Liam knocked on the door and strode in. Millie was sitting on the bed cross legged reading the paper. It was mid-afternoon and she was wearing black pants and a t-shirt that made her look like a genie from Aladdin's lamp. They had been holed up in the suite for a day and a half now. Millie mostly occupying the bedroom and Liam in the lounge. They would convene for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the lounge area but spoke very little to each other. It started to grate on Liam's nerves, he would pretend to read various manuscripts sent to him but he was secretly watching her, observing her. She on the other hand, ignored him. Even when she spoke on her cell phone, did she perk up a bit but when he tried to make conversation, she would knock him down. That was going to change tonight. Tonight they were going to a charity fundraiser together and the two boxes in his hands would be what she would wear. He put the boxes down on the bed and saw her eyes settle on them.
"What's that?" she asked, looking straight at him.
"Open up and see," he taunted.
"Trying to buy me off I see. Thought you would be a bit more smoother then that," she remarked, "I don't want it."
"That's fine, you can go as you are," he said leaving for the door.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
He turned around and folded his arms, "I'm glad I managed to muster some enthusiasm from you."
"Stop trying to suss me out Liam, I don't like it," she said annoyed.
"What else am I to do? If you won't even talk to me? I have to resort in trying to figure you out. What happened to the Millie I knew back in New York, huh?" Liam wondered.
Millie was quiet, she knew the answer to that but she wasn't going to ever admit it to him.
"Just be ready for seven o'clock please," Liam said and he strode out.
Through the course of the day, Millie tried to ignore the boxes but she was curious. Curious to see what were in them, curious to know what the big deal about this fundraiser was and curious about Liam. She was bored being couped up in this suite with him and tired of fighting him, but it had to be done, to ensure she wouldn't go down that road again. At five thirty, her curiosity got the better of her and she slid the lids off, pulled back the tissue paper and pulled out the garment. It was beautiful to look at and even beautiful to touch. The colour of her shoes corresponded with the embroidered jewels around the bodice and the shoulder of her gown. She indulged herself and took a peek at the label; Marchesa. She was going to throw caution to the wind this evening, she was going to have a bloody good time. When was she ever going to wear a dress like this again? She strode into the en suite bathroom and began preparations.
Liam looked at his watch, it was five past seven and there was still no movement from the room. He had been dressed on time in a dark black tuxedo by one of his favourite tailors on Saville Row. The limo was waiting downstairs to take them to the charity gala. He took another sip of champagne, he wasn't big on champagne but he needed to do something to occupy his time whilst he waited for her. He looked up as the twin doors opened and she walked out, stealing the breathe from him. She was beautiful in the dress, her hair she wore bunched up to one side and her make-up was simple, understated. He just stood there like a lemming staring at her. Every word imaginable went through his head right there and then; beautiful, stunning, sexy, gorgeous. He walked up to her and kissed her, she was a willing participate this time around, as he could feel her arms engage around his neck. God, he was seriously aroused just tasting her, touching her. If he didn't have to go to this gala, he would be peeling this bit of fabric off her and making sweet love to her.
"We have to get going I'm afraid," he said looking down at her regrettably. Her lips were swollen from his kiss and her eyes had the look of molten lust written all over them, "I'm making a speech tonight and I can't be late." She nodded, understanding and he took her hand in his and led her out into the lift.
They walked through the entrance to a multitude of flash bulbs, Liam reassured her that it was for the publicity of the new wing and nothing to do with the A-list crowd that would be attending. He guided her towards the centre where Hartley Armstrong and his wife were standing. Frieda was wearing a black strapless dress of lace and her hand was in the crook of her husband's arm. She spun around when she saw them and smiled. Liam made introductions, not introducing Millie as a girlfriend or a friend and didn't care what assumptions they made of Millie as long as they were good ones.
"It's lovely to meet you Millie, I can't say I've heard an awful lot about you from Liam but assuming what's written in the papers lately is true, you've definitely caught the catch of the day," Frieda snapped.
"You shouldn't believe everything you read in the papers, most of it's rubbish, written purely for entertainment purposes. You of all people should know," Millie snapped back. There was no way she was going to be putting up with snarky comments especially from an A-Lister.
"Ooh she's a catty one Liam, better then all those push overs you were seeing before," Freida commented.
"Just ignore her Millie, I do," Liam whispered in her ear, "Come on, let's go and sit down for dinner," he glided her away and found their table, which was one of the tables nearer the stage. He pulled out her seat and she sat down, careful not to crease her dress, "Did I tell you that you look beautiful tonight, it must have skipped my brain when I lost consciousness just staring at you." He was rewarded with a blush.
"What is your speech about tonight?" she asked, changing the subject subtly.
"That we should always invest in the children, the children are our tomorrow, they should have the best possible medical care and regard. We should always be there for them regardless," Liam said.
Millie looked around, noting her surroundings. She shouldn't have asked, why did she ask? She willed herself not to cry, nor to laugh in his face. What insanity she was feeling right now. How ludicrous this was all turning out to be.
"Are you alright?" he asked, sensing something was not quite right.
"Fine, I'm just fine... taking in my surroundings that's all," she lied but she was curious to know why it was so important to him that he invest in this, "What's so important about this charity then others?" She watched him, he shut off and when she thought he wasn't going to say anything he spoke quietly.
"I had a younger brother but he died when he was six after developing a rare form of Lymphoma, cancer of the immune system, because we were poor, we didn't have enough money and we couldn't get him the medical attention he needed. He died and I've been a firm campaigner for him, in memory of him," Liam said, "It was my fault that he died."
"It's not your fault Liam, these things happen," Millie began but she was cut off sharply.
"No, these things do not happen Millie. If I had had the money...," Liam began.
Millie reached out to him, "You were a boy yourself Liam, how could you even begin to think this was your fault. Please don't blame yourself, what about your parents?"
"My dad ran out on us when the going got tough and my mother, well she turned to the bottle," he said.
"I'm so sorry Liam," Millie said, threading her fingers through his. Millie's secret lay heavy on her shoulders. He could never find out. She kissed him then, couldn't care about what others thought. She could only think to comfort him. The shuffling of people going to their tables, broke the magic of the kiss and she pulled away from him but she didn't let go of his hands. The next few hours, they drank and they ate and they got to know each other, without the pressure of it all. When it came to Liam making his speech, the butterflies in Millie's stomach were doing somersaults. She was proud of him, more then proud. She listened attentively to what he was saying and how he was saying it and there was the Liam she knew back in New York. The sensitive, caring Liam. There was an applause and he asked that everyone dig deep inside their pockets and contribute as much as they could for the cause. He came back down and Millie stood up and kissed him, he kissed her back slowly and as they were about to take their seats, he was being greeted by various people, dignitaries and diplomats, keen to contribute as much money as possible. Millie excused herself and made her way to the ladies toilets.
Millie stared at her reflection in the mirror, shaking herself out of her haze. She reapplied her lipstick when she saw Frieda enter, except she had a wardrobe change and was now sporting a gold sequined dress, "Beautiful dress Frieda," Millie mustered.
Frieda looked up and smiled, "Got the wrong twin sister. I'm Frederica. You must be Millie, I've heard so much about you from her. You've got her knickers in a twist and I like you already," she held out her hand, and smiled warmly towards her, "It's lovely to finally meet you."
"I'm sorry, you must get that all the time," Millie apologised.
"I'm used to it, between you and me... I'm the nicer one out of the two of us. I do apologise about my sister, she can be a bit of a drama queen. I thought, considering as she's a mother now, she would have calmed down a bit but she has her moments," Frederica smiled, "Artie's great though, he puts her in her place without making her feel bad, which is a great skill to have. You're here with Liam, right?" She said squeezing some lotion into her hands.
"Yes, that's right," Millie replied.
"That makes sense," Frederica smiled back.
"What makes sense?" Millie asked.
"That you would be the envy of all the single or not so single women here, he's quite a catch, well from what I've heard but you two make a great looking couple," Frederica offered.
"Oh, but we're not a couple," Millie tried to explain.
"Really? I've seen the way he looks at you and I don't think friends look at each other like that. He kinda looks like he wants to jump your bones," Frederica quipped, "Don't worry, from what I heard from Artie, the guy hasn't seen anyone in a long time, not since he was in New York anyway, says there was someone serious there but Liam's always been married to his work, but obviously now that he's found you, things are about to change."
"Who are you here with?" Millie asked, enjoying the conversation between the two of them.
"I'm with my husband Jack, I'll have to introduce him to you some time," Millie watched as Frederica became a different woman as she spoke happily about her husband, "It's not very often we get to have a night on the town. I love getting dressed up in a floor length gown and it's an even better excuse to see Jack in a black tie. He's usually wearing our babies puke or overalls and working over a saw."
"Over a saw?" Millie asked confused.
"Oh yeah, he's a carpenter, great with his hands if you know what I mean," Frederica smiled, "Are you ready? Come on, I'll introduce you to him."
After he was congratulated by numerous society figures, acquaintances and friends, he joined Artie and Jack at the bar.
"Great speech," Jack shook his hand.
"Thanks. How's Fred? I haven't seen her tonight," Liam said.
Jack pointed behind Liam, "There she is and it looks like she's got your date in tow too."
Frederica joined Jack but steered Millie towards him, "Jack, I want you to meet Millie. I just bumped into her in the toilets. Millie, this is my husband Jack."
They both shook hands.
"So, you're the lady who's managed to tame our Liam, eh?" Jack quipped.
"I wouldn't call it taming, we're just friends," Millie said.
"Sure, is that what they're calling it these days "friends?" You must be pretty neat friends to be kissing," Jack teased.
Liam scowled, "Leave it guys,"
"Getting touchy are we Liam?" Artie joined in the fun.
"You're going to frighten her away," Liam said through clenched teeth.
"Looks like she's about to bolt for the door," Jack laughed, looking in the direction of Millie.
"You'll have to ignore the guys Millie, they're trying to wind Liam up," Frederica rolled her eyes, "Jack, you owe me a slow dance."
"There's my cue guys, gotta dance with the Mrs," Jack said as he glided Frederica to the dance floor.
"Going to find Frieda, she's probably chewing some poor person's ear, she doesn't go out very often, so she's probably making up for lost time. If you'll excuse me," he charmingly joked and winked at Millie as he disappeared through the crowd.
Liam turned to Millie, "Would you like to dance?"
Millie looked at him and then to the dance floor, "I don't dance."
"Seriously?" Liam said, his arm clamping around her waist, whilst the other took hold of her hand and he spun her around on the spot. She weighed next to nothing, as he spun her around towards the dance floor and watched her face light up in glee. He put her back on the floor and glided her around the floor, "You seem to be doing a fine job of it."
Millie nodded and stared at her feet. A few minutes later the dance was over and Liam whispered into her ear, "Would you like to call it a night?"
Millie's eyes shot up, "It's too early, I would very much like to dance some more."
"My wish is my command," he smiled, as he drew her close and spun her around the room.
Millie sat the next few dances out, she watched as Liam danced with one of the elderly women sponsors around the ballroom and realised her resolve was breaking down. The ice no longer a barrier, was melting, making way for the fire that was obviously still between them. Her eyes could not leave him. When she stepped out of the room earlier this evening, he had simply stared at her which made her nervous, self conscious, she wondered whether she was wearing it wrong or that her hair wasn't best suited and then when he kissed her. She wanted nothing more then for him to rip her clothes off and make mad passionate reckless love but of course, he broke off. Some lame excuse to get to the function on time. That was what she felt earlier but it all changed when he confided in her about his brother and it all changed. Everything she had grown to dislike about him, somehow miraculously disappeared and her heart reached out to him and she wanted nothing but to comfort him, share his pain. To take care of him. Their relationship in New York was lust fueled, raw and utter madness but then of course, she started to notice the cracks. Could she ever get past the cracks to have a more for filling relationship? What the hell was wrong with her, what if all this was just a ploy to pass time whilst he was here in London. What if what he wanted, wasn't what she wanted, what then? A million other questions swirled through her mind. She was living in her fantasy world, gone away with the fairies- that had been her downfall from the beginning. She touched her stomach and suddenly couldn't breathe, she was desperate for air, for space... anywhere but here. As she watched Liam twirling around the dance floor, she realised she couldn't stay here any longer, she had to go.
Liam spun Mrs Hillier around the dance floor until she refused another dance, it was mean of course but he was aching to be beside Millie. He missed her, how crazy was that? He missed her and she was in the same bloody room as him. God, he couldn't get the taste of her out of his system, nor the feel of her as he worked the ball room. The way her dress clung to her and the skirts swayed when he spun her around his arms. What the hell was wrong with him? You'd think he was a love struck fool by the way his thoughts were going. As Mrs Hillier thanked him for the dance, he spun around to where Millie was sitting and realised she wasn't sitting there any longer. She must have slipped off to the toilets again. He would wait for her. He was making his way to the guys, when Frieda tapped him on the shoulder.
"What's up Frieda?" he asked lazily.
"I just wanted to let you know that your girl just ran out of here and into the throng of paparazzi outside," she stated.
Liam didn't have to think twice before he shot out the way she left.