.

"I'm not forcing you to stay.  If you want out, just fucking go" Melissa retorted.

"What the hell are you saying, Melissa?"

"I"m saying that if I'm making you so miserable, maybe you should leave" she shouted.

"What the hell is going on with you?  I try to talk to you and you blow me off.  Now you're telling me to leave?"

"Maybe this engagement is a huge mistake" she said boldly.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Am I Overreacting?

The truth?  What the fuck was this bitch talking about?  And why was she all over my man?  I caught Lisa’s eye and she shrugged.  She obviously was as clueless as I was.  Sandy closed the distance between her and Lukas and stroked his left jawline with her fake pointy nails. 

“You mean to tell me this little girl is your girlfriend?” she asked mockingly, as Lukas tried to push her away.

My blood was boiling and my hands closed into fists.  My eyes narrowed into slit as I stared at this desperate cougar practically throwing herself at my Lukas. I had had just about enough of her antics and the lack of answers from Lukas.  I glared at her.

“Lukas, what the hell is she talking about,” I asked as calmly as possible.

Before Lukas could utter a word, Sandy rolled her eyes at me.  

“If you want to know what I’m talking about, why don’t you ask me?  Why are you asking Lukas,” she said rudely.

“Aren’t you too old be acting like a catty mean girl?” I asked, bitchily.

“At least I’m not jailbait like you” she exclaimed.

I chuckled.  Clearly this bitch was out of her mind; all that sun must have fried her brains and fucked with her vision.  I was 26 and didn’t look like a teenager by any stretch.  Most people assumed I was 23/24.  Lukas finally spoke.

“Sandy, I will not tolerate you disrespecting my girlfriend. I don’t know what you’re doing here or what the hell you’re talking about,” he said strongly

“You don’t, huh? Maybe I should remind you,” she said giggling like a school girl before kissing Lukas on the cheek and whispering something that I couldn’t make out in his ear.  He pushed her away and told her to leave.  She pressed her body against him once again in a super tight hug before motioning for him to call her.  With that she turned on her stripper heels and headed towards the jam packed dance floor.  Lisa smiled sympathetically at me before excusing herself and Jacob.  I turned to face Lukas.

“It’s not what you think, Elisabeth,” he started and of course I interrupted.

“What do you think I think,” I asked as calmly as possible.

“That I dated or am involved with Sandy.  Neither is true.”

“How do you know her, Lukas?”

He took my hand and escorted me outside. We stood on the pier overlooking the Hudson River, the blue sky sparkling with stars. I wanted to take in the beauty of the night but my mind was clouded with Sandy and her inexcusable behavior. I regretted not putting her in her place and allowing her to make me feel insecure.  Why should I feel inferior to a dumb bitch with a terrible boob job and orange skin?  It took a few minutes before Lukas started talking.

“I’m sorry about Sandy. She had no right to disrespect you and I feel terrible that she tried to ruin our night.” I turned to face him.

“Thanks. How do you know her? I mean she seemed very comfortable and familiar with you.” He took a deep breath and exhaled softly.  

“Sandy is Damien’s second cousin.  After Isabella died I became a recluse.  I didn’t want to face the outside world and was feeling guilty.  Damien convinced me that it was okay to go out and have fun again.”
 
“Okay,” I responded waiting for him to continue.

“One night we went out to a bar and I ended up at Sandy’s apartment,” he said embarrassed.

“What did you do with her?”

“Elisabeth, what does it matter what I did with her? That was well over a year ago. Way before I met you,” he said defensively.

I know that I didn’t have any reason to get upset or even feel jealous but I was.  The mere thought of Lukas being intimate with Sandy made me shudder.  How could he be with someone like her? 

“I understand it was before you met me, but I still want to know what transpired between the two of you,” I said quietly.

“We had sex.  It was a one-night stand, nothing more.  She means nothing to me.  You’re the one I want to be with and love,” he pleaded. I know I should have probably let it go but I needed to know more.

“What’s the truth that she’s talking about?”

“The truth?” He scoffed, "I don’t know what the fuck she meant by that.  Tonight is the first time that I’ve seen her since that night."

“Okay,” I said quietly.

“Elisabeth I love you and I don’t want this to ruin our evening.  She meant nothing to me.  She was a huge mistake and I regret having sex with her,” he said genuinely.

“I don’t want it to ruin our evening either. I guess I’m just a little upset that you were with her.”

He brushed a strand of hair behind my ear.  His hand grazed softly against my cheek and my heart fluttered.  Instinctively I took a step forward and closed the gap between us.  I looked up at him and noticed his sparkly green eyes studying my eyes and then focusing on my mouth.  I licked my lips super slowly allowing them to part as I waited in anticipation.  His lips gently brushed against mine, sending a s surge of electricity through my body. I was disappointed when he pulled away and studied my face once again.

“Lukas,” I said breathlessly, my voice filled with want and desire.

His hands cupped my face and he kissed me softly.  I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him near.  My breasts against his strong, muscular chest while his left hand snaked around my back.  His right hand at the back of my neck, buried in my hair.  Desire spread through my body as his tongue expertly played with mine. I moaned softly into our kiss before I reluctantly pulled away.  Lukas eyes were filled with passion and his cheeks were flushed as he stared at me breathlessly.

“Maybe we should head back to the wedding,” I said quietly.

He hesitated before following me back inside.  We stopped by the bar and got drinks before returning to our table.  I noticed both Lisa and Amanda looking at me curiously and smiled politely.  The magic and beauty of the wedding was now marred by trashy Sandy.  Instead of laughing and getting to know each other, Lukas’ friends were smiling sympathetically at me, fully aware of our plight.  I felt extremely uncomfortable and regretted insisting that we should get back to the wedding.  Why didn't I suggest that we go back to my place instead? 

I was lost in my thoughts when Amanda asked me to go to the bar with her.  I unenthusiastically agreed and followed her.  We were waiting in line when she spoke. 

“I heard what happened with Sandy and I can only imagine how awkward you might feel.”

“Thank you,” I sputtered

“You’re the only one that matters to Lukas.  Sandy was nothing but a mistake.  She pounced on Lukas when he was most vulnerable.  I hope you won’t let his past screw up what you have with him,” she said gently.

I nodded.  She was right but I still felt blindsided.  I knew that I needed to talk to Lukas and get everything out before moving forward.  “I care about Lukas a lot too and won’t let Sandy interfere in our relationship. There’s some things that we need to discuss though.”

“I completely understand” she said with a small smile.

The rest of the night went by without any further distractions from Sandy. I was able to relax and have fun while dancing with Lukas and getting to know his friends.  By the time the reception ended, I was exhausted and buzzed.  Lukas hailed a cab and gave the driver my address.  In no time I was struggling to get the key into the door lock.  I was a lot drunker than I thought.  Finally Lukas took control and pushed the door open. 


Lukas followed as I rushed to my bedroom and stripped out of my dress and bra.  I sat on my bed in only a black lacy thong and put my hair into a messy bun.  I crawled under the covers and watched through my half opened eyes as Lukas undressed.  Once done he slid under the covers and spooned me.  


The next morning I awoke to the smell of freshly brewed coffee and eggs.  I stretched and sat up slowly.  My head pounded and my mouth was parched.  I reluctantly got out of bed and went to the bathroom before joining Lukas in the kitchen.  He poured me a cup of coffee.

“How you are feeling?” he asked caringly.

“Eh, like crap.  My head is killing me” I complained.

“Here, eat this.  It will make you feel better” he said, placing a plate of eggs and toast in front of me.  I took a small bite of the egg white and spinach omelet before thanking him for being so thoughtful.  We ate breakfast in virtual silence but it was evident that both of us knew we had to talk.  Lukas looked at me intently as I rubbed my temples, trying to alleviate the pressure. 

“What time are we leaving?” I asked absentmindedly.

“I’m ready, whenever you are” he responded.

I nodded and started to get ready for the Hamptons.  Even though I wanted to spend the weekend with Lukas in my apartment, I knew we couldn’t let Priya and Anthony down.  After showering, I slipped into cutoff denim shorts, tank top and Tory Burch sandals.  Once I was done I found Lukas sitting in the living room playing with his phone.  He looked up when he saw me approaching. 

“Ready?” he inquired.

“Yes….no…..actually, I’m not sure” I responded.

“Why’s that?” he asked even though I’m almost positive he knew that our encounter with Sandy was still weighing heavily on my mind.

“I wanted to talk to you about Sandy.”

He sighed, “Elisabeth, didn't we talk about this last night?  Honestly, I think you’re making this bigger than it is and overreacting.”

“Overreacting?” I shrieked.

“Yes.  I had a one night stand with Sandy way before I met you.  I understand that seeing her last night was awkward but what exactly did I do wrong?”

“You should’ve told me about her.  Do you know how stupid I felt standing there while she literally threw herself on you and talked down to me?” I argued.

“I stood up for you, for us, Elisabeth.  Why can’t you acknowledge that?”

“Why didn't you tell me about her?” I countered.

He laughed, “Did you honestly expect me to bring her up out of thin air?  What exactly was I supposed to do?  Go down a list of every woman I hooked up with or dated just in case?”

The more he spoke, the more ignorant I felt.  He was right; he didn’t do anything wrong.  If anything, he stood up for me and put Sandy in her place.  There was no way that he knew she would show up at the wedding or even try to cause trouble.  Why was I so upset?

“Lukas, you’re right.  You did everything you should’ve.  It’s just that picturing you with another woman makes me jealous” I said nervously.

“Don’t you think it pissed me off that you were meeting up with your ex for closure or hanging out with Grant when I told you he was interested in you?” he asked firmly.

“But you didn't say anything” I said dumbfounded.  I never considered that Lukas would be upset when I met up with Jason that night at the bar or even when I confronted him July 4th weekend.  I knew that he warned me about Grant being interested in my but I cast those thoughts to the side.  If the tables were turned, I would be livid if Lukas was trying to find closure with his ex or hanging out with a woman that I knew was interested in him.  Suddenly, I felt guilty for making a big deal out of Sandy.

“I trust you and knew you would do right by me.  It would be nice if you had some faith in me” he said softly.

I felt my eyes well up with tears.  “I do trust you.”

“We shouldn't let our past fuck with what we have.  I love you and I don’t want you to feel insecure in any way.  You’re the only one I want to be with” he said wiping a stray tear that fell down my cheek.

“I love you too.  I’m sorry I got so upset” I said, hugging him.

He chuckled, “Don’t apologize.  I’m an open book, if you want to know anything about my past, just ask."

It felt as though a weight had been lifted.  I straddled him, feeling his erection against me.  I grabbed his face and kissed him passionately.  His hands roughly pushed up my tank top and pulled my bra cups down.  Gently he teased my nipples between his thumb and index finger while I grinded against his hardness.  His lips moved down to my neck, kissing the sensitive skin before laying me on my back on the couch.  I moaned softly as he flicked my rock hard, sensitive nipples with his tongue before nipping them gently with his teeth.  He smiled mischievously at me as he worked his way down my flat stomach.  I lifted my hips allowing him to slide my shorts and panties down my legs.  His fingers stroked me, feeling how wet and ready I was for him.  I panted for breath and spread my legs wider, wanting more.  He rubbed my clitoris in small circles, causing me to moan out his name repeatedly but didn’t let me orgasm.  I was trying to catch my breath when he plunged into me in one deep, hard thrust.  I screamed in pleasure and wrapped my legs around him.  He moved with a sense of urgency.  Each thrust deeper than the previous.  I couldn’t take it anymore and gasped as my orgasm washed over me.  Lukas threw one of my legs over his shoulder and moved quicker.  It didn’t take long for him to come.

About an hour or so later we finally placed our luggage into Lukas' Range Rover and started our journey to the Hamptons.  I hadn't been there in three summers and was excited to go back.  When I was a child my parents rented a house in the Hamptons for one week each summer.  It was right on the beach and we all had so much fun.  Before we left we would have a huge barbecue and invite the entire family.  As my brothers and I got older, our parents opted to go on multiple dream  vacations instead.

During my college days, my friends and I had a share house.  It was a bit of a dive but that was all we could afford.  It was a two bedroom cottage that we managed to cram ten people into.  It was our party house; well their party house.  Jason use to go with me and refused to go to the clubs or bars.  Instead I would go with my friends, feel guilty and cab it back to the house to be with him.  My friends tried to warn me about him but I chose not to listen.  I guess, love is truly blind.

For a holiday weekend traffic was moving quite well until we got onto Montauk Highway.  I probably could've walked and gotten to Anthony's summer house faster.  We must have sat in traffic for well over an hour before we pulled into circular driveway of the gorgeous house.  Lukas gathered our overnight bags from the trunk and I rang the doorbell.

Anthony opened the front door and then stepped out, pulling the door behind him.  He had a worried expression on his face.

"I'm glad both of you could make it.  I should've texted you but my service out here sucks."

"What's going on?" I asked confused.

"I'll cut to the chase.  Somehow, Britney found out that we were going to be here this weekend and literally showed up about an hour ago" he said quickly.

"Britney's here?" I repeated.

"Yes, she said she needs to talk to you."