Character List

Monday, June 29, 2015

Try

I looked forward to seeing Linda after work on Wednesday.  She was the polar opposite of Lauren and she was fast becoming one of my dearest friends.  I scurried towards this Italian restaurant in the Meatpacking District clad in a simple sleeveless black sheath dress that stopped two inches above my knees.  Walking around the city in heels would be a complete rookie mistake.  With the potholes in the middles of the street and the grids on the sidewalk, there was a great possibility that I'd either twist my ankle or fall flat on my ass.  Instead I hailed a cab. Traffic during rush hour was slower than a freaking turtle and needless to say I was a good fifteen minutes late.

I immediately spotted Linda at the bar, carrying on a lively conversation with the bartender.  She looked fabulous and so tan in a white lacy skirt with matching midriff top and sky high nude stilettos.  I felt a little frumpy compared to her!  I tapped her on the shoulder and she spun around, flashing me a smile before engulfing me in a hug.

"Liz!  I'm so glad you're here."

I smiled sheepishly. "Sorry I'm late. I got caught up in traffic...well not me but my cab."

She laughed.  "It's not a big deal.  I had a drink and people watched."

Shortly after we were escorted to our table.  "How come you didn't tell me you were coming to New York?"

"I wanted to but the Lukas told me about the surprise and I didn't want to ruin it.  Faisal is in London for business and I didn't want to be by myself."

"I'm really glad you're here.  I feel that I can really talk to you."

She smiled genuinely.  "Even though I grew up with an older sister, Lauren and I were never exceptionally close.  She always had an agenda and was bitching about something or the other.  Growing up and even today I'm closer to Lukas than her.  I never got the chance to formulate a super close relationship with Isabella. I'm not going to make the same mistake with you because I think family is super important!"

"I couldn't agree more."

She played with the stir in her mojito nervously.  "I told my parents about my miscarriage and they were so sweet and supportive.  I felt like such a loser keeping them in the dark."

"Don't.  You were going through a difficult time and wasn't think straight. I'm proud of you for confiding in them."

She shrugged.  "Faisal and I haven't told his family yet."

"Why not?"

"Faisal's mom is the overbearing type.  She's always bitching about her husband or some shit.  We've never been that close and I don't want to deal with her being all up in my business."

I took a huge sip of my drink.  "Have you ever tried to establish a relationship with her?"

She laughed, "When I first met her I did but then I gave up.  She acted like I wasn't good enough for her son and it made me closed off.  Why would I willingly subject myself to that negativity?"

I was about to respond when I saw Melissa strolling towards a table in a low cut red bodycon dress.  My mouth dropped open when she embraced and kissed the same man I saw her with over the weekend.  I shook my head in disgust.  "Do you know them?" Linda asked with a smirk.

I hesitated before nodding.  "That woman use to be one of my best friends."

"I'm guessing you two aren't friends anymore?"

I shook my head slowly.  "Nope and I don't want to talk about it."

She said she understood before asking me if I had any idea what my colors would be for the wedding.  "Maybe turquoise for the women since it's summer?  Or maybe since we're planning on a formal wedding and reception a nice eggplant or navy blue?"

"All of those colors are stunning.  I'd stay away from the turquoise though!"

I giggled and teased, "Why?  Because you want that color for your own wedding?"

She rolled her eyes dramatically.  "No. Never! It's so high school prom like!"

We both laughed.  "I can see that!"

"As long as you don't make me wear a hideous dress, I'll be fine."

"Define hideous."

She looked me in the eye and said, "Something poofy or out of the 80's!  And for the love of god please don't make us wear those dyeable shoes."

I pouted, "But that's what I wanted...my girls in bright pink, satiny, poofy dresses with crinoline underneath and shoes dyed to match!"

I was shocked that Linda believed me. "No Liz!  That's so not you."

Unable to keep a straight face, I burst out laughing.  "I'm just playing.  Oh my God, you should have seen your face.  I would never do that to you."


From the corner of my eye I noticed Melissa glaring in my direction but I was determined to not let her get under my skin.  She was not going to ruin my evening.  I focused on my conversing with Linda and was surprised when she said that she and Faisal were planning on waiting before trying to conceive.

"The timing just isn't right.  Faisal's is trying to get promoted at work and has taken on a lot of projects that take him away from home.  Plus we're planning to finally have a wedding with our family and friends.  I don't want to be pregnant for that nor do I want to go through a pregnancy by myself.  I'd be so stressed out wondering if the baby is okay" she explained.

I nodded.  "I can understand that.  All that matters is that you and Faisal are on the same page.  Whenever the time is right you two will be awesome parents."

"Thanks Liz.  That means a lot to me."

I smiled, "While we were in Paris, my sister-in-law gave birth two months early.  Thankfully Marco, my nephew, is okay but it was such a stressful time."

"That's exactly what I mean.  I couldn't imagine going through that alone...I need Faisal around.  And there's also one more benefit to waiting" she said grinning.

"What's that?" I asked intrigued.

"We can raise our children together!  I don't if you and Lukas have discussed having kids and it's not my business either but I think it would be so cool to have our kids grow up together."

I couldn't help but agree with her.  "We'd FaceTime a lot and we'll alternate between visiting each other."

We were talking excitedly about our future kids when my phone pinged in front of me.  At first I ignored it but then it pinged two more times.  Linda insisted that I see if everything was okay and with a small smile I did.  My eyes widened seeing three texts from Melissa.


"We need to talk.  Meet me in the bathroom NOW."

"Why the fuck aren't you checking your texts?"

"I should have know you'd ignore my texts, you always were a selfish, heartless bitch."

I shook my head in disbelief before glancing towards Melissa's table.  Without hesitation she gave me the finger.  I knew I was being immature and stooping to her level by allowing my anger to get the best of me.

"I'm a heartless, selfish bitch?  Why don't you look in a mirror?  Or better yet think about what your HUSBAND would think of your behavior?"

She replied immediately, "You've always been a hypocrite.  It was okay for you to whore around on Jason but now you're going to act holier than thou.  Grow the fuck up and learn what it means to be a real friend."

My anger was steadily building and Linda asked if I was okay.  "I'm fine.  It's just that my ex-friend wants to be super dramatic."

"I'm sorry.  Do you want to leave?"

I shook my head, "I'm not going to let me fuck with my evening.  We're going to continue to have a wonderful dinner without her interfering."

With that I responded to Melissa. "Funny how you're always trying to bring everyone down by acting like you're better.  Reality check...you need to stop living in your fantasy world and realize how fucked up your actions are.  Please stop texting and calling me...as far as I'm concerned our friendship is OVER."  

I proceeded to block her number on my iPhone.  

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

I was saddened that Linda had to return back to Paris.  Hanging out with her has always been fun and she was so easy to get along with.  She promised me that she would come back to go bridesmaid dress shopping and reminded me how gorgeous that lace dress I tried on was.  My mind oftentimes drifted to it but I still wasn't inclined to go back to the bridal store and get it.  Maybe I'm being foolish thinking there is something better out there?

After having a quick brunch with Eleanore on the last day of May, I scurried over to Lukas' old apartment.  It was rent time and I needed to catch up with Priya.  I thought about how she should have been in my bridal party but was replaced by Eleanore because of her behavior.  Deep down I hoped that we could go back to how things once were, if possible.  Eleanore and I were not super close but we were building on a friendship.  I found her to be very genuine, thoughtful and super sweet.  I kept my fingers crossed that she wouldn't turn crazy and betray me like Britney and Melissa.  Anyway, Lukas and I agreed to pair her up with Anthony, who was one of Lukas' groomsmen.  

Going back to Lukas' old place filled me with such fond memories.  The doorman greeted me with a warm smile, "Good to see you again.  How are you?" he asked.

"Very well, thank you.  How are you doing?"

"Can't complain" he replied.

After taking the elevator, I walked towards the apartment door.  I knock gently twice and heard Priya's voice.  "I'm coming."  

She flung open the door and after a quick hug invited me in.  The apartment was immaculate, not a thing was out of place.  "Let me get you something to drink" she insisted.


She quickly got us glasses of iced tea with lemon wedges and we retreated to the living room. "Before I forget, here's my rent check."

I took it and thanked her.  "So how have you been?  You look great!"

She nodded. "Thanks.  I feel a lot better now.  I'm getting back into the swing of things slowly.  And I've had a little help," she said coyly.

"Dr. Khan?" I asked grinning like a buffoon.

She nodded excitedly and blushed.  "Yeah. But I call him Sanjay."

"So what's going on with you two?" I prodded.

"We've gone out a couple times and it's been great.  He seems to get me."

I waited for her to continue and when she didn't asked, "You mean on dates or just as friends?"

"At first he would come over and we'd talk.  Then things started to progress and he asked me out a real date.  Our first date was so much fun.  We went to dinner at this Indian restaurant and then went to see 'An American in Paris.'  Then two nights ago we went to the museum and got dinner at a cafe.  Talking to him is so easy" she shared

"And?"

She shrugged, "He hasn't really tried anything."

"What do you mean?"

She sipped her iced tea.  "He hasn't even tried to kiss me and I don't know how to bring it up without embarrassing him."

"The next time you two go out, why don't you make the first move?" I challenged.

"I don't have much experience with Indian men and I'm afraid he'll think poorly of me if I do that."

"Or maybe he'll be glad that you broke the ice.  You'll never know unless you try."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Back to Real Life

I couldn't stop yawning at my desk Tuesday morning.  All of the excitement from the weekend was overwhelming and exhausting.  After wedding dress shopping and dinner with my girls (my mom included naturally) all I wanted to do was crawl into bed.  My girls, on the other hand, wanted to go to the same wine bar where Ryan met Chloe. My mom declined and after dropping us off, the limo driver took her home.

After two glasses of Chianti, Eleanore seemed to have gotten enough liquid courage to come over and address the elephant in the room.  She looked at me sheepishly before asking if we could talk for a minute.  I nodded and followed her outside where it was very warm and humid.  

"Chloe told me about what happened yesterday.  I'm glad that your parents put their foot down.  I really like your brother and think he could be good for Chloe."

I looked at her skeptically, "Wait....I'm confused.  You like the idea of Ryan being with Chloe, yet agree with my parents not backing their plans?  Isn't that like an oxymoron?"

She chuckled uncomfortably.  "Chloe has this habit of rushing into things.  Ryan isn't the first man that she wanted to move in with after two months.  She's a good girl with a huge heart even if she might not have made a good impression on your family."

"I've decided not to try to figure out their situation.  I told my mom yesterday that Ryan's grown and can make his own decisions.  Honestly, I don't know Chloe enough to like or dislike her.  I wasn't thrilled by her attitude only because it brought back terrible memories of Ryan's soon to be ex-wife Tina."

She nodded.  "That's another thing.  Your brother isn't even divorced yet.  What if he isn't completely over his ex wife?  I think they're jumping the gun and need to slow the fuck down."

"Do you think Chloe is in love with Ryan?"

Eleanore hesitated for a moment before shaking her head.  "No.  I've seen this scenario play out before.  She's in love with the idea of being in love.  Everyone is on good behavior in the beginning of a relationship.  What if they move in together and start to realize what a huge mistake they've made?"

"Or maybe they'll realize it was the best decision ever and live happily ever after" I responded.

"Maybe.  I just don't want your brother or Chloe getting hurt."

With a small smile I answered, "I want the same thing.  I'm open to getting to know her and see why my brother is so smitten."

Eleanore said that wasn't a bad idea and continued speaking.  "I want to apologize to you and your family on her behalf.  Sometimes we get angry and start saying things we don't mean.  Don't hold this against Chloe.  Please...for my sake" she pleaded.

"If she means that much to Ryan, then I would love to get to know her better."

She hugged me.  "Thank you."

As she pulled away I joked, "I seriously thought you were calling me out here to bitch me out.  I'm glad I was wrong and we were able to talk this through like adults."

"Liz it's not my place to tell you what to do or how to feel.  Chloe has her moments and doesn't make the right decisions at times but deep down she means well" Eleanore rationalized.

"Okay.  I'm willing to give her a second chance'' I replied flatly.

Eleanore laughed genuinely.  "That's all I'm asking."

As we walked back into the bar Eleanore said excitedly, "I gotta tell you that were the most beautiful bride in that last dress.  It fit you perfectly and oozed elegance and class...just like you.  I don't know how you walked away from it."

"I don't know either.  It's been on my mind since we left the salon.  If I don't find another dress that I love as much as that lacy one, I'm totally going back.  No questions asked.  I don't care if the dress is to big, I'll have it altered."

She looked at my closely.  "Does that mean that you want that dress?"

"I didn't say that.  I want to keep my eyes open and shop around for a few more weeks.  Who know's maybe I'll end up getting that same dress!"

She smiled and said, "Whatever you choose, I know that you'll make the most beautiful bride ever."

--------
I was texting away on my iPhone when our summer intern, Ray, tapped me on the shoulder.  I spun around and made small talk with him.  "Is there anything you need help with?"

Part of me wanted to send him on Starbucks coffee run but I opted not to.  "That'a so sweet Ray.  I have everything in order right now but might need your help later on."

"I'm at your service" he replied with a smile.

I asked him how he was liking being on the trade floor and he said that he wasn't super comfortable not having a cubicle.

I answered, "When I first started my career I was so uncomfortable with having a workstation.  Now I can't picture being confined in a cubicle."

"I know, it sucks!"

"No it doesn't...I'm time you'll love it and not even think about a cubicle" I answered positively.

"Is there anything I can help you with?" he asked again, this time even more eagerly.

I thought for moment, "I have a meeting with one of our top clients next week and need to put together a presentation.  I'll send you a sample of a presentation I did in the past to leverage off of.  Is that cool?"

He nodded enthusiastically.  "Yes.  I'm a pro at PowerPoint."

"Awesome.  If you have any questions, just ask me."

"Thanks Liz.  I'll get started on this right away" he said before rushing to his seat.

Surprisingly the remainder of my day flew by.  We had one of our busiest days in months.  Without Nick I was swamped and thrilled to have Ray assisting me.  By the time I got home I was spent.  I slipped into comfy yoga shorts and a tank and laid on the couch, flipping through the channels.  Lukas was working late with his dad, making sure everything was in place before he headed to Miami.

I was watching Chopped when my phone rang.  I smiled seeing Linda's name.  "Hello there" I answered cheerfully.

"Hey girlie, what are you up to?"

"Eh just lounging on the couch.  What's up with you?" I asked.

She chuckled before replying, "I'm bored in Connecticut.  Want to get together before I leave?"

"I'd love to.  What do you have in mind?"

"Maybe dinner and drinks?  I need to unwind and have some fun!" she exclaimed.

"That sounds great.  How about tomorrow night you meet me after work?  I'll choose a restaurant and send you all of the info."

"YAY!  I can't wait" she squealed.

I giggled.  "Me neither."

"Did I tell you how happy I am that you'll be my sister soon?"

"Aw that's so sweet.  I've always wanted a sister too and you're pretty awesome" I said genuinely.

"And I think you need to go back and get that wedding dress!  You looked stunning in it and I don't think any other dress can compare."

"We'll see about that" I answered coyly

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

I was looking at pictures of me in that lacy dress with a big, goofy grin on my face.  Maybe it was my dream dress and I was being silly thinking there was something better out there?  I loved that dress and all of my girls and my mom agreed that it was perfect.  I started to panic.  What I went back to the store and they no longer had the dress?  I would be devastated.

My thoughts were interrupted by my phone....this time it was Anthony. After greeting each other he asked about my weekend.  I took a deep breath.  "So I have something to tell you but you have to promise not to tell anyone."

He immediately agreed.  I started telling him about Melissa but he kept interrupting to ask questions.  "Are you sure it was her?"

"Seriously Anthony?  It's bad enough that she was on a date with a man other than her husband but you know what's even worse?  I ran into that bitch in the bathroom and she went off on me about Britney.  I called her out about cheating on Josh."

"Holy shit!  Are you kidding me?"

I sighed, "You can't make this stuff up!  I feel horrible for Josh."

"Yeah.  He's a good guy and deserves better.  Why get married if you're only going to cheat on your spouse right after you get back from your honeymoon?  That's really fucked up."

Even though he couldn't see I nodded like a  bobblehead doll.  "I don't want to judge since I cheated on Jason."

He laughed.  "Okay...if you say so."

"Seeing Melissa Saturday made me realize that our friendship is over.  It was on it's last leg for a while now but I was foolish enough to accept the hypocrisy and criticism.  Now I'm over it."

"Me too.  Ever since she threw you and Lukas that brunch at Bagatelle I had suspicions about her motives.  She was stirring the pot and sitting back and enjoying the show" he shared.

"We were her puppets."

Our conversation eventually shifted away from Melissa to my brother Ryan.  "If your brother was 100% sure about moving into with Chloe, no one's opinion would matter."

I thought about that for a second before replying.   "He kept bringing up Lukas and I moving in together to justify his situation.  It made me uncomfortable.  I want Ryan to be happy and I don't think that rushing into a relationship so quickly is the right thing to do" I shared.

"I hear you.  Sometimes we have to let our loved ones try and fail" Anthony touted.

"Maybe you're right."

"When I am not right Elisabeth?" he joked.

I rolled my eyes.  "How much time do you have?" I quipped.

"So you're a comedienne now"

"Nah just honest" I replied laughing.

We joked for a couple minutes and laughed heartily before Anthony mentioned Eleanore.  "She thinks you're awesome and can't stop talking about your wedding dress outing."

"Do you think she's catching wedding fever?" I teased.

"Elisabeth...I told you, Eleanore and I want to take things slowly" he said sternly.

"Okay good.  Eleanore is a wonderful woman and I am happy that you've found each other."

"You're so dramatic and corny sometimes" he replied, trying to stifle a laugh.

I giggled.  "You know you love me."

Anthony and I bantered back and forth until I heard Lukas opening our apartment door.  "Babe I'm home" he called out.

"I'm in the living room" I answered.

Lukas looked exhausted.  He untied his tie and whipped off his suit jacket before sitting next to me.  "Long day?"

"Stressful, crazy, exhausting."

I kissed his cheek and rubbed his back gently.  "Want to talk about it?"

I started massaging his neck while he spoke.  "We keep going back and forth on the final plans for the Miami office.  My dad can't make up his mind and it's aggravating.  The builders are getting frustrated because now we're changing things that were agreed upon months ago."

"I'm sorry honey" I said softly, brushing my lips against his neck.

In no time I was straddling him, feeling his hardness against me.  I raised my hips allowing him to pull down my yoga short and panties in one motion. I tugged at his clothes and he stood up and stripped in record time.  His lips found mine and our tongues played with each other while his fingers moved expertly between my legs.  I was on the brink of orgasm when he removed his fingers and thrust deep inside me.  I gasped in pleasure.  As he moved inside me I rocked my hips against him.  It wasn't long before my body exploded and I screamed his name.  Lukas started moving faster and deeper.  His face and chest covered with a thin layer of sweat.  He grunted and moaned as he came hard inside me.

"I love you so much Liz.  I don't know what I'd do without you" he said breathlessly.

"Mm, you'll never have to worry about that!"



Monday, June 22, 2015

Wedding Dress Shopping

While Ivy went to pick all types and styles of wedding dresses for me, I undressed.  The room had a three way mirror and I couldn't resist checking out my body in all different angles.  Right now for my height (5'3") I was at the decent weight...124 lbs.  I liked food and didn't have much time for exercise...unless you count sex at exercise!  I didn't have washboard abs like Jennifer Lopez but my stomach was flat.  I took a deep breath, drawing my stomach in.  This caused my breasts to thrust forward; they weren't too big or too small.  I was thankful that with a small C cup I could sometimes go braless....gravity has been kind and hasn't paid us a visit yet!  I gave body one last look before slipping into the satiny robe provided.  The last thing I needed was for Ivy to come back and catch me scrutinizing my body.

I was playing on my iPhone when I heard a gentle knock on the door.  "You can come in Ivy" I answered.

I anxiously looked at the door, wanting to see what she pulled for me to try on.  To my pleasant surprise, it wasn't Ivy but my sister-in-laws.  I hadn't seem Kristen since that day at the hospital. Today she seemed like a completely different person and sounded like one too.  Looking at her, you would never guess that she had a baby recently.  She hugged me tightly and told me how excited she was to be invited.  Before pulling away she apologized.  "I'm sorry I was such a bitch when you visited.  I was under a lot of stress and blaming myself for the accident and Marco being born early. I know that's not an excuse and I know this might sound cliche but I do consider you to be my sister.  I love you and I wouldn't miss today for the world."

"I am your sister!" I said before hugging Victoria (my brother Danny's wife).

She thanked me for inviting her before saying emotionally, "I'm so excited and can't want to see you in a wedding dress.  You've grown so much since we first met...here you ar trying to find a the perfect  WEDDING dress."

I nodded.  "I can't believe Lukas and I have been together for 15 months.  It seems like just yesterday when Britney dragged me to speed dating.  I wasn't expecting to meet anyone and was bored out of my mind.  None of them really made an impression on me and I was ready to call it quits when Lukas showed up.  He totally swept me off of my feet!"

"Aw, that's so sweet.  I like Lukas and I can tell how happy he makes you" Victoria replied.

Kristen nodded in agreement.  "We're going to go with the others to wait for you to make your grand entrance."

"Before you do, how is Marco?"

"We're taking it one day at a time.  He's growing and drinking at lot.  He's a little over seven pounds now" she said proudly.

Victoria jumped in and asked, "Are you breastfeeding?"

"No.  I tried to pump but barely got an ounce.  Thankfully when I called my doctor he told me exactly which formula to get.  Marco loves it" Kristen said proudly.

"That's great....at least you tried to breastfeed and when you realized you couldn't give him the nourishment he needs you put him on formula.  I'm proud of you" I replied.

Kristen smiled. "Thanks.  At first I was disappointed because I was able to solely breast feed like I did with Emma and Matt.  Now I'm happy that he's eating and growing."

"I can't wait to see him again!"

With that Kristen and Victoria went back to join the group.  I sat on a white tufted chair and waited patiently....who am I kidding....I was super anxious....for Ivy to return.  When she did, I was surrounded by all types of dresses.  She asked which one I wanted to try on first and I selected the a blingy ballgown.  It was strapless, with a sweetheart neckline.  I was in love with the sparkly crystals that covered the top but underwhelmed with simple flowy skirt.  It just didn't go.  Plus I was beginning to think that a ballgown was too overwhelming on my frame.

Ivy was very sweet, telling me how wonderful I looked.   "Do you want to show your friends and family?"

I nodded.  "I do.  Even though I'm not blown away, I'd like to get their opinion."

Ivy escorted me out towards the waiting area.  All eyes turned towards me and I smiled uncomfortably.  I stood on a raised platform, waiting for someone to say something.  I could tell they weren't blown away either but still asked, "What do you guys think?"

Kristen gently said, "It's a gorgeous dress but I don't think it's you."

My mom asked, "Honey what do you think?"

I shrugged, "I don't know.  I'm not loving the bottom."

Mom nodded, "Why don't you try on something else?"

Next I tried on this mermaid styled dress.  I never really thought about this style and was pleasantly surprised.  I grinned and couldn't stop staring at my reflection.

"You like this one, I can tell" Ivy said sweetly.

"Yes I love it.  It's not something I would've picked but I'm blown away by how it looks on me."

"Do you think this is the one?" she asked.

"I love it but I don't know about the back.  Can I go out and see what everyone thinks?"

Needless to say everyone liked this dress better than the first.  Linda thought that Lukas would love to see me walking down the aisle in this dress.  Maria, however, had the same reservations as I did.  She thought the back was a little too daring.  We asked Ivy if she had a similar dress with a higher back and she shook her head.

"I don't think we do.  If you want to make it more modest our alterations team can add a lace overlay to match perfectly."

"Let's keep looking but keep this dress in the running" I said firmly.

The next three dresses were definitely no's.  I hated how they fit and couldn't fathom getting married in them.  I was becoming discouraged and tired, not to mention I was starving.  I was becoming jaded and tried on this all lace gown just to appease Ivy.  I was shocked by how much I loved it.  It was pure lace and hugged all my curves perfectly.  Ivy didn't ask any question....I guess she could tell from the look on my face that I was in love.  

When I got out into the waiting area, my mom gasped and I swear her eyes welled up with tears.  "Oh my God Elisabeth, you look like an angel."

"Do you think it's too much?" I asked.

My cousin Maria shook her head, "No.  It's just right and so you.  It's classic yet romantic and incredibly sexy."

"Your body looks amazing and you're glowing" Victoria added.

"I love this dress.  I think it's perfect but..."

"But what?" my mom asked surprised.

"I want to look some more.  I don't want to pick a dress so early and then have regrets.  Styles change.  Before we got here I was in love with a big, poofy ballgown and now I'm in love with this.  What if I try on another style the blows this dress out of the water?  I guess I want to keep my options open."

Linda replied, "That's true.  I think you should jot down the style of this dress.  You look stunning and who knows maybe after looking around, you'll come back to this one?"

After changing back to my regular clothes, I thanked Ivy for her time.  She gave me her business card and jotted down the style of both dresses I liked.  She was very sweet and understanding when I explained that I needed time to decide what I really wanted.

Friday, June 19, 2015

SURPRISE!

Throughout our ride to dinner, my parents insisted that we go to dinner at the Nautical Mile which has a ton of seafood restaurants and a party like, real chill atmosphere, all I could think about was Lukas' surprise.  What did he have up his sleeve this time?  He wasn't from Long Island and besides the Hamptons he was not very familiar with the different neighborhoods and hot spots.  Maybe he planned an awesome spa day for us?  Nah, that seemed too simple.  Plus, we already shared that experience multiple times.

Once my dad pulled into a parking spot, we hopped out of the car and started heading towards one of the waterfront restaurants.  Live music was blasting from the speakers and people drinking and dancing happily.  My mom touched my upper arm and I jumped.  She apologized profusely before asking why I was being so quiet.

I shrugged, "I don't know, just thinking."

"About Ryan?"

I shook my head.  "No...Ryan's a grown man and can do whatever he wants.  Obviously I'd like for him to take things slow but it's his life.  If he wants to live with Chloe then so be it."

"I have a bad feeling about that girl.  You weren't here when they first came over.  I've never met someone so disrespectful and rude.  She kept talking about money and what Ryan's bought for her so far and all of their plans.  Ryan is going to get an apartment and she'll move in and he'll take care of her.  Those were her words, not mine."

I frowned.  "So you think she's a gold digger?"

"She was more focused on Ryan's wallet than his heart and soul?  Do you really think that as a mother I can stand by and let any of my children walk into a situation that I know is wrong?"

I sighed.  "Maybe if we were supportive of him, Ryan would be more willing to listen to our thoughts."

"Your dad and I are supportive of everything all of you do.  None of you need our permission to do anything and we appreciate being in the loop.  This time though I feel the need to put my foot down.  We sat back and bit our tongues while he dated and then married Tina.  This Chloe is even worse and I will not approve of my son being with someone who will only bring him misery.  Besides after two months what does he know about her?"

I forced a smile as we approached the entrance to the restaurant.  While I agreed with her, I didn't want to give her satisfaction because that would only cause her to drone on and on about Chloe and Ryan throughout dinner.  "Mom let's not talk about this anymore.  Ryan needs to make his own decision.  Maybe he has a thing for crazy girls?  We should just drop it and let him do whatever he wants."

Since it was chilly out, we opted to sit inside the restaurant.  After taking our orders, Mom started asking questions about our wedding.  "Liz you know you really have to start looking at venues.  Some places have a two year waiting list."

"We want to have a tentative guest list first.  What if we fall in love with a place and then find out it can't accommodate as many people as we'd like?  I'd be devastated."

My dad chuckled as the waiter returned with our drinks.  My parents got wine while Lukas and I got cocktails.  He got vodka/club and naturally I got a pomegranate martini.  Our appetizers arrived moments later but instead of gorging on fresh fried calamari, crab cakes and steamed clams, my mom's attention was elsewhere.  I followed her glance to a table towards the wall.  I nearly choked when I spotted Melissa having dinner with a man that was definitely not her husband Josh.  She playfully touched his arm and flirted shamelessly with him.

"Isn't that Melissa?" my mom whispered and I nodded.

"Mom let's not even think about that" I answered quickly.

My mom nodded but  it was apparent that her attention was focused solely on Melissa and her gentleman friend throughout dinner.  After a delicious meal, two drinks and dessert, I excused myself to go freshen up.  I was washing my hands when Melissa entered the restroom.  Our eyes met in the mirror and she glared at me.

"I would've thought you'd come to your senses by now" she said disgusted.

"Me? Come to my senses?  You're the one that's all over a man that clearly isn't your husband!"  I know it was a bitchy thing to say but I really didn't care.

She rolled her eyes, "Grow the fuck up Liz.  And while you're at, learn to be a good friend and help Britney.  It's your fault she's in this mess anyway."

"My fault?  You're delusional.  Why don't you help Britney since your so concerned about her well being?  Oh yes, I just remembered 'you literally just got married' and don't have time" I responded sarcastically.

"Whatever Liz.  You never do anything to help anyone so why would I expect you to help your friend who is such a bad place" she mocked.

"Shut the fuck up!  You're a hypocrite.  You can stand here all you want and talk about friendship but you don't even know the meaning of the word.  What have you done to help Britney or anyone else for that matter?  ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.  All you do is run your mouth and act like you're so perfect while you do shit!  I'm over you acting like you're better than everyone" I replied angrily.

She laughed manically.  "You're in a dream world.  When this relationship fails like all your others, you'll come crawling back to me, begging me to help you."

"Maybe you should worry about your own relationship!" I shrieked before walking away.  Months ago I probably would have rushed over to Britney's to prove Melissa wrong in addition to being upset and crying over Melissa's words.  Today I knew I was right and was unwilling to allow Melissa and her hypocrisy to fuck with mind and attitude.

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

That night as we laid in bed Lukas asked about Melissa and I told him about our encounter in the bathroom.  I felt his body tense up next to me.  "People like her are toxic.  They place their insecurities on others and act like they're perfect."

"Honestly I don't really care what she said.  I'm not even upset by it."

"She's not worth it" he proclaimed.

"I feel bad for Josh.  He's being the faithful husband while she's cavorting with other men" I shared.

Lukas rolled onto his side so that he was facing me.  "While we were leaving, they were making out and his hands were all over her."

"Are you serious?" I gasped.

"Yeah.  I wouldn't make that shit up.  Your parents saw it too.  He had one hand on her upper thigh and the other on her breast" he explained

"Wow!  It's like she has no shame."

We cuddled and talked for a little while before Lukas fell asleep, snoring softly.  I closed my eyes and wondered if I was being hypocritical about Melissa and the man at the restaurant.  I wasn't in a position to judge since I had drunken sex (or at least I thought I did) with Nate when Jason and I were together.  Josh was madly in love with Melissa and always doing little things to show his appreciation for her.  Her cheating on him would break his heart.  I wondered if Melissa was acting weird all this time because she was having an affair but quickly nixed that thought.  Melissa had always been a judgmental bitch that I tolerated.  Now I was over her attitude and was ready to move own.

---------

The next morning I showered and slipped into this coraly Free People dress.  I applied my makeup before joining Lukas and my parents downstairs for breakfast.  During breakfast we talked about the weather.  While yesterday was cool and overcast, today was sunny and warm.  New York weather for you!  I asked Lukas what he wanted to do today and he smiled mysteriously before responding.

"Your dad and I are going golfing."

I interrupted.  "But I thought we were going to hang out together."

He grinned.  "We will...later.  Today, you're going to spend the day with your mom.  I have something planned."

I looked at my parents and Lukas...they were in cahoots with each other.  Was this the surprise Lukas was talking about?  Why didn't it include him?  Maybe he planned a relaxing day for my mom and I.

"Can I have a hint at least?" I playfully whined.

He shook his head.  "Nope!  You'll find out soon enough."

As if on cue the doorbell rang and Lukas motioned for me to get the door.  I was greeted by the sight of an SUV limo, the driver introducing himself to me.  His name was Gary.  I fixed my lip gloss and grabbed my bag before giving Lukas a quick kiss goodbye.  Gary opened the door for us.  My mom went in first and I followed.  I was shocked when I saw my cousin Maria, Linda (yes Lukas' sister), my childhood friend Amanda that I adored but didn't see much since she moved to Pennsylvania for graduate school and Eleanore.  My girls that I asked to be in our wedding party!

We all talked excitedly.  "Oh my God!! I can't believe all of you are here.  Linda why didn't you tell me you were coming?!?"

"I didn't want to ruin Lukas' surprise" she replied happily.

"Anyone want to give me an idea where we're going?" I asked.

Radio silence....."Fine don't tell me.  Let's just have a good time!" I relented.

Maria, my cousin, popped open a bottle of champagne and carefully poured it into the plastic champagne flutes, passing them down one at a time.  Once we all had a drink in our hand she said, "Here's to an unforgettable day!"

We all squealed happily before downing our drink.  We talked excitedly and drank more champagne.  Being with my girls, made me so happy but also reminded me how much things have changed in my life.  This time last year Britney and Melissa would have been here.  Oh well.  I decided to focus on my real, normal friends!  The car came to a halt and Gary opened the door.  When I stepped out my eyes widened in excitement.  We were at a ginormous bridal salon.

I stood in place, my mouth agape.  My mom wrapped an arm around my shoulder.  "Lukas thought it would be a good idea to plan a wedding dress shopping day for you."

"This is the best surprise.  I've always wanted to come here!"

Mom laughed, "I know.  That's why I suggested this place when he told me about his plans.  He was actually going to plan this in a couple months but since we were all in NY, I convinced him this weekend would be better."

"So you knew this when you were asking all those questions about our wedding last night?" I asked my mom.

"GUILTY" she exclaimed.

Upon checking in with the receptionist, we were led to a private seating area.  I was in awe of all the dresses and didn't know what I wanted anymore.  All of sudden I wanted to try on everything.  Our bridal consultant came out and introduced herself as Ivy before allowing me to look through the thousands of dresses.  "Everything is so gorgeous" I said excitedly.

"If you have a style and budget in mind, I can pull some dresses for you" she offered.

"Um...I haven't thought of a budget.  How about $10k?  I'd like to try on various styles.  I always thought that I wanted a princessy gown but now I'm overwhelmed" I explained.

Ivy was very sweet and comforting.  "I guarantee we'll find the dress of your dream."


***** Hi Dolls - many of you have suggested that I make Liz's wedding interactive, so here goes.  I'm posting this a couple days early to give you time to find what you think would be an awesome dress for Liz.  You can also post a description.  I hope you all participate and enjoy this!"  Thanks again and I hope all of you have an amazing weekend! *****

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Memorial Day Part 2

I was surprised to find the front door wide open.  Usually my parents would lock the glass screen door and open their inside door to allow natural sunlight in.  This was typical in my parent's neighborhood.  To have both doors wide open was out of the ordinary.  I knocked gently on the door before we walked in.  No one was in the living room but we heard voices coming from the kitchen.  Loud, angry voices.

We walked slowly towards the kitchen where I spotted my mom sitting at the table, her head in her hands.  My dad was pacing around while Ryan and Chloe sat very close to each other.  Chloe was screeching that no one is listening to what she's saying.  My dad noticed Lukas and invited us to join them. 

"Maybe you can talk some sense into these two?" my mom said tearfully.

Ryan and Chloe started to talk over each other and my eyes drifted from one to the other.  I could not comprehend what they were saying and what was going.  I took in Chloe's appearance.  She was clad in a low cut black top and jeans.  Her makeup was perfectly applied and her hair was highlighted and layered around her face.  Ryan interrupted her and got up to greet both Lukas and I.  After we all got acquainted and introductions were made, I asked what was going on.

Chloe started to talk but Ryan interrupted her.  "Liz, Chloe and I are planning on moving in together.  We came over to get Mom and Dad's blessings but they've been anything but supportive."

My mom chimed in, "Ryan your divorce isn't even finalized and on top of that we've never met Chloe before.  We didn't even know you were seriously dating anyone.  If anything we've been completely blindsided by all this."

Dad looked towards Chloe and added, "Chloe it's apparent that you're a special woman and have made quite the impact on our son.  However, without getting to know you we cannot approve of this. Don't think we have something against you because we don't.  All we're saying is there isn't any need for you two to rush into this arrangement."

My mom asked, "How long have the two of you been dating?"

Ryan looked down at the granite counter top while answering, "Almost two months.  Mom, that doesn't matter.  All that matters is that Chloe and I love each other and are dedicated to taking our relationship to the next level.  You didn't throw a hissy fit like this when Liz announced she was moving in with Lukas.  All of you were happy for her.  Why can't you be happy for Chloe and I?"

Part of me was angered that Ryan had the nerve to compare his little fling with my relationship with Lukas.  We had been together for months before we even got to that step.  We had been through so many trying situations together and had grown together.  Our love and adoration for each other grew with each day and continues to.  How he could act like moving in together wasn't a big deal pissed me off.  I tried to hold my tongue and couldn't when Ryan kept on bringing Lukas and my situation into the mix.

"Ryan where do you get off making comparisons? Whether or not Lukas and I chose to live together after two weeks or two years in isn't your business.  Everyone's relationships are different.  If you really love Chloe and want to play house with her, that's fine.  You're both adults.  Instead of using my situation to gain leverage and approval, focus on your own relationship.  Maybe if you'd brought Chloe around instead of springing this on everyone it wouldn't be this huge deal."

That shut up Ryan but Chloe decided to interject, "Maybe if you were secure in your relationship this wouldn't be a big deal to you."

I glared at her while Ryan muttered an apology.  "We have many what ifs and none of you can judge me.  I've always been supportive of all of you and I would expect the same."

"What the hell are you talking about?  For years you and I didn't have so much as a quick phone call. You only came back into the picture a few months ago.  That's when we started to reestablish a good relationship.  Even now I don't know what's going on with you.  Last I heard was that you and Chloe had a date so excuse me for not jumping for joy hearing your announcement."

Lukas stayed by myself even though he was clearly uncomfortable listening to Ryan and I go at it.  Ryan insisted that we were always close but I rebutted.  Tina had such tight grip on him that he had to get her permission to even make a phone call.  For him to act like we were always super close was and still is pure bullshit.  My mom angrily yelled, "It breaks my heart to see my children bickering like cats and dogs.  This is not the way either of your were raised."

Mom was right.  We raised to be loving, caring, smart and to follow our hearts.  Maybe that was Ryan was doing?  Either way I thought he was moving too fast.  "I'm sorry for yelling.  I stand by what I say though.  Ryan, your happiness is the only thing that matters and I fear that by moving in together you're making a huge commitment that you aren't ready for.  Why can't you give it a couple more months?  If you and Chloe still feel the same then I will fully support you."

Chloe stood up and started to gather her belongings.  "You've all made it crystal clear that I'm not welcome in your family.  I'm not going to sit around and have you bash what Ryan and I have.  None of you know anything about our relationship but yet you feel the need to make your opinion known. Newsflash...we don't care.  Ryan and I are going to live our lives and do what we want with our without you.  We don't need your negativity and drama."

My mouth was agape as was Ryan's.  He stuttered, "Chloe my family is very important to me and I will not allow you to disrespect them.  All you've just said makes my blood boil because it's reminiscent of you my ex-wife."

"You seriously are going to sit there and let them talk you out of this?"she shrieked.

He rose from the bar stool and walked towards Chloe.  "Guys, Chloe and I need to talk in private.  I'll be back in a little."

-----------

It took a good hour and two glasses of wine to calm my mom down enough to talk.  My dad was another story.  He ranted about what a big mistake Ryan was making.  "I sat back and didn't say anything when I had doubts about Tina.  This Chloe is a younger version of Tina.  The attitude, manipulating him to think that we're negative is ridiculous."

Mom added, "The way she spoke about our family burns me up inside.  Family is all we have."

Automatically Wiz Kalifa's song 'See You Again' popped into my head and I accidentally repeated, "How could we not talk about family when family's all that we got."  I noted the weird glances.

"What the heck did that come from?" Mom asked grinning.

I rolled my eyes playfully.  "It's a song by Wiz Kalifa.  Don't you two swear that you're hip, up to date parents?  How could you not know that?"

Dad replied, "This Wiz guy, is he a proclaimed wizard?"

We all burst our laughing.  Once we composed ourselves enough, Lukas answered, "Nope.  Just a rapper.  I think you'd like his stuff."

"I don't get the jargon most of time" Dad admitted.

How could I not chuckle at my Dad?  Automatically the ice was broken and a sense of calm took over.  We had spent the last few hours mulling over Ryan's situation and needed a break.  Since the weather was shitty, my Dad opted to not barbecue.  Instead he suggested we go to dinner.  We all agreed and retreated upstairs to get ready.

While I pulled on my ripped white jeans and an a deep red draped top, Lukas asked me about Chloe.  Neither of us knew enough about her and she certainly didn't help matters by acting just like Tina.

"It's crazy...the other night when I was getting dinner with Anthony he mentioned that Ryan and Chloe were pretty serious about each other but I let it go over my head.  I was thinking that we could triple date with them and Anthony and Eleanore but now I highly doubt that Chloe would want to be in the same room with me."

He shook his head.  "My opinion is Chloe is being unreasonable."

I shrugged.  "It pissed me off that they kept throwing you and I into their drama.  What we do shouldn't have any bearing on their life?"

"It's not a competition.  I like Ryan; he's a good man but has bad taste in women."

"Tell my something I don't know" I quipped.

He moved towards me and I could feel his warm breath on my forehead.  "Something you don't know, huh?" he asked kissing my forehead while gently running his fingers through my hair, massaging my scalp.

I nodded, not wanting to interrupt this moment with talking.  "Well Elisabeth I have something planned for you tomorrow that will knock you off your feet."

Hi Dolls - I will be wrapping up Memorial Day weekend in the next post.  Stay tuned because things might get interesting!  Also, thank you all for your kind comments and wonderful suggestions.  You are all wonderful and I couldn't ask for better readers:-)"

Monday, June 15, 2015

Long Weekend Part 1

Memorial Day Weekend....the official start of summer....I guess no one sent a reminder to the weather Gods.  It was a wet and cool....and when I say cool I mean 55 degrees...morning when Lukas and I bundled up and headed to my parent's house.  We had planned to spend the day with my family.  At first we contemplated going to the Hamptons but it's so packed during holiday weekends.  All of the hotspots were infiltrated by girls who are barely legal, scantily dressed and making asses of themselves.  I'm not judging because I'm sure I've had those moments myself but let's just say I'm weary of that scene.

While we drove out to Long Island Lukas shared, "Our developers have made a lot of progress on our Miami office.  They've sent my dad and I pictures and have kept us in the loop every step of the way."

"That's great.  For a while there we weren't sure what was going to happen. Those kooky lawyers had me scared when they said you would get the permits" I admitted.

"Fuck them.  They were bitter because I canned them.  They were the most unethical lawyers I've come across."

I scoffed.  "Total understatement.  What's worse is they didn't see anything wrong with that crazy girl...I think it was one of their daughters....throwing herself at you and sending you half naked pics.  It's like they condoned her behavior.  What type of parents do that?"

"Money hungry ones" he deadpanned.

"Good riddance to them."

He nodded, "We proved them wrong.  Nothing is impossible and we didn't need blood sucking leeches."

"What happens now with building?"

He glanced in my direction before turning his attention back to the road.  "Well, I'm going to have to go to Miami for a week or so to finalize the project and make design decisions.  My dad's coming along as well and I'd love for you to join us."

I pouted.  "I'd like to but Nick is out the most of this week.  He's helping his wife while she recovers from the c-section."

"I'm not going until next Monday.  Even if you can't be there for a week, maybe we can do a long weekend."

"Mm.  I'd like that.  Miami holds a special place in my heart" I said dreamily.  

"Because we've made so many wonderful memories there?" he asked.

I grinned.  "Of course!  The last time we were there, you proposed and totally swept me off my feet."

"I don't know if I can top that but I'll try if you come with me" he said with a wink.

"You know I can't say no to that" I replied giddily.

His face lit up as he reached over and squeeze just above me knee.  "Did I tell you how awesome you are?"

I laughed.  "You do more than that."

His full attention shifted to the traffic before us.  I knew that he had spoken to his sister numerous times since we've gotten back to New York and decided to ask him how she was doing.  Lukas' grip on the steering wheel tightened, causing his knuckles to turn white as a huge SUV abruptly cut into our lane.  "Fucking idiot" he muttered.

"Yes....let's forget about him...he's so not worth it.  How's Linda doing?"

"She's doing a lot better.  The miscarriage took a toll on her but she's coming around.  I wish she'd tell mom or even her in-laws but she insists that if they knew they would only stress her out more."

I took a deep breath, letting the air out super slowly.  "Well at least she's in better spirits and coming to terms with everything."

"I'm sure she'll be fine.  Faisal loves and supports her unconditionally and her in-laws seem loving and kind.  What more can she ask for?  The one that I'm really concerned about is Lauren," Lukas confessed.

"I wish she'd go back to rehab and get the help she needs."

"Me too.  My dad said that she wants to go to Seattle and start over there" Lukas shared.

Did he just say Seattle?  "What's she going to do in Seattle?"

He shrugged.  "Who knows?  She doesn't return my calls anymore, you know this.  I get all my updates from my parents."

Again the thought of her kids made me sad.  "I'm sorry Lukas but I think it's fucked up for her to abandon her kids.  I don't care what her issue is, her kids should come first.  She should be a good mom and get help for her sake and theirs."

"Liz, you don't know Lauren well.  Deep down she loves Liam and Stephanie but she isn't very maternal. She's the type to run away when times get difficult.  She doesn't like to work things out.  I'm guessing she feels that by the time she gets back from Seattle, everything will be forgotten and she can pick up like nothing ever happened" he shared.

Though I felt uncomfortable judging Lauren, I had to speak my mind.  "Life isn't like that.  Those kids will go through life thinking they weren't good enough and that's why she left.  Then when they finally get use to her being gone, she's going to be selfish enough to waltz into their lives and act like a world class mom?  I think we both need to take a more active role in your niece and nephew's lives.  They need to know that they have adults that they can depend on and who will love them unconditionally.  They're around the same age as John and Kristen's kids.  Maybe we can have a day out with all four of them?"

He laughed.  "That might be too extreme.  I love the idea but let's spend a day with Lauren's kids and a separate with John's.  That way we'd get to know what they like and their personality types before lumping them together and taking them out on the town."

"Okay....now that I think about it we'd have more control with two kids."

"You know I've noticed lately that whenever you talk about or see babies and small children, you get this dreamy look.  It's really cute" he said gently.

Damn...now I have to tell him.  I didn't think my obsession with babies was that apparent.  I nervously said, "I don't really know how to explain this."

"Just go for it."

I shifted anxiously and looked in his direction.  I started speaking really fast.  "My biological clock has been ticking loudly and I keep thinking about what our baby would look like."

He smiled genuinely, "There's nothing wrong with that at all."

"I didn't want to say anything because we agreed to wait until we were married to start trying but now I don't know what I want.  Every time Nick shows me a pic of his newborn daughter at work or John sends me pics of Marco I turn to mush inside.  It's freaking ridiculous."

He entwined his fingers with mine.  "I don't think it's ridiculous.  Who cares about our timeline?  All that matters is that you and I are on the same page.  Do you want to start trying?"

I thought about it and quickly shook my head.  "I'd have to get off the pill and then I want to wait like two months before we start trying.  However, if I get pregnant right away our wedding would be immediately after I give birth.  I don't know how I feel about that.  I want a baby but I also want us to have some alone time together.  I know I'm talking in circles and driving your insane."

He chuckled.  "No you're not.  Liz, you and I have to honestly discuss these things.  I'm ready to have a baby nine months from now or two/three years from now.  Whenever the time is right, it will happen."

"So what if I go off the pill and we just continue doing what we do....if it happens, it happens."

He squeeze my hand gently.  "And if it doesn't we get to keep trying."

I laughed, "That's the best part isn't it?"

As he took the exit to my parent's home he answered, "It is but we're not going to start talking about sex when we're five minutes from your parents."

He took a sharp left and headed down my parent's block, pulling up in front of the house.  In the driveway was a new Volkswagon Jetta.  My parents didn't mention getting a new car....I knew that someone was at the house but didn't know whom.

Friday, June 12, 2015

June 2015 Discussion

We all have thoughts and feelings that we sometimes need to express.  At times we need advice on something going on in our lives or what to wear.   I feel like I know some of you and I think I've shared a lot of my life with all of my readers.  That's part of the reason why I'll trying a monthly discussion post.  Here we can talk about anything and everything.  Only thing I ask is that you be respectful of each other's opinions. 

I don't know if this is a good idea or if it will appeal to my readers so let's try out this month and see how things go.  If it's not appealing I won't do it in subsequent months.  Anyhow, let's talk.  Tell me what's on your mind.  If you have questions about me, I'm willing to provide honest answers while maintaining my anonymity.  

Thanks my dolls and have a fabulous weekend!

Rushing Forward

It's been a month since our trip to Paris and glorious warm weather reigned upon New York City. I struggled to get back into the swing of things at work.  I was exhausted and my mind was occupied with my newborn nephew Marco.  Kristen's words replayed in my head and I was determined to find out what she was hiding.  I was like Nancy Drew, trying to solve a mystery with no leads.

A couple days after I returned to work Nick's wife had a scheduled c-section and delivered a healthy, almost ten pound baby girl. Nick was over the moon and his boys were thrilled to have a little sister to play with.  Nick took two days off and then promptly returned to work.  I must have looked puzzled when he walked in because he shared, "I have my mother-in-law staying with us until my wife is back on her feet.  She's driving me insane and I thought I'd be better off at work."

I cracked a smile.  "It's great that your wife has such an awesome support system.  How is she doing?

He whipped out his iPhone and beamed with pride and happiness showing me pictures of his daughter.  "Isn't she the most beautiful baby you've ever seen?"

"Yes...but don't tell that to my brother" I replied giggling.

He chuckled and teased, "Don't tell him that you lied when you said his kids were the cutest."

I playfully rolled my eyes.  "All babies are beautiful and precious."

"Yes.  Getting back to your question.  My wife is okay.  A c-section is major surgery and she in a lot of pain but she's a trooper."

I nodded.  "That's good.  How are your twins?"

"Oh my God!  They are overjoyed having a sister.  They're constantly watching over her and kissing her hand, telling anyone that would listen that they have a sister."

"Awww, that's so sweet!" I gushed while inside I was all mush.  Damn biological clock....seeing pictures of the Nick's daughter and hearing about his boys had my biological clock ticking rather loudly.  Lately babies was all that I could think of.  The other night Lukas asked what was weighing on my mind after I was distracted with my thoughts and I played it off thinking these urges and feelings would waver but they've only gotten stronger.

Nick waved his hand in front of my face, making me refocus.  "Did you even hear what I said?" he asked jollily.

"Sorry my mind drifted" I replied apologetically.

"No worries.  Listen you okay with me taking off the latter part of next week?"

"Why would I not be okay?" I asked.

He shrugged, "I didn't know if you had a getaway planned.  You and your boyfriend are always taking off....reminds me of myself and my wife before the kids."

"You mean fiance" I corrected him before adding, "Kids are amazing and they probably bring a lot of happiness to your life."

He chuckled, "They do but wait until you have one of your own.  Then you'll long for a full night sleep and reminisce about the good old days."

-----------

 It's been three weeks since Nick's baby girl made her grand entrance and her proud daddy can't stop talking about her.  From how easy going she is to how beautiful she is.  I've seen pics and she is adorable with a head full of thick black hair.  It was clear that this precious baby girl already had her daddy wrapped around her teeny finger.  Though Nick was enamored by the new addition to their family, he still made his twin boys feel appreciated and loved.  He did simple things like taking them to Central Park or cooking them breakfast, taking them to karate and their first Yankee game. He positively lit up when he spoke of his children.

Speaking of precious babies, my nephew Marco was released from the hospital yesterday, at exactly one month of age.  He was suppose to go home a week prior but had complications and the doctors feared that his lungs weren't developed enough.  John has been texting me with new pictures and keeping me abreast of both Marco and Kristen's condition.  Upon release Marco was close to six pounds and healthy.  Kristen was coming around and beginning to get back to her old self.  Maybe her fears and having to go through such a traumatic experience had her depressed and unhappy.  That's normal, right?  Still I couldn't help but wonder why she insisted that the accident was her fault that day when we saw her at the hospital.  Maybe I'll never know the real answer and God knows that I didn't feel comfortable bringing it up.

Since Lukas was busy at work, I had dinner with Anthony to catch and celebrate. We've spoken and texted but this was the first time I've seen him in person in close to a month.  I was popping a sliver of warm bread with butter in my mouth when Anthony turned the corner and walked over to me.  He leaned down and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek before sitting across from me.

"I haven't seen you in forever.  How's life?  What's new?" he asked with a big grin.

"Ah same old same old" I said nonchalantly.

He laughed, "That's not what I've heard."

"Oh is that so?  Tell me what you've heard" I replied playfully.

He teased, "Nah.  You wouldn't be interested."

I rolled my eyes, "Anthony....tell me."

"I'm just busting your chops....damn Elisabeth, you should know me by now."

I sighed.  "I do.  Part of me was wondering if you spoke to Melissa and she said something."

After ordering a vodka/club from the waiter, he turned his attention back to me.  "You two still haven't spoken?"

I shook my head.  "After she came over uninvited and insulted Lukas and I, did you expect me to reach out to her?  If this were months ago, I'd chalk it up to some shit going on in her life.  I saw how she blamed you for Priya and then inviting Joe to that brunch she threw and now all this drama with Britney.  I'm beginning to think she's a shit stirrer."

"It's about damn time you see her true colors.  Melissa is shady is a hell and always acts like she's better than everyone.  I've tolerated her but kept my distance after the Priya incident and then accosting me with Priya's sister.  Josh is a good man with the heart of a saint to put up with her bullshit."

I nodded.  "If our friendship meant something to her, you'd think she'd try to make amends but nope....radio silence.  What bothers me the most is her hypocritical attitude.  How can she blame me for not helping Britney when she's done nothing!  You know what's really weird?"

He said he didn't and insisted I fill him in.  "With Britney, I was heartbroken losing her as a friend.  Even now I look back fondly on the good memories but with Melissa I'm just pissed and angry whenever she comes to mind.  I don't miss her."

"Britney was your loyal friend so her betraying you hurt more because it was unexpected.  Melissa has been doing shady shit for a while and this was just the straw that broke the camel's back" he rationalized.

While we ate and sipped on our drinks I changed the subject.  I wanted to lighten the mood and not let Melissa bring us down.  "How are things with Eleanore?"

Anthony flashed me huge smile, you know the type that's genuine and crinkles your eyes.  "I think I'm falling in love with her.  I know what you're thinking...I'm rushing into something but you're wrong.  Nothing has ever felt more right."

How could I not be happy for Anthony?  "That's where you're wrong.  You don't know what I'm thinking."

He scoffed, "What are you thinking then?"

"That seeing you smile like that tells me all I need to know.  I like Eleanore and you two seem to be on the same page.  I don't think you're rushing into anything at all. Though if you get married before Lukas and I do, I swear I'll kick your ass."

He laughed.  "Don't get ahead of yourself.  I said I was falling for Eleanore not putting a ring on it.  I can see that happening down the road though."

"Mm by then I'll be a pro at wedding planning and can give you two some pointers!"

"Or you could give your brother and Chloe pointers" he said slyly.

I raised an eyebrow.  Ryan wasn't around when we went to my parent's house and the hospital and I haven't really asked him about his love life.  He was in the process of getting divorced and didn't think it would be appropriate.  I vaguely remembered Chloe from the wine bar.  She was pretty and seemed nice enough from the five minutes we spoke.  "What are you talking about?" I asked him.

"Eleanore was telling me that your Ryan and Chloe are inseparable.  When they aren't together Chloe is constantly talking about him.  She says they're 'head over heels' in love."

"Is that so?  I haven't really spoken to him but now I'm tempted him to invite him on a double date.  I want to get to know Chloe before they get too serious.  I want to make sure he's with a woman that appreciates and loves him and vice versa.  I don't want him falling for another Tina" I shared.

"You aren't going to be one of those crazy women that will sabotage your brother's relationship because you don't like his girlfriend, are you?"

I looked at him incredulously.  "Anthony!  Oh my God!  You should know me better than that.  How could you even think that?"

He downed the remainder of his third drink.  "You're loyal and fiercely protective of your loved ones."

"But I wouldn't do that!"

"Okay...let's just drop it" he said.

"Fine but don't say it again" I replied.

He agreed.   "What's going on with you and Lukas?"

I clasped my hands in front of me and excitedly shared, "We finally selected a wedding date - July 3, 2016."

He teased, "You selected a holiday weekend to make sure Lukas doesn't forgot your anniversary."

"Nope.  It made sense.  We had friends and family all over the country and world.  That time seemed right and gives me time to plan our dream wedding."

"You mean you're fantasy wedding?" he joked.

"No...Anthony just be serious for a minute."

"I like riling you up...it's so easy" he said honestly.

By the time we finished eating and settled the tab it was close to 11.  Anthony was sweet enough hail me a cab.  I gave him a hug and thanked him for dinner before heading home.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Visiting Time

Mom started speaking quickly while Bob drove us to the hospital.  My mom always speaks incessantly when she's nervous or scared.  "So Elisabeth, Lukas do you have any ideas where you want to get married?  I remember when you were little you wanted to get married in a castle...is that still a possibility?  You'd look gorgeous in a poofy, sparkly princess dress.  Remember your sweet sixteen party and your dress?  You looked like royalty then and I can only envision how much that would be magnified on your wedding day.  Did I tell you how happy and proud dad and I are of you...I mean both you?"

"Mom, take a minute and breath.  You're talking a mile and minute and I can't keep up!" I exclaimed.

"I was trying to make conversation" she muttered.

I frowned.  It wasn't my intention to hurt her feelings.  "I know you are. I guess I'm cranky and tired from travelling."

"I'm scared Liz.  Really scared."

"About what?" I asked turning my head in her direction.

She looked down at her hands.  "About Marco.  I keep spouting that he'll grow up and be okay to stop the questions but what if he isn't?  How are Kristen and John going to deal with that?  They already have two kids that need attention 24/7.  I'm worried that they won't be able to deal if there are long term effects."

I squeezed her hand tightly.  "Mom, you are one of the strongest women I know.  Focusing on everything that could possibly go wrong is going to do nothing but drive you crazy.  I know baby Marco will get through anything thrown his way....it's in his genes."

She nodded.  "I hope you're right."

I hoped I was too.  In my heart, I felt that there was something that my mom wasn't telling me about Kristen and the baby.  Bob pulled up in front of the entrance and we hopped out.  Mom walked ahead of Lukas and I. 

"I'm so nervous Lukas" I whispered not wanting to upset or stress my mom out anymore than she already was.

He brought my hand to his lips and kissed it.  "Let's not jump to any conclusions until we see Kristen and the baby."

We followed my mom to the elevator and then through the maternity ward.  She stopped in front of Kristen's private room and peered in before entering.  Empty....no sign of either John and Kristen though there were multiple bouquets of flowers and congratulations balloons.  "They're probably in the NICU" mom shared.

It was as though she knew the hospital like the back of her hand.  We followed her through the various corridors, pausing to look at the babies.  "They're so cute" I squealed.

Even though I couldn't fathom having a baby before Lukas and I were married, seeing all of the precious newborns ignited a yearning within me that I had never experienced before.  My biological clock was starting to tick.  I literally had tears in my eyes...tears of happiness....looking at the innocent babies.  I could watch them all day long and part of me wanted one so desperately.

My mom turned back and motioned for us to follow her.  We did but I couldn't stop imagining what Lukas and my baby would look like.  It would probably have dark hair and green or hazel eyes.  Of course it would be a happy baby like Lukas always cooing and wanting to be cuddled.  Our baby would be so loved and never want for anything.  Lukas and I will allow him/her to achieve all of their dreams while guiding them with words of wisdom.  I couldn't wait and I wondered if Lukas felt the same seeing the babies.

--------

Kristen was sitting in an oversized chair.  She was attached to one of those movable IV thingamajigs that I couldn't conjure the name of and dressed in a hospital gown covered with a robe and slippers.  She had a bandage on her forehead and naturally seemed preoccupied with baby Marco who was in an incubator, hooked up to all types of machines.  Kristen didn't even realize that we were in the same room as her.

I didn't want to startle her or worse the baby and watched from afar as my mom gently touched her shoulder.  Kristen looked up at her with her sad eyes and forced a small smile.  I walked towards her and kissed her on the cheek.

"How have you been?" I asked nervously.

She sighed.  "I don't know Elisabeth.  I don't know anything anymore."

I frowned. Kristen has always been very optimistic and happy.  Seeing her so down was painful.  I followed her glance to Marco, who looked so tiny and fragile.

"It's all my fault" she cried.

I rubbed her back gently.  "Don't say that.  The accident wasn't your fault."

"If you say so" she said somewhat dismissing me.

Lukas who was standing to the side said, "Before you know it you and Marco will be home."

She laughed bitterly.  "Marco has a tough road ahead of him and it's all my fault."

He tried to tell her that it wasn't but she wasn't having it.  I started to wonder if there was something that we didn't know.  Did the accident not happen like Mom described?  I pushed those thoughts out of my mind.  "How's he doing?" I asked gently, gazing at my nephew.

"The doctors keep saying that they don't think he'll have complications later on in life but I don't know if I believe that.  I want to but I can't set myself up like that."

I nodded.  "Okay.  Let's keep positive."

Kristen turned her attention back to the baby, more or less dismissing us.  I gave her a quick hug and told her that if she needs me I'm only a phone call away.  We waited for minutes for an elevator.  Finally the one to the left dinged and I walked towards it.  I was shocked when the elevator opened and John walked out.  He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't even notice us.  As he rushed past us I called out his name and he stopped in his tracks, spinning around.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, hugging me.

"I wanted to make sure you, Kristen and the baby are okay."

He did the half hug-handshake thing with Lukas and kissed our Mom on the cheek.  "Kristen and I appreciate that.  Did you see her and Marco?"

I nodded.  "Yeah."

"Let me guess she wasn't in the mood to socialize?  Ever since this accident she's been down.  I keep telling her that the baby will be fine and this is a temporary setback but she's not having it.  I'm worried too but I can't let that consume me. I have, well we have, two other kids to think about" John shared.

Part of me wanted to press him for details about the accident but I knew better.  It wasn't the right time or place.  "Lukas and I were talking earlier and we'd love to watch the kids for you.  We know this is a difficult time for both you and Kristen and we'd like to help out any way we can."

"Liz....you don't have to" John said.

"I know we don't but we want to.  John, you're my brother and I would do anything for you and Kristen" I said softly.

He nodded.  "And appreciate that.  Honestly, I don't think Kristen will be okay with the kids spending time in the city.  We want them in close proximity.  Once the baby is home, we might take you up on that offer though."

I gave him a hug.  "Deal.  Listen we're going to get going but let me know if you need anything."