Character List

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Getting to Know You

After dinner, we walked around the Paris with Linda and Faisal.  It was though none of us wanted this wonderful night to end.  We did the touristy thing and took group pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower which is even more gorgeous at night.

"Are you two going to do the love locks?" Linda asked.

I shook my head.  "I read somewhere that the love locks are causing so many issues with bridges and that it's against the law.  When I was a teenager, I visited Paris with my family and we did the love lock thing."

"Lauren didn't want to do it when were kids.  She was always causing drama" Linda shared.

I nodded but didn't respond while Lukas cleared his throat.  "Speaking of Lauren, have you spoken to her recently.?"

"Nope and I don't intend to.  I love Stephanie and Liam and think that they deserve a better mother.  She is so fucking selfish that it makes my blood boil.  People like her don't deserve to have kids.  I hope Jeff gets full custody and doesn't let those kids see her.  They're better off without her" Linda ranted.

"Well you just might get your wish.  I'm not saying Lauren is a model mother...she isn't.  However, I think every child needs to know and have a relationship with their mom.  I agree that she needs help and isn't in a position to raise Liam and Steph until she gets that help" Lukas said calmly.

Faisal and I looked on slightly uncomfortably as Linda and Lukas discussed Lauren.  I stood near Faisal and gently elbowed him, "When are you going to come back to NYC?"

"Anytime Linda wants to" he quipped.

I nodded, "Good answer.  Be honest, what did you think when you met her family?"

He chuckled before saying, "I didn't know what to expect.  Listening to Linda talk about them, I thought they they'd shun us and not be accepting of our marriage.  I was pleasantly surprised by how open minded they were.  And you and Lukas have been wonderful.  To be honest, I couldn't ask for more."

I smiled, "For the most part, Lukas' family is really cool and down to earth."

"Except for that whack job Lauren.  She told Linda not to trust me because I probably had ties with terrorism."

I gasped.  "You can't take her seriously.  She isn't well."

"That I know.  She's called Linda numerous times to bitch about you.  Before we met I legit thought you were a psycho.  Linda on the other hand wanted to give you the benefit of doubt because as she explained Lauren is overly dramatic"

I couldn't help but giggle, "Well I'd like to say that that is an understatement!"

By this time Lukas and Linda rejoined us.  "What are you two talking about?" she asked with a smile.

"Nothing much, just getting to know each other" I replied.

She nodded, "Do you want to go shopping with me tomorrow?  I was invited to this exclusive sale and need someone with fashion sense to go with me."

"I'd love to!"

"I'll meet you in the lobby of your hotel at 3.  Faisal you and Lukas can get drinks while we shop and then we'll all meet for dinner" Linda explained.

We all agreed before heading our separate ways.  Our ride back to the hotel was filled with conversation.  "Tonight was fun" Lukas said.

"Yeah.  Linda and Faisal are pretty cool and so much fun."

"Too bad Lauren is the total opposite" he deadpanned.

"Well not everyone can be social butterflies."

Once we got back to our hotel room, we undressed and took what was suppose to be a quick shower together.  Our quick shower turned into a round of pretty good shower sex.  After we cleaned up, we headed to bed.  We cuddled and as Lukas stroked my damn hair I knew I had to share what Linda told me about her miscarriage.  Lukas was completely shocked.

"No wonder she was so short on the phone and didn't want to talk much" he rationalized.

"The worst part is that she blames herself for the miscarriage."

He shook his head, "That sucks.  Don't ectopic pregnancies have high rates of miscarriages?"

"They are high risk, that's for sure."

"Hopefully us being here will snap her out of her funk.  She was in good spirits tonight" Lukas said.

I agreed, "I guess it gets better with time."

"Speaking of babies, when is Kristen due?"

I thought back to my last conversation with her.  "In two months. You just reminded me...I should throw her a shower."

"A shower?  I thought those were for first time moms?" 

"Nope.  Some women have a shower for each pregnancy.  It's just a day to pamper the mom to be.  Maybe I can plan a co-ed shower/barbecue at my parent's house?" I suggested.

"Barbecue....that's not a bad idea.  Just as long as I don't have to be around while all of you women talk about pregnancies and labor."

I laughed, "Deal...we'll spare you the details."

-------------

Two days later Lukas and I boarded the train to Provence.  We considered having Jacques drive us but sitting in a car for nine-hours was a bit much.  The three hour train ride was more palatable.  Linda and Faisal left last night and were waiting for us at his parents home.  Our train ride was surprisingly relaxing and before we could get stir crazy our train pulled into the station.  Lukas grabbed our luggage and led the way.

Faisal was leaning against a black BMW SUV.  He waved and motioned over to us.  We excitedly made our way over to him.  After greeting each other, we got into the car.  Lukas sat in the front and I opted to sit in the back.  Faisal shared that Linda was helping his mom make lunch and asked how our trip was.

As we drove through the narrow streets I was reminded of Italy.  The well maintained homes with terraces the overlooked cobblestone streets, residents speaking amicably together and children playing without a care in the world.  "This is stunning" I said in awe.

"This is only the beginning."

Faisal pulled up to a gorgeous villa with perfectly landscaped lawns.  "Well this is it....my parent's home" he said shyly.

"Wow, it's gorgeous.  I can only imagine how awesome it was growing up here" I answered.

I waited until Lukas got our luggage before walking towards the door.  Faisal pushed it open and we stepped in.  I immediately spotted Linda who skipped over and hugged me.  "I'm so glad you guys are here."

She introduced us to her mother-in-law, Sadia.  She insisted that we call her by her first name but out of respect we will called her Miss Sadia.  She was clad in fitted pants and a tunic. Even though she wore a hijab I could see how beautiful she was.  Piercing hazel eyes perfectly lined with black eyeliner, full lips and the perfect complexion.  Even though she was in her mid-50's she didn't have a wrinkle in sight.

"Miss Sadia, thank you for inviting us" Lukas said genuinely.

"It's my pleasure.  We don't have much family and it gets lonely here at times" she said sullenly.

"Let me go get dad and we'll have lunch" Faisal said quickly.

Faisal's dad - Nadim - was definitely older than I expected.  He looked to be in his seventies with a head full of white hair and a friendly face.  He was tall and walked with a stick.  After a quick introduction we moved into the dining room area.  Miss Sadia had spent all day making lamb stew.  It was so good that I whispered to Lukas to remind me to get the recipe.

"Do you like New York?" Nadim asked with a thick accent.

I nodded.  "Yes it's where I was born and raised.  There's always something to do.  It truly is the city that never sleeps.  Have you ever been?"

Nadim shook his head.  "I would like to but since I had my stroke ten years ago, I have stopped travelling too far."

"One day we will go to New York," Miss Sadia replied optimistically.

"Whenever you do, please visit us" Lukas said pleasantly.

"What do you do in New York?" Nadim asked.

After a quick sip of water Lukas said, "I work in my family's architectural business. We're currently in the process of expanding and opening up an office in Miami.  Liz works for an investment bank."

"Ah an investment banker, huh?  You have any tips for an old man?" Nadim asked while Sadia should his a dirty look.

"Unfortunately no.  I'm not really an investment banker per se."

Miss Sadia interrupted, "It's wonderful to see a young woman like yourself making strides in the business world.  If I could go back in time I would go to college and establish a career."

"It's never too late...you can still go to college" Linda replied.

Miss Sadia continued.  "When I was seventeen, my parents arranged my marriage.  I didn't have a say or even see Nadim before we married.  You can imagine how scared I was.  Moving from my parents home and into my in-laws home with a man I didn't even know."

Nadim nodded and added, "We learned to love and trust each other."

"I didn't expect a man seventeen years my senior.  Double my age then" she reminisced.

"In our culture this was how it was does in our time.  Sadia and I promised that when we had our own children we wouldn't choose their mate.  We want them to make their own choices" Nadim explained.

"I love my husband and children, they're my world" Miss Sadia added.

After lunch, Linda and I volunteered to clean up.  Even though Miss Sadia said no, we insisted until she changed her mind.  While Linda washed the dishes and I dried we started talking.

"She's always saying how she wishes she had more opportunities when she was growing up....she doesn't even stop and think that those comments are hurtful to her husband" Linda ranted.

I shrugged.  "Maybe she means nothing by it?  It would suck to have to marry a man you didn't know and then find out he's twice your age."

"Totally.  And in their culture, they hang the wedding night sheets outside to provide to the world that the bride was a virgin."

"I remember reading that some women have like a hymen-resurrection surgery....I don't even think that's what it's called but anyway I read that non-virgins in these types of cultures have this surgery so that their husbands would think they're a virgin.  They didn't want to shame their families.  What I want to know is how do you go from never seeing your husband to having sex with him?" I pondered.

Miss Sadia cleared at her throat to make her presence felt.  We both turned around and she smiled sympathetically.  "I can answer that question.  I was lucky,  Nadim was patient and kind with me.  Many of my childhood friends weren't as lucky.  Their husbands viewed them as property.  Nadim treated me with respect and tried to understand my apprehension.  Our wedding night was terrifying. I had never seen a naked man and didn't even know what was suppose to happen."

Linda sat down around the table next to her mother in law.  "Would you marry dad again if you had a choice?"

Miss Sadia smiled and blushed.  "Yes, he is my heart."

"Aw.  That's so sweet" I added.

She nodded.  "I would marry him again but after I finished my education."

"I still think you can go back to school now" I added.

She shook her head.  "No one wants an old lady in their college class.  Much less an old Muslim lady."

"Two things.  One you're not old.  And two, I think you'd set a great example.  All the college kids would admire your dedication" I explained.

"You're a sweet girl" Miss Sadia said, touching my cheek gently.

-------

After we cleaned up, we joined the men in the living area.  They were all talking in French and stopped when they saw us.

"Ladies, please join us" Nadim said politely, motioning to the couch.

We sat down and they resumed their conversation.  I guess Faisal realized that we were slightly uncomfortable and leaned over and whispered something to his dad.  Nadim looked at all three of us before saying, "My apologies.  I'm not use to having three beautiful women in my home."

If it were any one else, I'd chalk that comment up to being a dirty old man but with Nadim there was this genuine vibe when he spoke.  He sounded as though he meant and felt each word he uttered.  Though our conversation was the furthest thing from boring, I became increasingly tired.  Lukas was kind enough to pick up on this and asked if I wanted to take a nap.  I agreed and Miss Sadia showed us to our room on the other side of the villa.

"It's not much.  If you need anything please ask me" she said looking down.

Our bedroom was well decorated.  The walls were painted in a pale yellow and the windows had lace drapes.  In he middle of the room was a queen sized bed, perfectly made up.  There was a door that led to a private bathroom.

"This is more than enough" I replied appreciatively.

She smiled. "Thank you.  I'll be in the living room if you need me."

With that she turned and walked out of the room, locking the door behind her. I sat on the bed and dug through my bag for my cell phone.  Even though I would have to pay astronomical roaming fees, I used it to check my emails and texts.

"What do you have in that bag?" Lukas teased.

"Everything!!" I exclaimed excitedly.

He chuckled, "I'm going to shower."

I was getting ready to put my phone to charge when I felt it vibrate.  I looked at the screen and saw a message from Ryan.

"Elisabeth, we need to speak to you ASAP."


Monday, May 25, 2015

Keeping Up with Linda

I beyond excited to see Linda again.  I tried on outfit after outfit, wanting to look classy yet super sexy at the same.  Because we were having dinner with Linda and her husband, I didn't want to wear anything too revealing.  After fixing my hair and makeup I slipped into a little black dress with a scoop neckline that I paired with black booties.  I convinced Lukas to wear the suit we purchased at Hugo Boss the day earlier because he looked irresistible in it.

After arriving at the restaurant, we were escorted to a corner table.  The waiter asked if we'd like to order drinks and we declined.  We wanted to wait for Linda and Faisal.  I took a moment to look around the very full restaurant.  There was a long table set up in the center with at least fifteen people.  It looked like an extended family...grandparents, their kids and grandchildren.  They all seemed to be enjoying each others company.  It was fascinating to watch them interact.  I was so engrossed that I didn't even realize that Faisal and Linda had arrived until she touched my shoulder.

I immediately jumped up and wrapped my arms around her.  We excitedly talking over each other.  "Oh my God, I love your outfit" Linda squealed while I complemented her on her very sexy white dress.  Side note: I had considered getting the same dress but opted against it because I thought it revealed way too much of my breasts.  Linda didn't have that problem at all.  She has a very supermodel-esque type of body that was made for such outfits.  

"So where did you guys go so far?" she asked.

I quickly filled her in.  "You should have called.  I would have loved to go shopping with you Liz.  Lukas and Faisal could have hung out and gotten a drink or five while we shopped."

"Next time" I promised with a smile.

The waiter returned and we ordered a bottle of Rose and appetizers. "So I have to ask....have you thought about a date for your wedding?"

Linda shook her head while Faisal smirked.  "I told you, we want to wait until you and Lukas get married before we have our post wedding reception.  I don't want to step on your toes or steal your date.  Speaking of which did you guys chose one?"

I glanced at Lukas and he nodded.  You see one night when we were hanging out at our apartment we started talking about our wedding.  "I want you to have the wedding you've always dreamed of" Lukas said.

Dreamily I answered, 'When I was younger, I fantasized about getting married in castle and wearing this huge blinged out ballgown.  I know it's a bit over the top!  Plus what would I look like in a princessy dress?"

He laughed, "You'd look gorgeous."

"You're way too kind.  When you were growing up did you ever think about getting married?"

He shrugged. "Not really.  I fantasized about sex like every other hot blooded teenager."

I chuckled, "Does that mean you weren't getting any in high school?"

"I didn't say that.  The girls I went to school with couldn't keep up with me" he quipped.

I rolled my eyes.  "That's what all the guys say.  Be honest, what were you like in high school?"

"I wasn't banging every girl in my class. There was this one girl that I dated for a while."

"Aw, your first love" I teased.

He shook his head.  "I wouldn't go that far.  She was a stage five clinger.  Very nice girl but I couldn't do anything without her flipping the fuck out.  Whenever I wasn't with her, she'd freak out thinking I was cheating."

"Did you?" I asked.

"Liz...come on."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that.  I was just curious..I mean everyone makes mistakes when they're teenagers" I explained.

That completely piqued his interest.  "Is that a cheating confession?" he asked.

"No" I said flatly.

Thankfully Lukas didn't push for more details and our conversation naturally shifted back to our wedding.  "Tell me when you pictured getting married."

With a huge smile I replied, "I've always envisioned this summer wedding.  It would be sunny and warm.  Not scorching hot because then I'd sweat through my makeup and be uncomfortable in a huge wedding gown."

"A summer wedding it is then" Lukas replied confidently.

"What?"

"We're going to have that summer wedding that you've dreamed of for so long" he answered.

Before I knew it, Lukas and I were mulling over dates and trying to figure out which one would work best for us.  It took a while but we settled on.......July 3, 2016.

"We can have fireworks at the end of our reception without it being tacky, since it will be July 4th wedding.  Oh my God Lukas, I have so much to do.  I'm so excited.  I'm going ask my mom and my girls in the wedding party if they're cool with that date before we finalize it" I rambled excitedly.

I smiled at the memory before sharing our wedding date with Faisal and Linda.  "Do you have a venue yet?" Linda inquired.

I shook my head.  "We haven't even started looking at places.  There are a few places I have in mind but obviously Lukas and I would have to visit them."

Faisal who had been quiet thus far finally spoke.  "Will your wedding be traditional?"

"Traditional?  Even though we're both Catholic, I don't know if I'd want our guests to have to sit through mass and a traditional Catholic ceremony.  I was thinking a simple church ceremony, possibly vows that we wrote ourselves and than a crazy, over the top reception" I answered.

"I remember when you and Isabella got married.  She was so overwhelmed with wedding planning that Lukas had to take over.  She was so upset when started drizzling in the morning...her dream beach wedding was ruined.  Thankfully it cleared up and they had this picture perfect ceremony" Linda reminisced.

"You help Isabella wedding plan?" I asked.

Lukas nodded.  "To a certain extent.  I didn't know what the heck I was doing."

"I'm sure you were great and now that I know you have some experience wedding planning, I'm definitely going to put you to work" I teased.

Faisal chuckled, "Thankfully I don't have any experience with weddings."

Linda playfully hit him.  "You'll learn."

I couldn't help but giggle.  "You spoke too fast Faisal."

Our conversation naturally flowed during dinner.  We all felt so comfortable with each other and that allowed us all to open up.  I was captivated listening to Faisal speak about his Parisian experience.  "After 9/11 everywhere I went I was looked at like a terrorist.  People thought that all Muslims are extremists.  It made it so difficult.  I'm disgusted by Al-Queda and ISIS.  I don't support them in any way and disagree with their actions.  Yet, if Linda and I were to walk around Paris, we'd have to deal with racism and name calling.  It's ridiculous."

"They're a lot of ignorant people in the world" I answered.

He nodded.  "Whenever Linda and I have a child, I pray that he/she won't have to deal with this."

"I think wherever you go there will always be people who are biased.  Some people go by what they see on the news and don't take time to realize that those people are in the minority" Lukas answered.

"Lukas do you remember the Goldman family that went to school with us?  Those kids weren't allowed to associate with us...their parents swore we were in the mafia because we're Italian.  They were so limited now that I think of it.  They would go to school and only speak with the other Jewish kids only" Linda shared.

Lukas replied, "Yes, they were quick to talk shit about us but wasn't the dad arrested for something?"

"Yes!!!  He put out a hit on someone not realizing the hit man he hired was a cop" Linda said with an airy laugh.

"Totally fucked up family" Lukas added.

Dinner was winding down and we were all still having a great time.  Faisal said between bites of chocolate mousse, "I'm thrilled that you're both in Paris.  It would be honor to take you to my family home and show you the French countryside.  You don't have to worry about hotels...you can stay at the house."

"I've always wanted to visit the countryside" I said quickly.

"What about your parents?  I wouldn't want to impose of them" Lukas shared.

Faisal smiled, "My parents love entertaining. They will be overjoyed to have you stay with them.  Linda and I will be there too."

"In that case, we'd love to" Lukas answered.

"I'm glad to finally get the opportunity to show you where I come from and let you get to know my family.  When your parents visited we didn't have the opportunity to go to the countryside regrettably."

"Maybe you guys can have your wedding in the country" I said happily.

Faisal nodded, "That's not a bad idea."

"Maybe our rehearsal dinner.  I want our reception to have the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop" Linda said clasping her hand on the table.

"Whatever you decide, I know it will be absolutely perfect" I chimed in.

While we waited for the check Linda and I excused ourselves and headed to the restroom.  As we fixed our makeup she said, "I'm so happy you're here.  I've had a rough couple months."

I wrinkled my forehead.  "What do you mean?"

She lowered her voice, "No one really knows this because I don't want to burden my family. They're so far away and I don't want them worrying."

I nodded and soothingly said, "What is it?  Maybe if you tell me, you'll feel a little better?"

I noticed her hands were shaking.  She was obviously nervous.  "I had an ectopic pregnancy and ended up miscarrying.  I never thought I wanted children and when I got pregnant I was still on the fence.  Faisal was supportive of whatever I chose to do but I knew deep down he wanted a baby.  I was about two months pregnant when I woke up in the middle of the night in so much pain.  I could hardly move or speak.  It was the worse pain I ever felt.  I ended up miscarrying."

I hugged her and told her that I was sorry.  "I feel like I'm to blame for the miscarriage. I never wanted a baby and was leaning towards having an abortion."

"Honey I'm sorry. I hate to be cliche but everything happens for a reason."

She nodded.  "Faisal's been great and having you and Lukas here has definitely cheered me up."

"Whenever the time is right you'll have a baby.  And if you and Faisal choose not to have a baby, that's fine too.  I want you to know that Lukas and I will support whatever decision you make."

She sniffled, "Thanks Liz.  That means a lot to me."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Paris Part 2

The next morning I was slightly exhausted but excited about what laid ahead.  Lukas had always been great with surprises and I could not imagine what he had in store.  I thought I looked casual yet fashionable in skintight black ankle pants and eyelet crop top that showed off about two inches my midriff with black heels.  During breakfast I was relentless trying to get Lukas to give me a hint about where we were headed but he wouldn't budge.  Instead of getting annoyed he seemed to be amused by my questions.

After opening the passenger door for me, I observed Lukas and Jacques in a very animated, French conversation.  (Note to self:  Take French lessons).  When Lukas finally got into the car, he looked slightly frazzled.  I glanced at him and he started speaking.  "We've had a change in plans.  Turns out that I was a little too over ambitious and didn't realize that you'd have to make an appointment months in advance, be an A-lister or a multi-billionaire to do what I wanted."

"Aw, what did you have in mind?" I asked, rubbing his hand ever so gently.

"I wanted go give you the best birthday present ever" he started and I interrupted.

"Lukas this entire trip has been beyond my wildest expectations.  You're already given me the best birthday present ever....your love.  I don't need something fancy and outlandish.  All I need is you."

I could see a smile forming.  "I know and I feel the same way about you.  It's just that I wanted to make this trip so special.  I know that you have this obsession with shoes and I figured that we would stop by the Christian Louboutin factory and get you some custom made ones.  Jacques had told me it was doable when I contacted him from NY but now he's telling me that there's a waiting list and all this other shit.  I'm sorry I got your hopes up for nothing" he said morosely.

"You totally didn't.  I'm totally blown away that you would even think of that.  All the thought you've put into this trip has filled me with such joy and love.  You've thought out every detail and I appreciate that.  You know what I want to do today?" I asked.

He shook his head, "No.  What?"

"Let's do something that will make you happy.  This entire trip doesn't have to be about me.  I want you to have fun too!"

"Today I was planning for us to do a little shopping on the Champs Elysees.  Afterwards do you want to visit Notre Dame?" he asked.

I nodded, "Of course I do."

"I promise one day we'll go back and get you those custom made shoes" he said, while entwining my fingers with his.

"Hmm...to me the thought means more than anything."

Champs Elysees is like Rodeo Drive on crack.  It's like a fashionista's dream.  Since I wanted to focus on Lukas, I suggested that we go to the flagship Hugo Boss store.  I convinced Lukas to buy a dark grey fitted suit that fit him perfectly.  After that it was off to Cartier.  Lukas tried to get me a tank watch but I managed to convince him it wasn't necessary.  I already had two watches which was more than enough.  While he was talking in French to one of the sales associates I managed to secretly purchase him these really cute silver cufflinks.  I tucked it away in my bag inconspicuously and returned to Lukas' side.

"See anything you like?" he asked.

I shook my head.  "I like a lot of things but there's nothing that I really love and want."

He chuckled and led me out of the store.  "Where do you want to go next?"

"Hmm, I can't choose!  How about you lead the way and I'll follow this time."

We window shopped in the Chanel store.  While I really like the Ultra ceramic bracelet, I couldn't wrap my head about spending close to ten thousand dollars for it.  Maybe if it were gold.

We wandering through Marks and Spencer....a huge department.  While I intrigued by the things they had nothing really jumped out at me.  I can get a cotton sundress at any random store in NYC. There food and wine section was pretty cool but lugging bottles of wine and champagne while we shopped would have been a bit much.  While we were walking through the men's section, I mentioned that I was famished.

"What you in the mood for?" Lukas asked.

"Hmm...I know we're in Paris and we should indulge in French food but I'm craving Italian."

"I know just the place" he replied grinning.

A half hour later we were being seated at Farnesina...an Italian restaurant. We were given the option to eat on the terrace where we could people watch or eat inside.  I was so captivated by the marble tables and gorgeous paintings that I suggested we stay inside.  Our waiter was lovely and charming.  I was glad that he recommended the truffle pizza which was delicious.  Or maybe I was super hungry and my judgment was off?

"Is it just me or is this the best pizza ever?" I squealed.

"It's up there but in my opinion Palmero has the best pizza" Lukas answered.

"Sicily?"

He nodded, "Of course....this truffle pizza is the best I've had in France though."

I smiled.  "I've been to Italy many times but never Palmero.  I think my dad might even have distant relatives there."

"In that case, we have to go there. Family is everything."

"Speaking of family, what's up with Linda?" I asked.

He finished chewing (did I mention that Lukas has the best table manners) and then said, "Yes.  She suggested that we spend a few days at her place but I really didn't want to impose.  Anyway, she invited us to dinner tomorrow night."

I couldn't help but smile.  Linda is one of my favorite people in Lukas' family.  She's super sweet and we have so much in common.  "I'm so excited.  I can't wait to hang out with her.  Did she mention anything about her wedding?"

He shook his head.  "Nope."

After finishing off the bottle of wine and our entrees...Lukas had this very good lobster and asparagus risotto and while I had the very tasty chicken Milanese over an arugula salad.....we debated whether we wanted dessert, eventually ordering the panna cotta which was light and hit the spot.

Following lunch we continued exploring all of the stores.  I won't bore you with all the details.  However, I will share that I went a little overboard buying shoes. I couldn't help but getting these Givenchy pumps with silver stars at the back that I could wear to work with a simple pencil skirt or little black dress; and these really cute Guiseppe Zanotti patent leather flats that were so comfy.  I was in heaven at the Christian Louboutin stores....so many cute shoes....how could I decide.  After trying on shoe after shoe...most which wouldn't be available in the United States for weeks...I settled on these pumps with crystals (I know they're over the top but unbeknownst to Lukas I thought they'd be the perfect shoes to wear on our wedding day) and gladiator sandals  Our last stop was Hermes where I got a two bangles which in retrospect was probably over my budget but you only live once!

By the time we got back to the hotel my feet were killing me and I was tired....maybe it was a combination of running from store to store and the wine we consumed with lunch.  I wasted no time stripping out of my clothes and getting under the covers.  I awoke with hours later in a cold sweat, breathing heavily, my heart beating wildly in my chest....I sat up in bed and looked around trying to compose myself.

Lukas' hand rubbed my back soothingly.  "What's wrong?"

I started speaking quickly. "I had this awful dream and I can't shake this feeling that something is wrong."

"What do you mean?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I don't mean with us.  I mean with Melissa.  I had this dream that she's in some type of trouble and that she's being embezzled."

"That sounds like a mobster movie" he quipped.

I rolled my eyes.  "I'm serious Lukas.  What if she is in trouble and that's why she's been acting like such a bitch."

"Come on Liz.  You admitted yourself that Melissa has always been judgmental.  You're nightmare isn't some type of prophecy."

"But Lukas...I can't shake this feeling.  I have to make sure everything is fine."

As I searched through my bag for my phone, Lukas asked, "What you are doing?"

"I'm going to call Anthony."

I dialed his number and after eight rings I was sent to voicemail.  What the fuck?!? I left him a message asking him to text me when he could.  I flopped back on the bed and closed my eyes.  Was I overreacting and being irrational?  For Melissa's case I hope I was.

That night my mind was all over the place during dinner.  Lukas tried to alleviate my stress and make me smile to no avail.  I immediately checked my phone when I got back to our room and found a text from Anthony.

"Hey...sorry I missed your call.  I'm having a blast in Mexico with Eleanore.  Everything good with you?"

I immediately felt guilty for disturbing Anthony during his vacation and texted back, "Yes, everything is good.  Having so much fun in Paris.  We'll catch up in NY."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Random Ramblings

I tossed and turned all night, anxiously trying to figure out what Lukas had planned for us while he slept like a baby.  After getting back to our hotel room, Lukas gave me a massage, which led to another round of mind-blowing sex and both of us feeling exuberant and relaxed.  I didn't take long for either of us to fall asleep.  Unfortunately staying asleep was a challenge for me.  I turned on the television and watched a French movie on mute.  That didn't last long...the movie didn't have subtitles and I couldn't follow along.  I turned off the television and closed my eyes, allowing my mind to wander.

I thought about Lauren.  Her kids are so precious and I couldn't grasp her selfishness.  I remembered that night at dinner when she went off on me because her daughter spilled marinara sauce on her dress. She was so angry.  The kids retreated and though sullen seemed accustomed to this.  It saddened me and though I never said it to Lukas, part of me wanted to take those two kids home with me and give them the love and attention they deserved. However, I wanted to be neutral and supportive of Lukas and not get embroiled in a situation that didn't concern me.  Maybe I was being selfish?  I sighed and immediately remembered that faithful day when I visited Lauren in the hospital.  I thought we had a good visit.  I was shocked to hear from Lukas that she claimed I marched into her hospital room and forced her to speak with me.  She made me out to be this crazy bitch that was out to ruin her life which was the furthest thing from the truth. Though I had become resigned to the fact that Lauren and I would never be friends, it still upset me to hear about her setback.  I wanted her to get better not only for her children but herself.  I prayed that she would realize this before it was too late.

I drifted asleep for a little before awakening.  I glanced at the clock on the nightstand...4:14 AM.  Ugh!  I considered waking up Lukas but then decided not to.  He needed his rest after planning such an amazing trip.  I allowed my mind to drift to Melissa.  I hated fighting.  Her insistence that it was up to me to fix Britney pissed me off.  She hadn't even spoken to Britney in months yet had the audacity to tell me what a shitty friend I was to her.  Who died and made Melissa queen?  In the past we'd argued but she was never this steadfast.  Why was she behaving so irrationally?  Maybe something is going on in her life that she hasn't shared?  Would that make her behavior forgivable?  Not to be stubborn but NO. It was up to Melissa to fix the damage that she'd caused.  Her coming to our apartment uninvited and unleashing on both me and Lukas was uncalled for.  She had to take the first step and apologize.  Whether she would remained to be seen.

She did the same thing to Anthony months earlier when Priya was spiraling downward.  Blaming him for her choices and then making him feel that he's the reason why Amy killed herself.  On top of that when Anthony wanted to vent about his breakup, she blindsided him by inviting Priya's sister.  Eventually she gave him a half-assed apology which he accepted though he told me in confidence he could never trust her wholeheartedly again.  Was that the route Melissa and I were headed down?  I didn't need anymore shitty friends and maybe she was doing me a favor.

Didn't she realize that me engaging with Britney could have potential implications on my already fragile job?  I mean I had to speak with lawyers and give a statement.  If I started hanging around Britney there was the possibility that my superiors would assume erroneously that I had some type of involvement with Grant's schemes.  I should have known better than to think that Grant would be content being just my friend after making his intentions known.  Lukas had warned me but I thought I had it all in check and figured out.  Turns out I didn't and Grant was just waiting for the right opportunity to strike.  I shivered in disgust remembering how he kissed me at 230 Fifth that night when he resigned.  He was and still is a fucking loser.  Britney was equally stupid for getting involved with this. Yes I felt terrible that he blackmailed her but after her lies did she expect me to automatically buy her story?

Here I was in one of the most wonderful cities in the world, with the love of my life, lying awake thinking about all of the fucked up people in my life.  I seriously have issues. Lukas rolled onto to his side and looked in my direction.  "You up already?" he asked sleepily.

"Not really.  I'm having trouble staying asleep.  I think I'm just super excited about today."

He smiled and stretched lazily.  "Mm, anything I can do to help?"

"Just hold me" I requested and that's exactly what he did until we both fell into a deep slumber.

****** My wonderful readers:  Two things.  First, I'll be posting again either Friday or Saturday with a more in depth Paris post.  I've started that post but ran out of time!  My initial plan was to post this 5/20 and Paris Part 2 today but life happens!

Second and more important.  I received an email from a wonderful woman, Heather, sharing her story about being diagnosed with mesothelioma and ultimately become a survivor.  Since it is Cancer Awareness Month, she would like to shed more light on mesothelioma.  I know we've all seen the commercials and now is a great time to learn more.  Below is a link to Heather's story.  As Heather so eloquently and humbly said in her email, "I would love for others to learn about my story and know that with hope, the odds don't matter." I urge all of you to join me in helping Heather increase awareness and her message.

Heather's Story

Thanks Dolls and I hope you have a wonderful day ahead:-)  ******

Monday, May 18, 2015

Paris - Part 1

Mm, something about being in Paris has me feeling exuberant.  After checking in, Lukas and I made a mad dash to our suite. There was no time for me to even check out our room.  As soon as the room door was shut, Lukas pulled me near and pinned my hands above my head with one of his hand. With his other hand he unbuttoned my cardigan. He briefly let go of my wrists to allow me to shrug it off.  He secured my hands once again before pulling my breasts out of my black lace balconette bra. The cool air and my arousal made my nipples immediately harden.

He licked ever so slowly around my areola before taking my nipple in his mouth. I moaned and arched my back, thrusting my breasts forward.  He paid the same attention to my other breast as I attempted to break free from his grasp.  Before I could utter a single word, he pushed my skirt up around my waist and pulled my thong to the side, his fingers dipping into my wetness.  I stared intently while he stripped out of his clothes, my eyes focused on his cock.  He winked at me before letting his fingers brush against my wetness.  I was whimpering with desire, I wanted him inside me.  I moaned loudly feeling his cock between my legs, stroking me.  I closed my eyes and allowed myself to succumb to the pleasure racing trough my body.  Lukas quickly plunged into me and wrapped one of my legs around his hip.  From this angle every thrust stimulated my clit.  He fucked me hard, deep and fast. As I got closer and closer to orgasm, he released my hands.  I immediately wrapped my arms around his strong, muscular back. I didn't take very long for both of us to orgasm.  We stayed in bed and cuddled for a little while before Lukas mentioned dinner.


I jolted out of bed and sprinted towards the bathroom which was made entirely of marble.  There was a massive tub, a separate stand up shower, two sinks and the most perfect vanity with a seat. I made a mental note to ensure that my next home has a similar vanity.  The bathroom was ginormous and looked like something out of a magazine.  I put my hair in a shower cap and took a quick, warm shower.  After I wrapped myself in a plush, luxurious robe, I strolled out of the bathroom.


"Lukas aren't you going to get up?" I said happily.  No response.  I called his name and approached our bedroom where I found him snoring away.  He looked so relaxed and content.  I considered waking him up but decided otherwise.  I walked around our suite taking in every detail.  There was sitting area, a little breakfast area and double doors that led to a small terrace.  Naturally I opened the doors and stepped outside.  There was a small table with two seats and as I glanced to my right, a stunning view of the Eiffel Tower.  I imagined it would look more glorious when it got darker.  I heard Lukas calling me and I rushed in, closing the double doors behind me.

"I'm in the living room" I answered. 

"What are you doing?" he asked with a smirk.

"Oh my God Lukas, did you know that this room has a terrace with the most magnificent view of the Eiffel Tower?  Oh and the bathroom is something out of a magazine. This entire room is like a fairy tale come to life.  I don't know how you picked this place....I'm like totally blown away" I gushed.

"That's exactly the reaction I was going for" he said smiling.

"How'd you find this place?"


"Let's just say I did a lot of research.  Plus the Ritz was booked" he answered.

I giggled, "I'm glad."

My stomach growled loudly and Lukas said, "I take that's a sign that we should get ready for dinner."

I nodded.  "I'm starving."

With that, I started digging through my suitcases to find an outfit while Lukas took a shower.  I settled on a black fit and flare dress with a scoop neck what accentuated my cleavage.  I paired my dress with these shoes that I just had to have because I thought they were super cute and unique and minimal jewelry.  My layered hair was down in big bouncy curls.  My makeup consisted of a dark smoky eye and a nude lip.  I spritzed myself with Dolce (one of my favorite new perfumes) and was looking at myself in the full length mirror when Lukas walked into our bedroom.  He looked so hot in a fitted suit sans a tie and loafers.  


"You look amazing" he said sexily, standing behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist.

I pushed back against him, feeling him starting to get a little aroused.  "I'm starving, babe.  Maybe we should get going" I said quickly.  

He nodded, "You all set?"

"Yes, let me grab my clutch."  

--------
Dinner at Chez L'Ami Jean was delicious; each course was better than the last. To finish off our meal we split this delectable strawberry cake with raspberries and homemade ice cream.  I hate to admit it but I was a little disappointed when we got down to the last bite.  Lukas naturally let me have it.  "I love that you're so passionate about food" he said with a smile.

"I'm a total foodie and this cake is like a slice of heaven."

"Mm, you're like a slice of heaven" he said chuckling.

I giggled, "You're so cheesy sometimes but I wouldn't have you any other way."

"I wouldn't have you any other way either."

I blushed and joked, "Are you one of those men that gets turned on watching a woman eat?"  Side note:  I was watching a documentary on TLC that focused on men who got off on watching women eat.  These women had their own private websites and the men or whomever was interested had to pay to watch them eat everything from strawberries with whipped cream to steak.  Let's just say that it was an eye-opening show.

"Nah.  But I love that when we go out or even if we're at home that you eat whatever you want.  I don't think I'd be able to deal a woman that starved herself or only picked on salads all the time."

"That's good because I love food!" I replied with a huge smile.

Our drive back to the hotel was quiet.  We were both tired from our huge meals and traveling.  Jacques tried to make small talk to no avail.  I wasn't in the mood to chat and was content sitting with my head on Lukas' shoulder.  When we got back to our room, we changed and crawled under the covers.  We laid on our side, facing each other.  We kissed for a little before calling it a night.  Lukas and I spooned until we fell asleep.

------ 

The next day after having breakfast on the terrace, we decided to do some sightseeing. Our first stop was the Louvre.  The time seemed to fly by as we walked through the various wings taking in the different eras of art.  I was completely fascinated with art from Ancient Egypt and Greece.  By the time we made it to the other wing, my feet were killing me. "You want us to take a break?" Lukas asked concerned.


I shook my head, "Nope, that's not necessary.  We'll just walk a little slower.  I don't know what I was thinking wearing these shoes."

"You and your shoes" he joked.

I chuckled, "Beauty is pain Lukas!  We are in the fashion capital of the world so I wanted to look the part."

"You could wear sneakers and a fanny pack and still look fashionable."

I scrunched up my nose.  "A fanny pack?  That's like me telling you to wear sandals and socks."

He laughed, "I guess but I'd rock it if I had to."

"Of course you would" I replied giggling.

I honestly think you need a good two/three days to fully see everything the Louvre offers.  Lukas and I barely got through half of the museum.  Though we did stop and analyze the Mona Lisa briefly.  The crowds were at least three deep trying to get a glimpse at one of da Vinci's most famous pieces.  I don't know if I've ever mentioned it but I love art.  I considered minoring in art history in college but then got sidetracked.  When I was attending NYU, I would spend my free time at art exhibits, gallery openings and of course at the museums.  Being at the Louvre definitely rekindled my love for all things art.

That night after quickly freshening up at the hotel Lukas and I had dinner at the 58 Tour Eiffel....aka the Eiffel Tower Restaurant.  At night the Eiffel Tower completely shines.  As Jacques neared I wondered if my sheath dress was formal enough.  I was totally drawn by it's unique mosaic pattern but silently wondered if a little black dress would have been more appropriate.  I reasoned that my nude t-strap sandals and jewelry dressed it up enough. 

I was surprised that most of the couples having dinner were not dressed to the nines.  The women looked nice in cocktail dresses and the men in suits or at least blazers with dress pants.  The feel and ambiance was one of pure romance.  The food was surprisingly good.  After sharing the foie gras and jumbo shrimp appetizer, Lukas and I moved onto our entrees.  I had lamb with potatoes and yummy honey glazed carrots while Lukas opted for salmon.  While eating Lukas brought up Lauren.

"I spoke with my mom earlier while you were in the shower and she mentioned that Lauren had a setback" he said solemnly.

"What type of setback?" I asked.

He shrugged.  "Apparently she's refusing to continue her therapy sessions and is reverting back to how she was.  She doesn't want to listen to anyone.  My mom said that she's become so unreasonable that Jeff (her estranged husband) has refused to let the kids see her."

"I thought she wanted to get better for her kids.  They need her in her their lives" I said evenly, not wanting to sound like a judgmental bitch.  

"Lauren's always been concerned with herself.  She's never put anyone first and can't see how her behavior is effecting her kids.  I hate to say it but I agree with Jeff's actions.  If those were my kids I wouldn't want them around someone so toxic either."

 I took a sip of my Rose and nodded.  I could have sat there and engaged Lukas in conversation about how fucked up Lauren is but that wouldn't serve any purpose.  We were in Paris and I wanted to enjoy our time together, not focus on a woman who has her priorities out of whack.  I always thought that once you had a child, your priorities change and they are the most important part of your life.  I guess Lauren didn't get that memo. 

I allowed Lukas to vent about her and did my best to be supportive.  "Lukas you shouldn't let Lauren interfere with our time here.  I know you're worried and want her to snap back into reality and regain her focus.  This might sound selfish but I don't want her to become the focal point of our night or this trip."

"Neither do I.  I'm pissed that she's unwilling to change.  What's the use is trying to help someone that doesn't realize they have a problem?" he asked.

"I don't know babe but I have an idea."

He raised an eyebrow, "What?"

"Maybe when we get back home, we can go visit her.  I'll go with you to the facility for support and wait in the lobby while you visit.  Then we can spend a little time with your parents.  I think it would great for me to get to know them a little better."

He smiled, "I think they'd love that.  We can stay at my house and meet them for dinner."

I nodded enthusiastically. "That's perfect.  You've been great spending time with my family, no questions asked, and I think it's only fair that I do the same."

"My mom will be thrilled" he said happily.

With that we finished up dessert and left the restaurant.  We took pics in front of the Eiffel Tower and then walked around for a little before finding Jacques.  "How did you like dinner?" he asked.

"It was magnifique" I replied.

"Ah, you're picking up French.  Very good" he responded and I chuckled.

While Jacques drove, Lukas whispered, "We need to get a good night sleep.  I have a big day planned for us tomorrow."

Friday, May 15, 2015

Paris Here I Come

** Many thanks to all of you wonderful readers for your support and being so understanding! To show my appreciation, I'm posting this bonus!!  Hope you enjoy and have an unbelievably great weekend:-) **

I felt Lukas shake me and I opened my eyes slowly.  I squinted and shielded my eyes from the bright sunlight coming in from the window next to me.  "We're getting ready to land" Lukas whispered.

Even though we were sitting in first class, our flight was the furthest thing from relaxing.  From the time we boarded the couple sitting one row up argued.  It got to a point where the wife was screaming on top of her lungs about her husband's indiscretions.  I thought she was going to choke him at one point.  Her anger was so real and it scared me.  I held onto Lukas' hand tightly.  Did I ever mention that fights like these always made me uneasy?  Eventually other passengers started complaining and one of the flight attendants warned the couple and politely asked them to quiet down.  That worked for about two minutes. Long story short the husband was moved to a seat in coach.  It was either that or making an emergency landing.  I was truly surprised that neither the husband or wife felt embarrassed or ashamed of their behavior.

Lukas asked the flight attendant to bring us some champagne and she did.  After three glasses I was feeling very relaxed and uber tired. I had intended to close my eyes for a couple minutes but instead fell asleep for the last three hours of our flight.  As we prepared to land, I recalled my last flight with Lukas.  He had me so aroused and brought me to an explosive climax unbeknownst to those sitting around us.  My cheeks reddened and felt so damn hot.  If not for that crazy ass couple Lukas and I could have really enjoyed  this flight.

As we approached Paris, turbulence took over. The plane shook angrily.  Scared, I held on tightly to Lukas arm.  The landing was jerky and I was relieved when the plane finally came to a stop. In an instant I was overwhelmed with excitement and happiness of being in the city of love with Lukas!  I didn't have to worry about my friends, sans Anthony, in Nutsville.

While we waited at for our luggage I glanced around, taking in everything.  There were mostly couples that seemed very much in love, exchanging knowing glances.  I wondered if others thought of Lukas and I like that....a happy couple, completely in sync with each other.  A gentleman in a black suit approached and said something in French.  I felt butterflies in my stomach listening to Lukas converse with him.  Am I the only one who finds it super hot when a man talks in a foreign language?  Maybe?  Unfortunately I never took French in school and could barely understand their conversation.

Everyone rushed to collect their luggage and I motioned to Lukas that we should get going. He nodded before saying something to the gentleman in French and shaking his hand.

"Who was that?" I asked as we approached the baggage claim carousel.

"It's a surprise" he said, winking at me.

Hmm...a surprise.  Lukas has a knack for catching me off guard and totally blowing me away.  Each trip we've taken has been better than the previous.  I could only imagine what he had up his sleeve this time.  Lukas hoisted our three suitcases....yes I said three!  Two were mine...I don't believe there's such a thing as overpacking.  A woman has to be prepared for all situations!  Lukas, on the other hand, managed to neatly pack his lone suitcase.  I was actually super impressed by his meticulousness and that he wasn't dependent on me.  Jason had always expected me to take care of everything for him.  At times it felt as though he were more interested in someone that would mother him instead of an equal partner.  I totally dodged the bullet or maybe I put myself in the direct line of fire with that one.  I was grateful to have a second shot at love with Lukas who I think complements me in every way.

After hoisting our luggage onto one of those rolling carts, Lukas led the way.  It looked as though he knew exactly where he was going...a man on a mission.  As we stepped into the Parisian air, I shivered.  It was definitely colder than I expected coming from New York where the weather has been absolutely glorious.

Lukas led us to a black Mercedes with tinted windows. The same man that he was conversing with earlier stepped out.  He introduced himself as Jacques, our personal chauffeur.  He opened the passenger side back door for me and I scooted in. Lukas followed.

"Oh my God!  This is too much.  I mean I'm grateful that you put so much thought and planning into this.  We could have explored Paris on our own and cab hopped and I'd be over the moon because you're here with me."

He blushed and smiled.  "Elisabeth you deserve this and so much more.  In case you haven't noticed, I love surprising you and seeing the look on your face!  Jacques is on call but if you want us to roam around Paris on our own, I can have that arranged."

I shook my head.  "Nope.  That's not necessary.  I want to follow this script your so carefully crafted."

"Mm I love you" he said in this husky, sexy voice that made me swoon.  I brushed my finger over his jawline, my eyes locked with his as I kissed him hard.  In no time my hands were in his thick hair while his roamed down my back and then settled above my ass.  The car came to a quick stop and jolted me back to reality.

I reddened as I caught Jacques' glance in the rearview mirror.  Both Lukas and I were breathing heavily.  "We shall be at your hotel in a half hour" he said with a thick French accent.

Lukas nodded.  He threw one arm around my shoulder and I laid my head against his chest.  He whispered in my ear, "Next time I'll get us a limo or a huge SUV so we can have more privacy."

I couldn't help but giggle like a schoolgirl. I know I can be so immature at times but fuck it. I stared straight ahead taking in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in my opinion.  I wanted to get lost in it and make memories that Lukas and I would share with our kids and grandkids. Apparently Lukas had a similar idea as he slid his hand up my skirt and between my legs. His feathery touch against my inner thighs.  Getting close to touching me where I so desperately wanted him to but them shying away.  My heartbeat quickened, my desire coursing through my veins. I wanted him so fucking bad.  He toyed with the edge of my thong and continued his teasing until I thought I would explode.  I drew in my breath when he brushed his finger against my clit. My legs shaking, my body wanting to climax.  Lukas used his free hand to gently turn my face towards his.

Our eyes locked once again.  His index finger now rubbing my clit in slow, lazy circles.  My eyes were half closed.  I groaned as he removed his hand.  "You can't close your eyes, otherwise I'll stop" he teased.

I nodded, unable to speak and kept my eyes wide open, focused on his. His finger now moved in a fast circle around my clit before sliding into my wetness.  I bit my bottom lip to keep from moaning.  My orgasm was fast approaching and I couldn't take much more.  Lukas sensed this and focused his attention solely on my clit.  His slippery fingers bringing me to a hard, body shaking orgasm.  I shifted my eyes downward and noticed his erection straining against his pants.  I totally wanted to repay the favor but couldn't with freaking Jacques continuously looking in the rear view mirror.  I promised Lukas that I would make it up to him when we get to the hotel.


It seemed like an eternity before we pulled up to the most stunning hotel - Hotel Le Bristol.  It was breathtaking from the outside and I could hardly wait to see what the inside held.  I've been to Paris before and stayed at the Four Season but this was far more opulent from the looks of it.  I couldn't wait to check in and start this incredible journey with Lukas.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Showdown

The knocking was loud and never-ending.  I didn't even bother asking who it was, I already knew it was Melissa.  I swung open the door and there she was impatiently tapping her foot, hands on her hips.  No pleasantries were exchanged as she invited herself  inside. I closed the door and followed her into my living room.

"We need to talk" she declared.

"What about?" I countered.

She rolled her eyes.  "Really Liz?  You don't know what we need to talk about?"

"Enlighten me" I responded, looking at my nails.  I realized I needed a manicure and made a mental note to get a mani/pedi before we left for Paris.

"Lukas can you leave us alone?  I need to have a private conversation with Liz and this doesn't really concern you" she said bitchily.

"Um, I don't know where you get off telling Lukas to leave when you show up at our place uninvited!  Lukas isn't going anywhere.  Whatever you have to say to me, you can say in front of Lukas" I said sharply.

Melissa was completely caught off guard by my defiance as she stuttered, "I get that he's your fiance but you know as well as I do that this has nothing to do with Lukas."

"I really couldn't care less what you think.  Lukas stays otherwise this conversation is over."

"You're such a brat" Melissa proclaimed, throwing her hands up.

I smirked, "If I'm a brat then what the hell are you?"

"Elisabeth, don't try to blame me when you chose to turn your back on Britney during her most vulnerable time.  You should have helped her but no....she's not worthy of your time.  She screwed you over.  The poor girl is begging for help and you can't even talk to her.  Really fucked up if you ask me."

"Do you really think I give a fuck what you think?  You're always quick to judge everyone and act like you're so damn perfect.  Truth is Melissa, you only do what's convenient for you.  You talk a really good game.  I let Britney down when she needed me....blah, blah, blah.  If you know that Britney is hurting and needs a friend, why aren't you doing something?"

She interrupted, "Like I said the other night, I just got married and came back from my honeymoon.  When did I have time to help her?"

I chuckled, "You're full of excuses.  You just got married and got back from from your honeymoon? You got married on Valentine's Day. It's almost May.  Why don't you just admit it....you don't give a shit about Britney.  If you did, you would've been in Long Island helping her instead of coming here acting like you're a better friend than I am."

"I'm not acting.  Liz when have you ever done anything for someone other than yourself?  Britney was the sister you never had...remember that?  Is that how you treat your family?  Abandoning them when they need you?" she barked.

My anger had been building and I was getting to the point where I was about to lose control.  I took a deep breath in attempts to compose myself.  I noticed Lukas sitting at the edge of his seat.  His jaw was clenched and his eyes narrowed as he looked on in disbelief.

"Melissa I'm not in the mood to deal with your illusions.  You can call me names, rant and rave about Britney but at the end of the day we both know the truth.  You act like you're better than me but you're actions show how fucked up you really are.  I'm over the excuses and the guilt trip.  Maybe that works on Josh but it won't on me.  Grow the fuck up.  If you really are as concerned about Britney as you claim, get your ass to Long Island and help her."

"I can't believe that you're spinning this and making me seem like the bad guy because Lukas is here" she seethed.

I scoffed.  "I'm not the one making you look bad in front of Lukas.  You're doing a great job of that on your own."

"You're such a bitch" she said glaring at me.

Lukas cleared his throat and both of us looked in his direction.  "Melissa, what was your intention coming here?"

"I wanted Liz to admit that she was wrong and apologize."

"Wrong about what?" he continued.

"What the fuck is it to you?  You're going to take her side anyway."

"That's exactly what I thought.  You don't have an answer.  I've been listening to the two of you for the past forty minutes and I think you are completely out of line" he said to Melissa.

"Why am I not surprised?" Melissa exclaimed.

"You came here with a motive.  You wanted to make Liz feel bad about Britney.  After all the Britney put her through, I'd think you would understand that Liz has gone above and beyond for her.  She's had enough of the drama and doesn't need you or Britney's mom trying to make her feel guilty.  You came here uninvited with a mission but rest assured I will not let you strong arm Liz."

"You're so damn whipped?" Melissa said sarcastically.

"If you don't have anything constructive to say then I'm going to ask you leave.  Liz and I have plans and things to do" Lukas said firmly.

"You're a controlling piece of shit" she spat at Lukas before turning to me, "I hope you'd open your eyes and see how selfish you're being.  Britney needs you and instead of fighting me on this you need to do something to help her."

I shook my head in disbelief.  "Stop trying to get me to do what you don't want to.  You're being a hypocritical bitch talking about how much you care and yet not doing shit" I answered angrily.  

"Fuck you Elisabeth" she spat.

As I was rolling my eyes, Melissa stormed out of our apartment, loudly slamming the door behind her.  I leaned back against the couch and closed my eyes.  I'm the furthest thing from perfect but I have a huge, forgiving heart.  What the fuck did I do to deserve such selfish, manipulative, rude, ungrateful friends.  First Britney with her jealousy and lies.  I was ready to do whatever it took to bring Jason to his knees for hurting her, only to find out her entire story was fabricated.  Then freaking Priya and her mood swings, anger, drug addiction.  That bitch ransacked my bedroom, invading my privacy.  If she hadn't been in such dire straits medically I would have never made peace and reconciled with her.

Now I had Melissa who was insistent on making my life hell because I was unwilling to take blame for Britney's choices.  Melissa kept saying that I should have helped Britney and talked some sense into her.  Was I selfish for not wanting to get involved in that train wreck?  Britney had already invoked too much hurt and pain.  I wasn't ready and probably will never be ready to welcome her back into my life with opened arms.  Melissa was there during the sleepless nights, filled with my sadness and tears...comforting me.  How could she expect me to forget?  And the nerve of her to talk to Lukas the way she did.  I would never disrespect Josh like that. Bitch had lost her fucking mind.

I didn't realize I was crying until I felt Lukas gently brush my cheeks with his fingertips.  He didn't say a word but I could see the sadness in his eyes.

"Why the fuck does this always happen to me?  Am I not worthy of decent, good friends?" I cried.

He shook his head.  "You deserve the best of everything.  I don't know what's up with Melissa but she is completely out of line."

"I'm more pissed at what she said to you.  It's one thing to fuck with me but when you fuck with my loved ones, it's on.  I seriously wanted to smack that smirk off of her face.  Where the hell does she get off?!?"

He shrugged.  "I wish I knew the right words to say or what to do to make this better.  I hate seeing you so hurt and upset and not being able to do anything to fix this."

I wiped my tears away and blew my nose a little too loudly.  "I want to forget about this.  Make me forget this Lukas.  Make me think about how much fun we're going to have in Paris.  Make me forget the past hour."

And that's exactly what Lukas did.  From the urgent, passionate kisses to the tender touch of his hands, I was putty in his hands.  He made me feel his love with infinite pleasure.  No words needed to be spoken.  He was all I needed at this moment....nothing else mattered.