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Chapter 3

  • Chapter Three
  • “Infine, finally,” Guliana exclaimed pulling Loraine forward and pushing her down into the chair in front of the mirror. “Quick, fix her hair and makeup. There is not time, hurry, fretta!”
  • She barked at the two ladies who stood behind her and they jumped into action like soldiers at a drill. Guliana had been Riana’s stylist in Venice almost three years ago. She was the one who put Riana in a golden dress for dinner that apparently had all the men’s jaws dragging the ground and women glaring daggers the entire night, or so Riana says. Her best friend didn’t exactly do over the top sexy so Loraine had a hard time believing her but the disappearance of that dress did convince her some. She’d only seen that dress once when she was helping Riana arrange her closet and Allan was the chief suspect for its vanishing into thin air. Loraine never took him as a magician but he was the jealous type. So it was probably cut up into little pieces then burned or buried.
  • “Do something about the bags under her eyes. They are not very attractive, molto brutto.”
  • Loraine turned to face her but her head was quickly turned back around. “Hey, I don’t know what that means but I have a perfectly good excuse for them!”
  • Loraine saw Melody, Allan’s younger sister, chuckle through the mirror, seated on the couch with Aurora on her lap. “Yeah, it’s called drinking and jetlag. Who gets drunk right after getting off a seven hour flight?”
  • Someone who wants to have a dreamless night, Loraine thought to herself.
  • “We were celebrating the last days of Riana’s freedom.”
  • Melody snorted. “The way you were drinking, I thought we were sending you off to prison the very next day.”
  • Loraine stuck her tongue out at her and Melody returned the gesture in kind. A few seconds later, Aurora did the same thing making them laugh. Loraine had always had to watch herself, especially her language, around the impressionable little girl. She had a habit of repeating what she heard, especially if the word was difficult to pronounce. She would repeat it and repeat it until she got it right.
  • “Anyone notice the guest of honor didn’t touch her drink?” Amy commented conspiratorially.
  • The brunette bombshell Amy first name Cindi, was Matthew’s wife. Apparently, she went by her middle name because of all the stupid Cinderella jokes her first name brought on. Of course, it didn’t help that her life story closely resembled the Disney princess by marriage. Matthew the hottest man Loraine had ever set her eyes on, and, to her chagrin, happily married, and was Allan’s best friend. He was the one who forcefully brought Allan back to the States from his self-imposed exile after Riana’s supposed death. They made quite a couple, like a married Adonis and Artemis and yet quite humble—something very rarely seen in gorgeous and wealthy people. And their son Mark… wow! The kid was only three and he was already a stunner.
  • But Loraine didn’t see any hope in his dating future. Aurora had already laid claim to him. There was no place he was that Aurora wasn’t and she made sure he followed her around wherever she went. And he would, with a resigned look on his face like he had an invisible leash around his neck. Loraine couldn’t wait to see how that would turn out once they were old enough to understand romance.
  • Melody gasped. “You don’t think… Loraine!”
  • Loraine shook her head still before the hairdresser forced it. “I don’t know a thing,” she lied, “maybe it was just nerves, and she did want to have a fresh face when she woke up.”
  • “Unlike some people,” Guliana mumbled under her breath.
  • Loraine narrowed her eyes at her and she looked back with a wide eyed innocent look. Yeah right! “Aren’t you supposed to be pulling dresses or something?”
  • She shrugged and walked away with a hoity toss of her head.
  • “Nervous? I don’t think so. Did you see how she was this morning? She was walking around like it was any other day.” Amy shook her head. “I was a nervous wreck the morning of my wedding.”
  • “Nervous enough to run?” Loraine joked.
  • She’d always wondered what went through the minds of the brides who waited until they were a few feet away from the altar before they turned around and made a mad dash for the exit. Like, at that particular moment, when her groom was looking at her with so much love, waiting for her with anxious expectation to make her his wife, she has an epiphany and realizes the mistake she was about to make. Why couldn’t she realize that a week before or an hour before and save the groom the embarrassment of being jilted at the altar?
  • Amy chuckled, shaking her head. “By the time I got to Matthew at the altar, I was in the middle of a panic attack.”
  • Loraine laughed. “Oh, he must have been impressed with that!”
  • “Oh, I remember that. Allan was asking around for a paper bag for you to breathe into!” Melody chimed in with a giggle.
  • “I thought Matthew would be angry. But he just looked at me, took my face in his big hands and planted one on me. For the few seconds he was kissing me, I completely forgot what I was nervous about,” she giggled. “Heck! I even forgot where I was,” she said with a sigh.
  • Loraine caught the sweet loving look on Amy’s face as she traveled down memory lane and she felt her heart twinge with jealousy. She wished she had a reason for that look too.
  • “Where is the bride?” Melody asked.
  • “Right here.” Riana stepped into view and Loraine had to stand up and turn around to get a better look.
  • “Oh my God,” Loraine whispered in awe as she looked at her friend. Riana looked mesmerizing in her princess ball gown dress.
  • The bodice was studded with small crystals in an intricate pattern. The white satin of the skirt of the dress flowed out around her and when she turned full circle, it resembled a ringing bell. She had a small tiara seated perfectly in her hair that it looked more like a hair band. Riana hadn’t liked it much but Aurora had insisted on her getting a matching one to her own little tiara and Riana folded. But the little hellion was right—it looked wonderful with her hair style. Her white veil reached her waist, covering the back of her hair and her exposed back. Her makeup was light and natural, accentuating her facial features and not acting like a mask like it does on most brides.
  • “You look beautiful,” Melody sniffed.
  • “No! No cry. No time to redo makeup. Time for dressing.” Guliana shoved a Champaign dress at Loraine with a sarcastic smile. “I pulled your dress. Hurry, you are the only one still in your robe and the bride is the only one allowed to be fashionably late.” Then she walked away taking Aurora’s hand and leading her to the room to dress her.
  • The room erupted in laughter except for Loraine.
  • Riana stepped before a full length mirror to admire herself. “Don’t go toe to toe with Guliana, Loraine. You won’t win.”
  • Loraine snickered with a roll of her eyes before she stomped into her room and banged the door behind her to mute the laughter. “Damn Italian stylist!”