17 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Fantasy is Reality

Millie took Liam's hand as she gracefully exited the comfort of the limousine to the rapturous applause and screaming of hundreds of people who were milling around the theatre.  She was nervous, this was the first public outing she would be taking as Mrs Liam Blake and to say she was nervous was an understatement.  She was absolutely kacking it. 

"Breathe Mills, I'm here and I won't leave your side," Liam whispered into her ear.

"How do you do this?" Millie whispered back.

"It takes practice, but at the beginning it used to be very daunting but it's all part of the package," Liam soothed. 

Girls were screaming and chanting out his name and Liam walked towards them with an easy confidence.  He took pictures with them, chatted with them and signed autographs with them.  All whilst Millie stood uncomfortably a few feet behind him.  He spun around and caught her eye and called her over.  He introduced her to the crowd and they all 'ahhh-ed' at them.  Liam drew her to him and kissed her on the cheek to the cheers and congratulations of the crowd.

"See... nothing to worry about, they love you but not as much as me,"  Liam whispered to her.

Millie nodded.  A few minutes later they were ushered into the theatre and led to the Royal Box where they took their seats and were offered champagne.

"I haven't been to the theatre in such a long time, I almost forgot what it felt like," Millie whispered, peering over the ledge.

"What was the last production you saw?" Liam asked, watching her.  She was elegantly dressed in a black dress, the A-line skirt fitted like a glove and came just below her knee. The top half showcased her cleavage in an off the shoulder cowl fashion.  He was finding it hard to steer his eyes away from them.  Her chocolate brown hair was fashioned in curls and was partly swept up from her face.  God, she was a vision.  He looked at her hands and noticed the sparkler on her wedding finger and the platinum wedding band he planted there shortly after. 

"It was a musical at the Drury Lane Theatre... I saw bits of it as I was working that night,"  she replied.

"Working? So you've never really been to the theatre as a guest then?" Liam asked.

"No, not really... in between working and studying and other things, I never really had the time to enjoy nights out like that, so I guess, officially this would be my first," Millie said.

"Honey, you should have said?!"  Liam leaned forward and kissed her, "I would have loved to have taken you to a production."

Millie touched his knee and smiled, "Liam, I don't want you thinking that I would want this and that... I haven't married you for the money..."

"Sssh," Liam said, stopping her with a kiss, "I know. You married me for my sense of humour and my ability to make you cum."

Millie gasped and hit him lightly on the arm, "Liam, you're so dirty."

"You love me really, besides you're my wife now and I'm going to make you the happiest woman alive and if it's providing you multiple orgasms, then so be it," Liam smiled cheekily.

"What are you like,"  Millie smiled as she leaned in towards him. 

"Now now, there can't be any public affection here... Liam doesn't do that," the voice emerged behind them and it was Hartley who was striding into the Royal Box.

Millie laughed and hugged Hartley, "He does now." 

"Yes, only because of you Millie... he's a changed man," Hartley greeted Liam.

"How's Frieda?"  Liam asked

"She's nervous, which is normal.  I caught her trying to pull a fast one with a shot of tequila to calm her nerves... gosh that woman really keeps me on my feet, I'm telling you. At least I can say, my marriage is fresh because of it," Hartley admitted, "So, you kids looking forward to your honeymoon tomorrow? What time are you leaving?  You got time for a few drinks after this?"

"We're leaving in the afternoon," Liam said and looked at Millie, "What do you reckon, a few drinks after?"

Millie smiled, "Why not? It will be a while till we see you guys."

"True.  Thanks for coming, Frieda and I really appreciate it.  Considering it's her return to acting and her stage debut, she's counting on all the support she can get."  Hartley smiled.

"Where's Fred and Jack? I thought that they would be here?" Millie asked.

"Yeah, they went away for a couple of days, a mini break and so, y'know before the baby arrives,"  Hartley admitted.

"Is Sam and Elv coming?"  Millie asked.

"They wanted to but Elv's doing a gig in the US and Sam went along with the kids, they have family out there also, so they thought, why not y'know.  Kill two birds with one stone," Hartley said, "Thanks for coming though.

"Our pleasure," Liam said, as the lights in the theatre faded out.


Liam grabbed the DSLR from the table beside him and looked through the eye piece, he focused on his wife who was lying on her stomach on the sun lounger reading this morning's paper.  She was wearing an electric blue bikini and her hair was bunched up on top of her hair.  She was a sight.  He snapped away, understanding why the paps went wild everywhere they went, because she was beautiful.  She had become an overnight celebrity. She was reluctant to take the role because she wasn't that.  She was just Millie through and through. 

Liam thought back to his wedding day a few weeks back.  He remembered standing at the altar of a beautiful Chapel in the Cotswold's, he was dressed up in a tailored black Armani suit with his best man Hartley in the same attire.  Their children were their flower girl and ring bearer and Millie had chosen Sam as her maid of honor.  Sam was hilarious with a cracking sense of humour and there was never a dull moment when she was around.  He liked her more and more everytime he met her.  When it came down to Millie though, his heart had skipped a beat and then tripled in speed when she graced the aisle, walking towards him.  He couldn't express the feeling that was welling up inside him.  It had been a mixture of pride, happiness, glee and an abundance of love and joy that were threatening the tears welling up in his eyes.  It had been one of the happiest days of his life.  She was wearing an elegant understated dress, he couldn't quite remember the label but that didn't matter, the superficial things didn't matter anymore, not when it came to love and marriage and Millie.  Millie was what made everything right in the world, Millie was whom completed him. 

"Why have you got that faraway look about you again?" she said interrupting his thoughts, as she came sauntering over to him and sat on his lap.

"I was just thinking," Liam said.

"Thinking?  What about?  Something good I hope?"  Millie fiddled with his hair.

"Thinking about you of course, thinking about what I want to do to you," Liam teased.

Millie rolled her eyes and got up, "Let's do something..."

"Yes, let's!"  Liam said jumping on her and tickling her. She laughed out loud, trying to stop him from tickling her any further, "I was thinking of getting you naked."

"Stop thinking man and do it, just don't tickle me anymore,"  Millie laughed.

"I'm glad I can persuade you to my side of thinking," Liam laughed, as he kissed her and pulled at the strings of her bikini top.


15 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Twelve
The Proposal

"The canapes are yum,"  Sam chewed as she smiled warmly at Frieda. 

Both ladies were dressed for the festive season.  Frieda wore a glittery gold gown by Elie Saab, that made her look angelic, whilst Sam had opted for a bright red frilly top and a green frilly skirt.  They chatted about their respective families, about the wonder of teething problems and their hunky husbands.  Sam had become close to her neighbours in the last couple of months and every so often, would invite them round for dinner and invite the kids over for mini slumber parties as she had every Disney film to date.

Hartley was in a conversation with Elvin and Liam about football and random stuff.   Hartley smiled at his wife, who smiled back.  The year had been hard on their marriage but they were back on track, Frieda had mellowed out a lot and she was more at ease with Liam and everyone else and he finally felt like everything was falling into place.  The doorbell went and Liam strode to the door, opening it up, Jack and Frederica stood, clutching a bag of presents each.  They both chorused, a Happy Christmas and strolled in.  Everyone gravitated towards them with open arms.  Once Frederica got rid of her coat, the ladies congregated near the fire place.

"So good to see you Sam, how are the babies?" Frederica asked.

"The babies are sweet little things... they have their good and bad moments but they're my little angels.  I was very close to calling them Simba and Baloo but Elvin was having none of it," Sam chirped.

"Yes, I think that would be taking it to the extreme thought Sam," Frieda smiled, "I would love to have seen Elv's face though, in passing.  That would have been a right laugh."
"Typical of you Frieda to get a kick out of someone else.  How are you by the way? " Frederica tapped her twin sister, gaining her attention.

"Good, y'know me. Frederica,  have some champagne, something to eat you look a little pale," Freida called one of the waiter.

"I can't have any champagne," Frederica smiled shyly, "But I won't pass on eating."

Sam and Frieda both stared at her and chorused together, "You're pregnant!" And they engulfed her in a hug, screaming.

Hartley, Elvin, Jack and Liam approached them.  It was Jack who spoke first, "I gather you told them then?"  As he snuggled up to his wife, planting a kiss on her forehead.

"Told them what?"  Liam asked puzzled.

"I'm gonna be a dad, guys." Jack said sheepishly.

Hartley, Elvin and Liam smacked Jack proudly on the back, "Nice one mate," Elvin smiled.

"About bloody time," Hartley joked.

"Congratulations dude," Liam smiled, "When's she due?" 

"July, a nice Summer sprog."  Jack smiled.

As the night wore on and everyone settled on the couch, everyone started sharing stories.  Spoke about first impressions and things they wanted to do in the New Year. 

"I can't believe this year has flown by so quickly," Frederica commented, lying flat on the sofa.  Jack touched her small bump of a stomach.
"Blimey, you guys are gonna be parents in the new year... talk about big changes,"  Sam commented.
"I can't wait... I've already started planning the making of the cot, the fixtures, even the toys," Jack spoke with wonder and awe.
"I'd like to see it some time, when it's done,"  Hartley said.
"Yeah, you could definitely expand on that,"  Elv chipped in, "I know when my Mrs had the babes... she kitted the nursury out in pure Disney... it's like we have the whole Disney shop on the top floor." Elv said.
Sam flung a cushion at him, as she breast fed her baby, "There is nothing wrong with Disney."
"Alright babe, alright," Elv smiled cheekily.
"So Liam, when you planning to get hitched and have a couple of babies?" Frederica asked.
Liam shrugged, God, he hated these questions.  They always made him uncomfortable.  Luckily he was saved by the bell.  Thank fuck for that.
Hartley jumped up and raced towards the door, as he opened it, he started laughing.  Everyone turned round to see Millie dressed up in an elves costume.
"How come you're not dressed up?" Millie said confused. 
"Didn't you get the memo?" Hartley laughed even harder. 
Millie stepped into the hall and turned around to see that everyone was dressed glamorously.  She, unfortunately wasn't, but the kids seemed to like it as they ran up to her and were smiling like Christmas had come early. 
Frieda was the first to stand up and greet Millie, "Oh Millie, you look lovely,"
"Please spare me, I look atrocious," she said waving away the comment. 
"I must have missed you off the email,"  Frieda grinned, "Liam, why don't you come and help Millie with the food in the kitchen?"
Liam wanted an excuse to talk to Millie, but the pass that Frieda had given him, made him feel like an adolescent having his moment with a verified-beautiful woman.   On close inspection, she was wearing tight green stockings, over sized green shoes with the baubles on the top.  An over sized red jumper with even more baubles and a hat with a giant bauble on the end of it.  No wonder Hartley couldn't stop laughing, she did look rather amusing.
"Go ahead and laugh Liam Blake, I know you want to,"  Millie rolled her eyes as she smiled at him, "But before you do, can I just eat something, I'm famished."
"Yeah, just follow me," he said, leading her towards the kitchen.  There were plates of canapes and food nestled underneath silver plates covered in cling film, "Why were you so late anyway?"
"Yeah, about that, I just got back from New York.  My trip of two weeks was only meant to be two weeks but it extended, literally got back a few hours ago, and then, I realised an old red bridesmaid dress wasn't going to cut it for a Mary Christmas outside, so I had to call on a friend who knows a friend who has a costume place on Shaftesbury Avenue.  So, that's my long story short,"  Millie said, grabbing an empty plate and piling food on top, "So, are you doing these days?"
"I've been clean for six months now, it's been a struggle but I'm seeing the end of the tunnel now," Liam said, pouring a glass of champagne into a champagne glass for her.
"Thanks," she said, taking it from him and taking a sip, "So, being around alcohol doesn't bother you then?"
"Not really,"  Liam replied, "I've just learnt to live with it now."
Millie nodded as she delved into some food, "So, what else have you been up to then? Come on, I want the goss."
"I've just been hanging out with anyone who'll have me y'know.  I've learnt a lot through everyone... and no one's treated me like the drunk that I am," Liam said contemplative.
"Liam, you're not a drunk... it pains me to think you would feel that way," Millie said putting down her plate of food to stand in front of him.  She grabbed his arm and tugged at it, when she looked at him her eyes were filled with unshed tears. 
When Liam touched the softness of her cheek, the tears streamed down, "Why are you crying Mills?"
"I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me... it's been a while, you've been on my mind since the last time I saw you and I guess... I've just been worried," she said simply.
"Why are you worried about me, I'm a big boy, I can take care of myself," Liam smiled more to her, then himself.
"Because at one point, I thought I was going to lose you and the trip I was on kept extending and I didn't know whether I was coming or staying," Millie moved to the sink, "Just ignore me, I'm a jibbering mess."
Liam gave her, her space.  He should find it amusing to see a grown elf at the sink, but nothing was amusing right now, not when she was surely upset.  He hated to see her cry and all he wanted to do was collect her in his arms and hug her, "Mills, look at me." 
Millie turned slowly towards him, leaning a hip against the counter, "I'm okay now, you don't have to worry about me,"  He paused, collecting his thoughts, "Actually, I owe you a lot.  If you hadn't intervened then, God knows... I don't even want to think about it.  Do you want to go for a walk?"
"Not really, these shoes aren't really made for walking," Millie said inspecting the soles, "Actually, my feet feel like ice slabs right now." 
"Oh, do you want to go to my place?  I've really missed you and I somewhat feel like I'm being watched now, by everyone?" Liam whispered as he looked out to see everyone being suspiciously normal.
Millie followed his gaze and noticed a lot of their friends looking towards them, "Good Idea."

"This might be a bit big, but it's warm and dry,"  Liam said walking towards Millie who was sat like an elf in his living room.  He handed her long cashmere pyjamas and a fleecy top, "You can use my bathroom, if you wish."
Millie nodded and disappeared up the stairs.  The last time she was here, Liam hadn't been himself.  He had been drunk, out of his head and pissed.  He had renovated the place now, the furniture had changed.  It had almost felt like a different house when she stepped in, exorcised his demons by getting rid of all the furniture and replacing it with new vintage, cosy furniture.  There was even a McCalister rocking chair near the window.  As she stripped out of her elf costume and left it on the radiator to dry, she put on her clothes.  God, they smelt of him and something inside her went pop.  Don't get ahead of yourself Millie, she told herself.  She closed the door behind her and found Liam in the kitchen cooking up an omelet and making her a hot chocolate.
"You don't have to do that,"  Millie said, taking a seat on the couch.
"I want to, besides I kinda dragged you out there without a decent meal, it's the least I could do."  Liam said, expertly flipping the pan.
"How'd you learn to cook?" Millie asked, snuggling underneath a blanket.
"Ah, I took some lessons... I had a lot of free time, learnt a few things.  Maybe one day, I'll show you," he winked.
"I would like that," Millie replied. 

Millie 'mmmed' when Liam served up the food, she hadn't realised how hungry she was, and what an amazing chef Liam made.  She could really start getting used to this but she paused.  Lately she'd been thinking a lot about Liam and was estatic when she was invited to Hartley and Frieda's Christmas party.  Now, as she sat comfortably in the corner of his couch, she just didn't want to move, looking at the clock above the mantel piece, it was almost midnight.  Where had the time past?

"Thanks for the food Liam, that was amazing.  I could seriously get used to that," she smiled, setting the plate on the coffee table.

"Y'know me, I like to impress the ladies with my culinary skills... even if it is just the basics,"  Liam leaned into the couch a few feet away from her, watching her.  She looked comfortable in his house, in his jammies and suddenly, he just said it outright, "God, I've missed you so much Millie.  I really have."

"I've missed you too Liam," Millie replied, "So, what happens now?"

"Well, I was hoping you would spend Christmas with me?"  Liam said.

"Is that all that you want, Christmas?"  Millie challenged.

"No, it's not all that I want.  I don't think Christmas, forever, eternity would be enough Mills," Liam said, raking his hands through his hair, "God, none of this was how I pictured it would be."

"Then spit it out,"  Millie said, "I'm tired of waiting for that grand gesture... if you don't do it, I damn well will.  I've been fighting to keep my distance Liam, I have.  I have been fighting so you could recover and now that you have, all you ask of me is Christmas, I want more then that..."

Before she could utter any more words, he kissed her.  Kissed her passionately, their hands tangled in each other's hair.  He kissed her, like they had been apart for centuries.  He kissed her, like he had all the love to give but it still wasn't enough.  And before they both knew it, they made love on the couch in his living room.  It was heated, but it was gentle, tender and sensual.  And that's when he told her, "I love you Millie," he peered down at her, his elbows on either side of her, "I love you so much Millie, that I want you to be mine and only mine."

"Well, that's a bit possessive and a bit unromantic.  I was hoping you would go down on one knee and ask me to marry you instead?" Millie quipped. 

Liam laughed, "I was getting to that but thanks for stealing my thunder... but that's okay, you stole my heart away from me a long long time ago, so that figures.  What do you reckon?  You wanna be my wife?" 

14 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Eleven
Stresses of Life & Love

"Is he going to be alright?" Millie asked, huddled in amidst Dr Lang and Hartley outside Liam's bedroom.

"Yes and no. His wound has been taken care of and would need the stitches removed in a couple of weeks but I'm more worried about the toxicity of alcohol in his bloodstream.  It is important that we wean him off the alcohol as much as possible, otherwise his liver will cease to continue or it could fatally kill him." Dr Lang said.

"Kill him?"  Millie said out loud.

"I've never seen this degree of alcohol in one person's blood stream. It's almost as if he intended to drink this much.  I think it very much has a lot to do up here, then anything," Dr Lang pointed to his mind.

"What can we do?" Hartley asked, his hands on his hips.  A degree of concern written all over his face.

"There's rehab for a start," Dr Lang replied.

"Rehab? He's not going to want to do rehab," Hartley pointed out.

"Then if this continues, we could very well lose him." Dr Lang replied.

"STOP TALKING AS IF I'M NOT HERE!" came the shout from the bedroom. 

They all walked into his bedroom, where he sat up against the headboard, his right hand bandaged and a scowl on his face.

"You have to do rehab.  There is no way about it. "  Dr Lang said.

"Rehab?  Fuck! What do you think I am, an alcoholic?" Liam yelled.

"Denial is one of the..." Dr Lang began before he was interrupted by Liam.

"Don't fucking tell me this bullshit... I like to drink, is that a crime... to enjoy a beer once in a while? Fuck! You're not my mother, I don't have to answer to you..."  Liam yelled.

"Liam that is enough!" Hartley bellowed out, silencing Liam but not quite as long.

"Oh what you gonna do? Wrestle me, take my money away from me... what are you going to do?" Liam taunted.

"If you don't get the help you need Mr Blake, we could very well lose you in a few months time, or even a couple of weeks.  Your liver is on the verge of collapse and if you don't stop drinking, then you're finished,"  Dr Lang hit the nail on the coffin, watched as the information digested.

"Excuse me," Millie said quietly and disappeared from the room.

Hartley and Liam watched as Millie left the room and Hartley went to follow her, but Liam had managed to stagger past him in the direction she was headed to.  Liam found her in the kitchen, wiping the tears away with the back of her hand, her back towards him.  He leaned against the counter as he approached. 

"Are you alright?" he whispered.

Her shoulders sagged and she remained where she was, her back towards him, "Shouldn't you be concerned about yourself then me?" she replied.

"No, not really."  Liam replied.

"Why not?" she asked, still not facing him.

"What's the point, I don't have anyone to live for," he was surprised by his honesty.

She spun around then, her eyes glazed with tears, "Not even for yourself?"

"What's the point? I'm dying anyway." Liam said, realising he didn't care anymore.

Millie shook violently, grabbing the counter for support as she tried to will the tears away. 

"Why are you crying? Why are you even here?  What does it matter whether I'm dying or not?  As far as I'm concerned you're nothing but a stranger to me... you're dust... you're..." Liam paused, as he watched her face go white.

"You're an arsehole Liam Blake!" Millie kept her voice levelled, "Whatever compelled me to come here and cut off a perfectly great evening reception of a good friend's wedding is beyond me! Maybe deep down, I thought, I could help you... because Hartley begged and I could see the concern and outright devastation written all over his face. He spoke about you, like you are his brother.  He was desperate, he was clutching at straws and I couldn't let him down,"  she held up her hand to ward him off, "I'm not finished! Would your brother be happy to know that you're giving up life so easily now, because you're afraid, that you're wasting your life away... I bet he's looking down from heaven and thinking, gee, Liam... what a way to go!"

"You know nothing about my brother! And don't you dare bring him into it!" he all but screamed at her.

"Yes, I may know nothing about your brother but I know he wouldn't want you to be living the way you are now!" Millie screamed back at him.

"Why is it so important to you Millie, what I do anyway?" Liam asked, "I've asked you this question over and over and you never answer me.  Which makes me think... that maybe, maybe you still love me, that you still care.  Otherwise, why would you have cleaned my house, took care of me and then cried your eyes out knowing that I could die."

Millie held herself together.

"Why Millie... why the hell are you here?" Liam asked, "Give me a valid reason, why?"

Millie held her hands up, she couldn't take it anymore, "I have never stopped loving you Liam, is that a valid enough reason?" 

"Then why did you leave me in St. Lucia then? Why?"  Liam demanded.

It was the golden question, why did she leave him.  She laughed suddenly, completely out of character.  He looked at her, as if she belonged in a mental asylum.

"I wanted you to leave me because I was afraid... because I loved you so much that I thought that love would eventually kill me.  In my weird and twisted way, I thought that if I continued to have you in my life that somehow I would be punished for it.  The pregnancy, then the assault, losing Lucy, that's what I wanted to call our baby girl by the way, then seeing you again and then the shark attack.  It was a lot to take in, in such short a period of time.  Looking back on it, I realise how strange it is... how unexplainable my warped way of thinking was.  I thought all those things happened because of you, that if I continued to love you, you would continue to punish me... I just didn't think... I don't know... does that make any sense?"  Liam didn't reply, he was digesting what she'd just told him,  "I started seeing a counsellor and he told me that I was suffering from post traumatic stress, from everything that I encountered, and he assured me it had nothing to do with you, but that I just had a series of bad accidents that I couldn't prevent.  I've been getting treatment, it was slow at first because I couldn't accept it but I've been working on it and I realise now that it had nothing to do with you.  It was just life.. life happening." Millie said, exhaling, "I'm sorry that I've put you through everything, it wasn't my intention... I wasn't in the right frame of mind."

Liam closed his eyes, "I need to sit down."

Millie went straight for him and ushered him to a seat where he sat down and exhaled a long breathe, "So what are you going to do now?"

"Well, I've got to get my shit together, that's for sure," Liam replied, "Why couldn't you come and talk to me about it?"

"I don't know... I really don't... but I don't want to look back on it, it's like taking two steps back when I really should be taking the steps forward, y'know," Millie said, playing with her skirts.

"Can I ask you to do something for me please, Millie, but don't take it the wrong way," Liam asked.

"Of course," Millie replied.

"Would you leave me alone, just give me time to think things over but I promise you that when I've got my shit together, you'd be the first person I will get in touch with?" Liam asked.

"Of course," she nodded as she stood up looking at her watch, "I guess that's my cue to leave then."  She delved into her clutch bag and took out her business card and laid it flat on the table, "Take care of yourself Liam," she said softly, kissing him on the cheek and he watched as she walked towards his front door and opened the door, she stopped, turned around, smiled and closed the door behind her.


The Next Couple of Months

Each day was a struggle for Liam but he treated each day like it was a hurdle in an Olympic race.  The first few were hard, he could barely get out of bed because he was so damn tired.  Tired of everything.  He regularly consulted with Dr Lang, who advised him to take it easy and who referred him to a nutritionist and a counsellor.  God, he was a nut job, but he found strength from such an unlikely source, his best friend Hartley, who opened up his house to him.  Liam spent most of his time there, taking care of his kids, taking walks out in the park with his family.  He even saddled up with Jack McCalister and got to work with him.  His wife Frederica was lovely, smart, funny and passionate and he could see what a great match they made.  They didn't treat him like he was a lost cause, they treated him like any other person and he appreciated that, he was sane because of that. 

The days ran into weeks and the weeks turned into months, yet Liam hardly noticed.  The seasons had changed from Spring to Autumn and now they were heading towards Winter.  He was getting back to his usual self, gaining his appetite back and he no longer acknowledged the need for liqueur or beer or even a shot of tequila.  He watched as Frieda walked into the room with a pen and paper in her hand, she looked up when she saw him and smiled. 

"What you doing?" Liam asked.

"Just planning our Christmas party- just thinking who to invite and what food to have.  Have you got any suggestions?"  she asked, as she sat down in front of him.

"Eggnog, Turkey... umm those sausages with that bacon around it," Liam suggested.

"Pigs in blankets," Frieda replied.

"Those are hot dogs in the States, y'know," Liam laughed, "Hot dogs for Christmas dinner, that'd be great."

"Pigs in blankets, are not hot dogs Liam, they're cocktail sausages," Frieda said.

"But if they're called pigs, why is the blanket made of the pig anyway?" Liam asked, "Shouldn't it be called pork sausages wrapped in bacon blankets or something."

"We could be at this all day y'know," Frieda smiled, "Any other requests?"

"Nah, not really. Am I invited?" Liam smiled.

"Of course, it wouldn't be a Christmas without you,"  Frieda commented.

"I appreciate everything you've done to accommodate me Freida, I know we've not really seen eye to eye but I'm really thankful." Liam said, as he leaned forward and hugged her.  She hugged him back.

"Hey, hey, hey! Get off my woman!"  Hartley laughed as he walked through the room and saw the embrace between the two.

"I better make myself scarce, got a lot of planning to do," smiled Frieda as she left the room.

"Wondered what you wanted to do tonight?"  Hartley asked Liam.

"What did you have in mind?" Liam said.

"Dunno, meet up with the other boys... been a while since we last had a boy's night out.  What do you think?" Hartley suggested.

"Okay,"  Liam said.

"Come on, show some enthusiasm Liam... this is good for you... this will test your resilience."

"To alcohol, yeah.  Or it could set me off... I don't want to go down that road," Liam refused.

"You've come this far not to back down... come on, you can do it Liam.  You can... man, I have faith in you." Hartley said, smacking him on the back.

"Yeah, someone has to." Liam exhaled.

Later that Night...
When Hartley said they would be going out for a boy's night out, he wasn't kidding.  They pulled up outside a gentleman's club.  Or in other words, a fucking stripper's club.  They shot through the back door and into the club's VIP room, where they were treated to champagne on ice and an unlimited bar on tap.  Liam chose orange juice and was surprised by his reluctance to even go down the alcohol route.  He took a seat on their plush black leather couch as beautiful woman clad in next to nothing wandered past them, their sauntering hips and their plush backsides causing quite a stir in the nether regions. 

"Goddamn, I wish I was that fucking pole she's sliding on," the remark came from Nate, Jack's brother who had come along last minute.  When he'd heard they were going to one of the best Stripper joints, he couldn't pass up the offer.

"Yeah, what you really mean is you wish you had a pole up your arse," Jack his brother snickered.

Nate shoved him and they looked about them, "I could get used to this... this is probably what a King must have felt like?"

"You're in every man's fantasy and you're thinking about being a king..." Hartley laughed.

"Nothing wrong with that!  I'm gonna have a lap dance," Nate said, disappearing down the corridor.

Liam gave it about an hour before he gave up, yeah, it was every man's fantasy, but he was bored.  He wasn't in the mood, so he said his goodbyes and took a stroll out.  It was far colder then he remembered, but maybe that was due to being cooped up in a 4x4 on the way there.  He pulled together his jacket and strolled down the road, it was quite a quiet evening for November. He'd expected the streets to be emblazoned with people doing their Christmas shopping.  His feet found their way to Chelsea Bridge, he stood there gazing out into the cold black distance.  His hands dug into his jacket and his hand wrapped around something thin and hard, he took it out and stared at it.  How did it get there? Before he put too much thought into it, he hailed a cab and gave the driver the address.

Liam stood on Millie's door step, hesitant in ringing the door bell.  He'd been standing on the front stoop for ten minutes pondering whether he was strong enough to do this but he was here now.  As he reached down to press the door bell, the door swung open and she almost tackled him to the floor.  She dropped the suitcase and yelped.

"God, you gave me a heart attack..." she said mostly to herself, only then when she looked up, did she realise who was standing in front of her, "Liam?!"

"Hi Mills," he half grinned.

"My God, what are you doing here? I mean, sorry... umm, I'm in a bit of a pickle at the moment... I'm heading to Heathrow."

"Where you going?"  Liam asked, as he helped her heave her suitcase down the stairs, there was a black Mercedes parked outside her house and the door opened.

"I'm going to New York for work.  I hate to rush you but was there something you wanted?  Did you want to come with me, in the car? On the way? I can get Ted to drop you afterwards?" Millie said as she gave her luggage to her chauffeur.

"No, it can wait,"  Liam smiled, as he stood on the curb watching her.  God, she was beautiful.  He couldn't take his eyes off her.  When she took her cream coat off, she was wearing a red cashmere jumper and jeans that hugged her like a second skin. Her hair, he noticed had subtle highlights in them, which only accentuated her beauty.

Millie dumped her coat in the back seat and turned around to Liam, "If you're sure?" she said.  He nodded and what surprised him more was the hug she gave him.  There were friendly hugs and there were hug, hugs.  This hug, was definitely an 'I've Missed You' hug.  They hugged for what seemed like forever and then she was reluctant to leave him, "You look good... actually, you look more then good.  You look great.  I'll see you when I get back, okay?"  With that, she smiled at him and got into the car. 

And Liam's heavy heart was restored.

11 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Ten

Ouch! What the fuck?!  Liam clutched his head as it throbbed, this wasn't a hangover, this was life.  He couldn't recall what day it was but he didn't care, each day that came, ran into the other and as far as he was concerned he didn't give two shits.  He leaned forward to grab the near empty bottle of Jack Daniels and took a swig, the putrid amber liquid shearing it's way down his throat.  He thought he heard the door bell go but it was probably his imagination.  He imagined a lot of things lately, like talking to unicorns and imagining that his house was made of candy.  His stomach grumbled.  He was hungry, he was more then hungry, he was bloody famished.  No wonder, he was thinking about his house being made of candy, he had began chipping at the door handles and the chair legs, thinking they were wrapped in silvery foil to reveal chocolate but he had been dreaming.  Fuck! His head hurt.  He heard the door bell go off again, who the fuck was it?  Didn't they understand, whoever the fuck they were, that he didn't want to talk.  He didn't want any company.  Couldn't they take his no reply as a fuck-off-leave-me-the-hell-alone hint? The door bell went off again.  He damn well was going to rip that door bell off the door before the hour was through.  He winced, now he had a headache, or a hungover or both.  Fuck!  Managing to stagger to the door, he opened it up, letting the light from the street lamp flood his front door step.  He spoke before he saw her and wished he'd never come to the door in the first place.

She just stood there looking at him, her eyes searching his face.  He suddenly felt self conscious, he'd been wearing his sweat pants for however long, he couldn't remember and he could smell body odour, probably his because she damn well didn't look like she would be emitting any such thing.  God, he must be dreaming this.  If he was dreaming that his house was made of candy, then by God she was probably a Ginger Bread Man or something.  Except, she wasn't.  She was dressed up to the nines, clutching a gold shiny bag and her dress looked like she'd waded through the pot pourri department of Marks and Spencer.  She was a vision.  God almighty, she smelt good too.

"Surprise." she said, trying to crack a joke but her eyes were full of concern.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" his mouth screamed out. 

She jumped away, taken by his abrupt response. 

"You said you wanted me to leave you alone, so I did.  So why can't you people leave me the fuck alone?"  he swore again, his anger rising.

"Stop swearing at me," she said.

"Oh, I'm sorry I must have mislaid my manners... no no, I left them back in St. Lucia," he ground out, "So why don't you fuck off where you came from!"  He didn't see the slap coming until it hit him smack bang on the jaw, the force knocking him sideways.  Grabbing the door frame for support, his head vibrating from side to side like a pendulum.

Millie grabbed him suddenly, afraid he was going to hit the floor.  Throwing his arm around her shoulder, she kicked his front door open and steered him inside.  He leaned into her for support, exhaustion finally hitting him.  Millie noticed immediately the state of his house, it was a tip, a complete mess.  She could handle organised chaos but this was a bomb site.   Finding his bedroom wasn't easy, it was up two flights of stairs.  The bed was untouched, immaculate, God where was he sleeping?  She pushed him back on the bed, he had passed out.   There would be no talking tonight but the sight of him and the state of his house spoke more volumes now then their confrontation a few minutes ago, she was concerned.   The look on his face when he'd seen her, had said it all.  Her heart hurt, more for him then anything else. She walked towards the en suite bathroom and found what she had been looking for, stowed away in the linen closet.  Filling up a small tub of warm water and a handful of towels, she returned by his side.  She began cleaning him.  She raided the closet for clean clothes, it wasn't as if she hadn't seen him in the buff before.  She was surprised to learn that her hands were shaking, that her heart was beating wildly in her chest, as she removed his sweat pants to see his manhood hanging free.  She put a fresh pair of cotton pyjama bottoms and buttoned the matching top.  She was in two minds about trimming his beard, she had to admit, it did give him character but he'd done such a bad job of maintaining his appearance, she had no choice.  She found his electric shaver in the bathroom cabinet and went to work.  He was still conked out by the time she finished with him and decided, she would have to do something about the state of his house.

She got to work on the kitchen foremost, there were a few dirty dishes, which she soaked in the sink for an hour then loaded up the dish washer.  She disposed of the cartons of Chinese food, pizza delivery boxes and other countless take away boxes and began scrubbing the surfaces of the kitchen counter tops, the kitchen stove, the oven and even cleared out the fridge.  The fridge was filthy, full of left overs and mouldy food.  It had taken her three hours to clean the kitchen alone.  She wasn't tired, she was used to hard work and this was a walk in the park.  Looking at her watch, she noticed it was close to ten o'clock, if she made it in time, she could go to the Tesco Express around the corner, the one she noticed when she passed in the chauffeur driven car, grabbing her clutch bag, she legged it outside.

Returning from Tesco Express, she unloaded her bags and began filling the cupboards with express coffee, breads, biscuits and filled the fridge with actual cooking ingredients.  She would make dinner later, if she had any energy left.  She went to work on the bathroom, removing the limescale and noticing that her once beautiful Gucci chiffon dress was turning the colour of a grey, what was even worse was she's gotten bleach on it, never mind, it was just a dress I guess.  She scrubbed the inside of the bath until she could see her reflection in it.  Millie put bleach down the toilet and got the mop and cleaned the floors.  The bathroom smelt wonderful.  Washing her hands, she headed to the living room, retrieved the Dyson and hoovered under every cover, under all the furniture.  She chucked the pillow cases and the throws into the washing machine and with a cloth started cleaning the sofa.  She was panting with exhaustion as she finished up, becoming light headed from the fumes from the polish.  Looking around her, the house looked clean, livable and she was satisfied. 

Looking at her watch, she realised in her efforts to get things cleaned and disinfected, it was a stellar four in the morning, had she been cleaning that long? She gravitated towards the sofa in the living area and sat down, her head hitting the head rest, she would allow herself ten minutes to close her eyes and then she would start on dinner.  Her eyes closed and her head sunk down further into the cushion.

Liam stretched, his hands touching the head board as his eyes flew open.  He looked at the ceiling and then noticed he was wearing his green tartan pyjamas, the pyjamas given to him by Frieda, Hartley's wife.  God, he hadn't seen Hartley in a long time and something yearned inside of him.  God, he missed his best mate.  Now that Liam had made London his base, he ought to be hanging out with his mate more often, but he was here in tartan pyjamas.  Tartan pyjamas he absolutely hated.   His mind back tracked, how the hell had he gotten here and then the image of her appeared in his mind and he sat up bolt straight and cursed.  He got to his feet steadily and onto the landing where he noticed immediately, that his house was spotless.  Sparkling like crystal.  Noticed the kitchen pristine, every area of the counter was gleaming.  He walked in and opened the fridge door and noticed it well stocked, even the cupboards were full of snacks; snack that he loved.  He headed straight for the living room and that's when he saw her.  She was curled up in a ball, the skirts of her dress a heap on the floor.  She looked enchanting, beautiful, like Tinkerbell.  What the fuck? Tinkerbell.  He never thought of things like that.  
He noticed her hair was much longer; waves of chestnut brown surrounding an angelic face.  Her cheeks were flushed and she had an age of innocence about her.  Millie.  Millie, what the hell were you doing here?  As he raked his hands through his hair, in that moment, he noticed his beard had miraculously disappeared too.  And he got angry.  She had no right coming here and messing with his house, messing with him again.  Why is she dressed up like she is?  Why now?  The questions wouldn't stop. There was just no way of dispelling her from his mind.  Boy, he had tried but no matter how much he drank, no matter how hard he partied, she always remained there.  And now... now she was fast asleep on his couch, a world away.  But God, he missed her, he missed her so much.  His eyes were locked on a face he just couldn't erase. 

Standing he moved away from her, afraid, angry and confused.  He could do with a brandy but even that couldn't quench his thirst.  His thirst for her?  No, it couldn't be possible, could it?  He raked his hands through his hair again.  Heading to the kitchen for solace, far away from her.  He leaned against the counter, sipping a glass of water, forcing his heart to slow down, but the more he looked at her the more he became imprisoned in her presence.  It had been almost three years and she still had that hold on him.  It was overwhelming and frustrating,  he slammed the glass onto the granite surface of the kitchen island and felt a shearing pain course through his arm... the blood seeped out and suddenly, he felt very very sick.

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.


07 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Eight

The look in Millie's eyes said it all, she was scared.  His heart sank knowing that she had been put through hell and high water and he, he had just stood back like a helpless spectator.  He questioned God.  Wondered why he would punish her?  Why could he not punish him?  He deserved it.  Why punish such a beautiful, kind and spirited woman, his woman.  Why could God not punish him? 
He held Millie in his arms, she was seeking his warmth, as she burrowed in deeper and he held on tight, not willing to let go.  He still could not erase the images of the bite from her calf and the horror upon her face.  He would do anything to appease her of her suffering, the trauma she had faced in the last couple of weeks whilst vacationing with him, the trauma he caused when he didn't listen, when he was too goddamn big headed to acknowledge, she had been pregnant with his child.  He was infuriated with himself and he had no one to blame but himself.  So, be it.  He made a promise to himself that he would make amends.  He would set down their foundations together, they would start a new.  A fresh start.  He would no longer tie her down and if there was a day when she wanted to go, he would let her.  He didn't want to keep her against her will, not anymore.  He was tired of those tactics, those games.  If she went, he would deal with it.  He would. 

He heard her crying into his t-shirt and he could do nothing but console her, "Let it out Mills, let it out sweetheart, let it out."

She bunched up his t-shirt as the tears fell, like sullen rivers down her cheeks but he held on to her.  He knew there was a long way to go before she could smile again and he was determined that he would be that person, that man who would. 

Millie was motionless.  Liam knew she had fallen asleep and so, very gently he carried her towards her bedroom.  Laid her gently onto the four poster bed and covered her with a silken throw, as he turned to leave, she grabbed hold of his arm and very gently spoke, "Please stay with me, I don't want to be alone."

He simply nodded, took off his shoes and lay beside her.  She voluntarily went into his arms and fell asleep instantly.  Liam stayed awake, listened to her breathing.  Contemplating.  Ccontemplating a life without her and wondering how she could have evaded him.  She had always been in the back of his thoughts, the time that they had been separated wasn't a life at all.  He never forgot about her, never.  He loved her.  The realisation stunned him.  He loved her.  Usually he would be scared of the notion, but deep inside a glow spread around his heart, in his chest and he was left feeling wholesome, content.  Eventually, he fell asleep with her in his arms.

Millie looked around her and all there was, was the tranquil blue waters of the Caribbean and as she was floating in the shallow waters, she could see the little fish scuttling in shoals around her, a technicolour flash speeding around, creating a frisson of colour like a rainbow in the waters.  She looked around and saw bottle nose dolphins flying out of the waters away from her, their joyous chorus as they played around, the spray of the water drenching her hair.  She could only laugh and want to join in... a sharp black fin pointing skywards was zooming straight for her and she fought back a scream as she knew all too well, what it was... a shark.  As it approached her, it opened it's jaws, ready to snap, not before she saw Liam's body bundled inside, did she scream from the top of her lungs and lunged forwards...

The scream jolted Liam out of sleep and he immediately woke up to Millie thrashing in his arms, she was sweating.  God, she was sweating and he gently woke her up from her nightmare, "Millie, sweetheart, you're in safe hands, wake up."  She continued to thrash and her fist pummelled into his jaw without hesitation.  She woke up immediately, her eyes riveting back to reality and she looked wide eyed at Liam.  He was nursing his jaw, she had quite a punch on her. 

"Oh my God, did I hurt you?" she asked visibly shaken, as she touched his jaw.

"I'll live," Liam said, stroking the side of his face, "It was a bad dream Mills."

"It was awful Liam, awful.  I can't... the shark... it... it had you... I was trying to..." and Millie dissolved in a sea of tears, "I don't know... what to.. do."

Liam leaned forward and she was in his arms again, he was stroking her hair and calming her down with soothing words.  It was her that drew away from him and stared at him, stared at him with longing eyes and so help him, he could only do what was inside him.  He touched his lips to hers and she clung on, what was meant to be a soft kiss, spewed into a passionate embrace.  The heat between them was molten, hot and magnetic.  Millie held on for dear life, as Liam deepened the kiss, he was drugged, fueled on this crazy insane longing he'd kept buried for her.  Now, it was taking free reign over him and he rode the wave of intense pleasure. 

"Mills," Liam said drawing away, out of breathe, head swimming with thoughts only of Millie, "Do you want this? Tell me if you don't and I'll stop."

"No, I want this... I've never wanted anything more," Millie said, her eyes shone with determination.

That was all Liam needed to hear, as he gently peeled away her clothing, kissing her already swollen lips, trailing kisses from her neck, down her collar bone to the valley of her breasts.  His eyes feasted on her breasts, so round, so ripe, all for him.  Taking one of her breasts in his hand, he caressed her, touched her in the way she wanted to be touched and the only way he knew how.  His mouth hungry, took her nipple and he sucked gently.  He heard her moans, as he made his way down further to her inner core, lathering kisses down to her apex, "Open up your legs for me sweetheart."
Her legs parted and he began kissing her, separated the folds with his fingers as he seeked to soothe her clitoris with his tongue, he had missed the womanly taste of her and it was nothing like how he had replayed over and over in his head.  He licked his finger and gently probed the opening, her moans escalating as he watched his Millie coming to.  His mouth found the soft yet hard nub of her clitoris as she arched skywards, her orgasm reaching the hilt.  God, she was beautiful.  He increased the speed of his finger, pounding her and he willed himself not to come at the sight of her.  God, she was beautiful.  Her core muscles convulsed around him and he heard her come.  She was putty in his hands. He kissed his way back up to her, feeling the shudders emanating from her and almost missed her whispered thank you.

"You don't have to thank me Mills," Liam said, kissing her lips and the hollow of her neck.

She grabbed his t-shirt, drawing it to her and whispered, "I want you Liam... I want you inside me... please."

It was all she needed to say, he took off his t-shirt in one fluid motion and discarded his jeans and watched with wide eye amusement as Millie's eyes rounded on his manhood.  I hope she could take him, when he'd taken her with his mouth and finger, she was tight.  She surprised him, by taking him into her mouth and he almost came there and then, her mouth hot lava working it's fluid motion up and down his length.  He willed himself not to come, not to even go there, not until he was ready and inside her, "I've got to get a condom Mills."

"I'm on the pill," she shot out.

"If you're sure Mills," it was barely a whisper.

"I'm sure," she nodded and that was all Liam needed.  He kissed her, giving her time to change her mind and to give him time to get his bearings in the right order, "Liam, I want you now..."

Liam eased himself on his hands and slowly entered her. He gave her time to accommodate his size and he slowly paced himself and before he knew it, he was pounding into her soft sweet centre.  He told himself to be gentle, her calf was still recovering and he didn't want to injure or hurt her, she arched her back towards him and clutched him to her.  He kissed her lovingly and she shook out her orgasm, he thrust into her harder before she gasped out.  He could finally let go, as he moved inside her, he too could feel his oncoming orgasm and finally, he let go.  He collapsed on the bed beside her, trying to catch his breathe.  He could see her looking at him, he was spent.  He drew her to him and they both drifted to sleep.


It was Liam who woke up first, it was the middle of the night, awoken by the howling of the winds.  Millie was cuddled in the crook of his arm, her hand nestled on his flat stomach.  They had made love once after that, much slower that time.  He wanted her to know that he could do slow and sensual and when she became undone in his hands, he almost lost the it.  He looked at the clock, it was four in the morning and he was hungry.  He looked around for his jeans when Millie woke up with a sudden yawn.

"Good morning sleepy head," he smiled at her.

"Morning, how long was I out?"  she said, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. 

"A couple of hours, maybe more,"  Liam said, moving the hair from her face.

"I'm starving, have we got any food?" Millie asked.

Liam clutched his hand over his heart in a satire sort of way, "A woman after my own heart, I was thinking the exact same thing, stay here and I'll get us something."  He left the bed, picking up his jeans and putting them on and headed for the kitchen, he paused at the doorway and went back to the bed, kissed Millie bang on the lips and strode off. 

Ten minutes later, he strode back into her bedroom carrying a breakfast tray full of goodies and laid it on her bed, there, they devoured the contents of salt fish and plantain, fresh fruit salad, fresh coconut juice and a few of Patty's specialities.  Liam watched Millie as she sunk her teeth into fresh mango.

"Why do you keep looking at me like that?" she asked, tilting her head sideways.

"Because you have a bit of rice at the corner of your mouth?" Liam quipped, as Millie touched her mouth and noticed there wasn't anything there.

"You're mean," Millie said, rolling her eyes.

"Am not," Liam laughed sheepishly, "How are you feeling today?"

"I'm feeling good, better. You?" Millie asked.

Liam smiled, "I'm good, I'm better."

"So... what do you plan to do in the next couple of days or when are you planning to go back?" Millie asked.

"I'm not sure, whatever you want to do Mills.  I've told my agent I'm taking indefinite leave... so I'm not sure when I'll be going back to work," Liam said, picking up a grape and popping it into his mouth.

"But you love your job," Millie said in surprise.

"It's just a job at the end of the day Millie, it'll still be there when or if I return... it's not going anywhere,"  Liam replied.

"But, what are you going to do in the meantime?" she was absolutely clueless.

"I was thinking- only of course- if it was okay with you... if we could just hang out.  The last couple of weeks have put my life into perspective.  I don't want to be doing the same old thing over and over again, I just..."

"What are you trying to say Liam?" Millie asked, interrupting him.

"I don't want to go back to the rat race, I want to just be with you," he said.

"With me? Are you feeling pity for me?" Millie said disgusted, "Because I don't want your pity Liam Blake, I don't."

Liam exhaled, he had to be patient.  She obviously had gotten the wrong end of the stick, "That's not what I'm saying at all Mills-"

"Then what are you saying?  That because I gave my body to you, you want more? And the only way you can have more is if I stay with you in paradise?"  Millie was angry and he knew it.

"I refuse to argue with you Mills," Liam said.

"Why not? Why won't you argue with me?" Millie demanded.

"Because..." he just didn't want to admit it, he couldn't let it out like this, not in the middle of an argument.  A one sided argument.

"I'm right aren't I?  You just want my body, that's all you've ever wanted..."  Millie yelled.

"Yes, I want your body Mills... but I also want you. I want to laugh with you, I want to cry with you, I want to take your suffering away from you. God, I wish I could.  I hate seeing you this way but I want everything Millie. I want you in every way possible," Liam said, his hands raking through his hair, "I'm such an idiot... I've been in love you all this time and I've only just realised." Liam laughed because he knew he was coming across as a mad man.

Millie was speechless, she was looking at him with new eyes.

"I know I'm coming across as a complete lunatic," he said, looking intently at her, "But there's no denying it anymore, I'm undeniably, a hundred percent in love with you and there's just no going back for me on this.  And I know, I haven't been the greatest guy to you.  I have been the least deserving of you.  I should have treated you better but I can't change the past... I can only change the future.  Millie please, say something."

He was met with silence.

"I need some time Liam, please leave me alone," Millie said, turning away from him.

What could he do but do as she wished, he walked away with a heavy heart as he closed the door behind him and probably on the woman he loved, more then life itself.

06 November 2011

The Reluctant Millie Bright

Chapter Seven

Millie lost track of the days she spent in St Lucia.  She had become lost in her thoughts a lot of the time too.  Spending most of her days at the beach, staring out into the vast ocean, mesmerised that it could still take her breathe away after so many trips down here from Liam's house.  Millie could feel the sand between her toes and the smell of salt lingering in the air and then suddenly, she could hear screaming up ahead, in front of her..  Her head snapped towards the ocean and fifty metres away, there was someone thrashing around in the water. Without thinking, she ran towards the water and dove in. 

Liam had grown used to Millie's pattern of sorts in St Lucia.  It had been three weeks since they touched down and though the island provided sanctuary and a place for them to be themselves in an unobtrusive manner, the surroundings seemed to have separated them, even further.  Instead of drawing them closer, they seemed even more apart. He tried inviting her on road trips around the coast, introduce her to his few close friends on the island and even tried opening up to her, but she had refused his invites.  Millie just wanted to walk on the beach and be by herself and so he watched and he reluctantly let her.  Something was eating at him and he didn't know what it was, or how to fix it.  He'd waited patiently for her but he was fed up with being patient. All this time, he wanted to kiss her, make her see his side of the story, anything. He was frustrated.   He got up from the bench he had been sitting on and walked through the halls and that was when he heard the screaming. He knew immediately that it was coming from the  beach and as he opened the doors and rushed onto the second floor balcony, he saw Millie running towards the sound, but what Millie didn't see was the shark fins in the water. Liam didn't even think about it, he bolted to the beach. 

Millie dove into the water, she hadn't swam in a long time and she couldn't think of the last time she did, but like riding a bicycle, you never forget.  She swam as fast as she could towards the screaming.  Her denim shorts weighing her down as she swam, she was reaching them only to realise that the water around her wasn't as crystalline blue as she had imagined.  It was murky red, crimson and the alarm bells started ringing.  She stopped in mid-stroke and looked around her and she saw a woman being thrashed about in the water, like a rag doll. The shock was written all over her face, she was the colour of the puffy white clouds above and as her eyes touched upon Millie's, it was as if she had seen through her. She was obviously bleeding out. From the corner of her eye, she saw a black fin pop out of the water and disappear.  Please God.  Please.  Millie pleaded.  She couldn't look into the water because it had turned a deep dark red.  She looked towards the woman, her eyes unmoving as she bobbed up and down like a champagne cork. What should she do? Dear Lord, please have mercy. Please... a thousand millions daggers shot up her leg and she was dragged under.  She could think of nothing but death, pain and that she would never see Liam again.  

Liam was on the open water with three lifeguards and a doctor on board the boat.  They were racing towards the dark red patch of water in the midst of what was beauty in paradise. Not anymore.  He saw Millie, the fright written all over her face.  Her red blouse soaked in blood and he was almost there, almost... but almost wasn't close enough, Liam's worst fears were confirmed; Millie disappeared from the surface. Liam's heart jumped to his throat as he screamed out her name and wanted to jump in, but was held back by the life guards. He was frantic, more then frantic he was crazy and he had no control over it. None whatsoever.  He searched the cloudy waters for any signs of her, nothing. He prayed to a God, he hadn't prayed to in a long time and suddenly, one of the lifeguards spotted her on the other side of the boat, she was sputtering water and without thinking, he dove in, helped her up into the waiting arms of the lifeguards and immediately saw the gross bloody mark on her leg.  


The white sterile room, was plain but it was the level of medical care Liam was paying for that was important. He had been sitting vigil at Millie's bedside for a couple of hours now.  The doctors had sedated her and the image of her being pulled out of the ocean kept replaying in his mind and he couldn't get the image of her calf out of his mind either.  Luckily the shark hadn't penetrated too hard or bitten off her leg but it had left bite marks.  Luckily they had gotten her out of the water, into a chopper and flown her to the nearest hospital.  She was stable and was now in intensive care.  She had lost some blood but as the doctor had put it, had a lucky escape.  As for the woman, her severed head had been floating a few metres away from the boat and it took a lot of courage not to think about what could have happened to Millie.

The sunlight escaped the blinds, it was a beautiful morning.  Millie woke up from a haze and a bad dream where she had come face to face with one of nature's dangerous predators, the great white shark.  When she opened her eyes and her eyes focused on her leg, she let out a yelp, awakening her visitor who was slumped against a chair beside her.  It was Liam and this had to be a dream, what the hell was going on? She tried getting up but her energy reserves were zapped and she felt like either she had been drinking heavily the night before, or she hadn't eaten in a very long time.  Liam was awake now, gently settling her back into the bed.  

"Mills, calm down.  You're okay," he said groggily. 

"What happened?" Millie asked, there was silence and she asked again, "What happened?!" she almost yelled. 

"You were bitten by a shark, a great white they say... but something must have happened... or..." Liam tried to finish his sentences, but he was finding it hard.  The emotion caught in his throat. 

"Did it take my leg? Can I walk?"  Millie asked, searching his face for answers. 

"You were lucky Mills, so lucky... it was a bite mark, you have tissue damage that could take a couple of months to recover but there's no nerve damage, no nothing.  You had a lucky escape," Liam said, taking her hands in his and feeling that they were cold. 

"Is the woman okay?" Millie asked, not caring for herself. 

It took a while for Liam to register what she was asking and he took a deep breathe and shook his head.  Millie nodded in acknowledgement.  And then there was silence. 


Two weeks later, Millie was discharged from hospital and was flown by chopper back to Liam's house on St. Lucia. Of course, he had fussed over her and made all the arrangements for her comfort.  He had carried her into the house where they met Patty his house keeper at the door, she opened her arms wide and took her into a bear hug. 

"How are you doing my darlin'?" she asked in her St. Lucian accent, "My my, it's glad to have you back, I've missed having you keep me company. Liam, you better sit her down here and I'll cook her up a storm and fatten her up." 

Liam did as he was told and sat her down on the couch and slid a foot stool to support her leg, whilst it recuperated and he disappeared out the door.

"I'm fine thanks Patty, how are you doing?" Millie asked. 

"Darlin' I'm good good, don't worry about me.  I'm made of stern stuff... but my darlin', poor Liam he's been wracking his mind about you.  He's thinking that this trip was a bad idea, that everything was a bad idea.  He can't seem to get past that every decision he's made, has resulted in you going into harm's way. Poor boy, thinking that.  Of course, the Lord only puts us through things he know we can survive.  And God works in mysterious ways, however hard them ways be, or how we take 'em.  You just hang in there," Patty said, pointing a wooden spoon towards the doorway, "I think that man there, has realised something... and that something is that you are important to him... and he's gonna be trying his damn hardest to please you.  You hear what I'm saying darlin'?"

Millie digested that said information as Liam walked back into the room with her hospital bag, "What are you two ladies talking about?"

"Never you mind Liam, this is girl's talk.  Why don't you make yourself useful and go down to the market and get me some salt fish and plantain. Leave us girls to catch up." Patty said, leading Liam out of the door.  When she heard Liam leave by the front door, she sat down beside Millie, "You look like you need to get some stuff off your chest my darlin'- why don't you pretend I'm one of your girlfriends, eh?" 

And so, with complete ease Millie began talking, getting everything out in the morning.  Leaning towards someone who wasn't in the picture, who could clearly see out of the box. After everything was spoken, Patty didn't say anything.  She just looking at Millie. 

"You've been through a lot, but so have a lot of people, but that's not to say that your problems aren't any less important.  Some people make mistakes, more then others and no one is perfect, no matter how popular they are, how many films they've made or the degree of money they got.  Trust me.  Regardless of that, we all are the same.  Life happens, you got to roll with the punches but I know that Liam loves you, though he don't know it yet.  Y'know you are the first woman he brought here to this place, says a lot about the man.  At first, I thought it strange that he hasn't brought a woman home, I was starting to think the man was gay but when you walked through the door, I thought what a stunning little thing you are."

"What do you think I should do?" Millie asked bravely.  Because she didn't know what to do. Everything that had happened in such a short amount of time, had happened with Liam in it. Was it a sign that they were meant to be together? 

"I say, you should talk to him.  The poor guy has been worried sick about you, I only have to look at him to know that," Patty said, clutching Millie's hand, "If you don't talk to him, all of this... of what you've been though, would have been for nothing."

"Why do you know so much?" Millie asked. 

"It's not about knowing darlin', it's about doing things right and going with your heart," Patty said. 

"How do I know what's in my heart and what's in my head?" Millie asked. 

"You will know... Liam is a good man, take my word for it darlin'. You just have to wait and see,"  Patty said, resuming with chopping the vegetables.

The front door opened and Liam walked in with the ingredients Patty needed, setting it on the table and sitting next to Millie, "How are you doing?" He asked. 

"I'm okay," Millie said shyly, observing him, "How are you?"

"I'm okay, if you're okay. I did want to ask you about your plans... what you wanted to do, whether you wanted to stay here or to go back home, provided that you had the care..." Liam began.  He couldn't express himself as well.  He was nervous, but he didn't want to let on that he was.  He was hoping she wanted to stay regardless of what had happened in the last two weeks, "Whatever you want." 

"I guess, staying it would be fine.  Just don't let me anywhere near the water..." Millie said, taking a gulp. 

"I won't let you anywhere near it, unless you tell me otherwise," Liam said comfortingly, "Is there anything you need? Anything I can get you?"

"Actually, there is one thing," Millie asked. 

"And what's that?" Liam looked at her.

"Could you give me a hug and tell me that everything will be okay?" Millie asked.  

She didn't need to ask, he just did... he was so worried about her, that was what he had been wanting to do but was afraid that his actions would be seen as aggressive.  And as he hugged her in his arms, and she held on tight, he wanted to tell a great deal of things but there would be a time and place for that.  He would put off his next project, even his career, for her and her recovery. Because at the end of the day, she was all that mattered to him.