09 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Nine
The Truth In Not So Many Words

Millie stayed in her room for the next week, resting her leg and using the quiet time to think.  Thinking.  That was all she ever did these days.  Think.  She was going mad, with her thoughts in constant circulation but she was also tired.  Tired of the scenery, of paradise, of the quietness and the loneliness she felt.  She had seen Liam twice in the last week, one to check that she was okay and that she had everything she needed and two from the beach below where he started to take lengthy walks.  He looked up and caught her staring from the balcony seat where she sat.  She'd blushed of course, just because she had been caught looking. 
She slowly started packing, she hadn't brought much with her but most of what she did wear but lent to her. She replaced them on their hangers, folded the garments and stowed them back in the drawers.  She was sad to leave Patty, Liam's cook who became her confidant and her friend.  She was funny, straight to the point and open to all sorts of mayhem.  Zipping up her bag, she thought she heard a light tap on the door and chose to ignore it, when it suddenly opened and Liam walked in. He was wearing khaki linen trousers and a navy shirt, the sleeves rolled up revealing tanned arms and a sprinkling of hair.  His eyes zeroed in on her bag.

They both spoke at the same time.

"I was just about to see you," Millie said.

Liam ignored her, "You want to go, don't you?"

"I don't belong here Liam.  I want to go home and go back to my life," Millie confirmed.

"After all that we've been through, you're going to leave me?" Liam said sitting down next to her.

"We were never together Liam, we may have been back in New York but things have changed, they've changed me.  I want to go home," Millie said, "I'm sorry if that's not what you want to hear but that's how I feel."

"I can't persuade you to stay here? Not even for me?"  Liam said with sullen eyes.

"I want to go Liam, please let me go,"  Millie asked.

Liam shook his head, he was battling his emotions.  He loved her and if this is what it took to not lose her forever, in however twisted way that sounded, he would do as she wanted, "I'll let them know. Are you ready to go now?"

"Yes, as soon as possible." she said, getting up slowly.

"Okay," and with that he left her room.


Two And  A Half Years Later

"Thanks for coming Millie.  O-M-G, you look amazing! Your dress is to dye for.  How are you?" Sam screamed as she embraced her friend.

"Congratulations Sam, you make a beautiful bride," Millie smiled as she hugged her friend back.

"Oh stop Millie, you're just saying that.  I look like a beached whale is what I look like," Sam laughed as she rubbed her belly.

"How far along as you?" Millie asked.

"I'm four months along but boy it's great to be pregnant, I can eat as much as I bloody well want and no one can tell me otherwise.  I can't obviously drink champagne, but what's champagne compared to grilled calamari and a pig on a spit.  So tell me, what's happening with you? I want all the goss. Tell me!  Tell me! "

Millie watched Sam's eyes light up.  The wedding dress she wore was of the finest chiffon and ivory silk, encrusted with Swarovski crystals around her bodice and skirts.  Sam wore a diamond head piece and her pregnancy glow was all the make-up she needed.  Millie had chosen an evening gown made of strawberry blush chiffon to wear to the evening reception, one she had brought without so much as looking at the price tag.  She could afford these luxuries.  Having come back from St. Lucia she had flung herself into work and within a couple of months, earned the capital she needed to invest in her own company.  A company she was proud to call her own. 

"I've just been working Sam, y'know me," Millie replied.

"Work, scmirk.  That's all good and stuff, but I want to know the goss, like whatever happened to you and Liam? You guys were in the tabloids for ages and then suddenly you disappeared from the face of the earth with him and now you've reappeared, sans him. What's going on? I want to hear this from the horses mouth.  Go on, tell me,"  Sam almost squealed.

A man in a penguin suit approached and kissed Sam on the cheek, "Is my wife torturing you for information?" he chuckled as he squeezed his wife.

"Millie, I'd like to introduce you to my husband Elvin.  Elv this is my good friend Millie, who I used to work with at the restaurant back in the day," Sam beamed at her husband.

Elvin shook Millie's hand and smiled, "Great to meet you, I've heard a lot about you from Sam.  She thinks very highly of you and it's lovely to finally meet you."

"That's really sweet of you Sam, what have you been telling your husband about me now?" Millie beamed, "So Elv, what is it that you do? Sam never mentioned in passing..."

"I'm a DJ," he began when he spotted some of his friends entering the hall, "If you'll excuse me, my friends have just arrived." He kissed his wife and smiled softly at Millie, "If you'll excuse me, some important guests have arrived.  Lovely to have met you Millie."

  "You really ought to come around for some tea, when you're not busy of course.  You've been so busy lately, that this is probably the first time in eons that we've seen each other.  Ooh,  I can show you the nursery and what I'm planning to do with it.  You really have a good eye for that, you should definitely come round."

"I'd like that, where are you living at the moment?" Millie asked, grabbing a flute of champagne from a passing waiter.

"Chelsea,  we brought a town house, but you'd never guess who our next door neighbours are.   My God, I almost threw up when I found out, well, that was due to the morning sickness but maybe I was excited, I don't know but anyway- guess who?"

Millie had a tingle in her stomach, "I haven't the faintest idea."

"Hartley Armstrong and Frieda St Claire.  They are very private people though, y'know being mega move stars and all but Hartley's a big fan of Elv's DJing and he's been hanging out with Elv in the studio a lot," Sam said in between breathes, "Oh look, here they are now. Let's go and meet them."

Before Millie could decline, she was whisked in the presence of Hollywood Royalty.  It was Hartley that saw Millie first,  "Millie, is that you?" Hartley said, walking towards Millie and hugging her.  His wife Frieda looked haughtily at her.

"It can't be, can it?" Frieda said, eyeing Millie's dress, "How on earth are you able to afford that?"

"You'll have to excuse my wife, her compliments are with your dress but of course she is also happy to see you too Millie,"  Hartley commented dryly, annoyed at his wife.

Millie touched her dress and smiled sweetly, "This old thing was lying around, thought it would suit this occasion." 

"Lying around? Ha! In Gucci's fashion house?  It's not even out yet!" Frieda was perplexed.

"I know," Millie replied sweetly. 

Hartley interrupted his wife before she could get a word in edge ways, "Frieda, why don't you go and get me a whisky from the bar and whilst you're at it, get yourself a Cosmopolitan."  He glared at his wife and she shot off towards the bar. "I apologise about my wife Millie, she's still trying to get used to socialising with people. As you know, it's a work in progress."

"No need to apologise at all Artie." Millie flapped away his comment,  "How are you doing these days?"  Millie asked, sipping at her champagne.

"What am I not doing these days! Taking care of the kids, trying my hand at directing but it's not as easy as it looks, even with my experience. Very boring really. So tell me Millie, what are you up to these days?" Hartley asked.

"These days, I'm working in procurement," Millie beamed, "I purchase fashion commodities, sell on the web or distribute to fashion boutiques. Most of my sales are commission based and it's competitive but I thrive on a challenge.  It's fun."

"My goodness, you've been a busy bee, where do you even find the time to do anything else?"  Hartley smiled.

"I do a lot of travelling in my job and manage to squeeze in some leisure time then, it's not bad at all," Millie replied, "How are the children?"

"They're good, hyper... I can't fault Frieda on being a great mother because she is but... never mind.  How about you, any plans to have a batch of your own?" Hartley asked.

"Well you forget Hartley that in order to actually have a batch, I do need some of a man's best swimmers,"  Millie laughed as did Hartley.

"He misses you, y'know?"  Hartley said.

Millie stiffened, "Pardon?"

"Liam, he misses you," Hartley commented.  Since Liam had come back from St Lucia he'd been a different man.  A stranger.  The months that had surpassed, had turned his best friend into an angry bitter man, a man he no longer recognised.  A man he could not reach out to, and he had tried on so many occasions.  But Hartley knew his best friend and he knew why he was like this and that reason stood in front of him.  Millie had a distant look about her, as if she was anywhere but here, standing in front of him and he knew instantly, that she never forgot about him.  No matter how hard she tried.  No matter how they both tried.  They were both hurting.  Liam spent most of his time at home or getting pissed drunk at a number of bar hot spots.  He had declined work, to sit and brew about the past.  Hartley didn't know the full extent of what happened between him and Millie but he knew enough; enough to know that they both belonged together, "Call it a man's intuition but he's hurting, he doesn't say it in so many words but I know it's because of you Millie."

"Leave it alone Artie, this has nothing to do with you," Millie ground out.

"On this occasion, I would allow bygones to be bygones but I can't, he's like a brother to me... a brother, I could lose," Hartley lowered his voice, his glare penetrating her defences, "He hasn't been himself since he came back from St Lucia and I know it's because of you.  Please, just go and see him."

"No, I will not! We said what we needed to say a long time ago!" Millie said.

"Yes, fine.  But if you saw him now Millie, you would hardly recognise him.  Have you seen the headlines lately?  He hasn't been there for his acting, he's been there because he's disorderly, a drunk, a complete recluse.  People are talking, screw the people... I'm worried about him.  I haven't seen him like this since his brother died and that's saying something.  If you have any shred of decency, even as his friend, you would do the right thing and just try to see him, try to help him at least.  It would really help, please.  I don't beg for just anyone or anything, but I beg you for Liam."  Hartley was dumbfounded by how much emotion had been building up inside him. He exhaled, watching Millie contemplate it. 

Frieda approached with drinks and immediately sensed the tension, "What's going on?"

"Tell her Frieda, tell her that Liam isn't good, tell her that she needs to see him,"  Hartley demanded, his voice wavered with emotion. 

Frieda looked solemnly at her husband and hugged him, she turned towards Millie with a look upon her face, she too look sad, "Whatever my husband has said about Liam is true, he's not himself.  By God, he has tried on numerous occasions and more to help him, but it's like he doesn't want it.  It would be beneficial if you went to see him, please Millie. I know, I've not been the greatest person to be around but that's just my prerogative but if you say you cared for him at one point, just go and see him. I'm sure he'd appreciate it."

Millie nodded, "Where is he now?"

"Probably at home, passed out.  We could get our chauffeur to drive you?"  Frieda insisted.

"That would be lovely," Millie smiled, "Thank you."

Millie sought out Sam, who was talking to one of her bridesmaids, "Sam, I'm so sorry I have to go."

"You're going? But why? You just got here,"  Sam did a puppy dog face.

"I'm sorry, it's an emergency.  I'll come and see you at your house next week okay? I'll give you a call, but I really have to go.  Congratulations Sam, you'll make a beautiful bride, a fantastic wife and the best mother to ever grace the planet."  Millie hugged her and dashed off outside.


No comments:

Post a Comment