Chapter One

My throat stung and as I struggled to swallow, I knew that the tears were going to appear at any moment. I looked around the garden, scattered colors of dresses hanging on moving bodies blurred as the first set of tears fell down my cheeks. Behind the bodies there was a steely blend of the lake’s surface and the sky. I focused on the gray, willing the tears away. 

When I was certain the tears weren’t going to stop I began walking towards the large stairs that curved all the way down the villa where the wedding was going to be held. I wobbled in the Louboutins that Shaikha had chosen for me and for a second I cursed her. I cursed her for choosing the shoes, the dress, for convincing me to come. Then I cursed myself for being so weak, so quick to throw myself a pity party. If Shaikha was here she wouldn’t be running away, she’d flip her hair, lick her teeth and aim for the jugular. But I wasn’t Shaikha, in fact, I was the far opposite of her. The universe seemed to want to participate in my pity party because about half way down the never ending cobbled stairs the sky parted and heavy sheets of rain began to fall; I shuddered as a gust of icy wind blew across, releasing strands of hair from the messy braid Mimi had instructed the hairstylist to create. Thankfully, the dress I was wearing was tight enough to forever be part of me and it stayed in its place against the heavy tug of the wind.

“Hey! Sara!” I heard a man’s voice call out behind me. I couldn’t place who’s voice it was and I didn’t turn around to find out; instead I rushed towards the dock that was a good two minute jog away. I slipped my heels off when I realized that I was most likely going to tumble in the rain and ran the rest of the way. At the dock, an Italian man began to greet me benevolantly before noticing my tear streaked face and immediately opened the door of the water taxi. He shrugged heavily towards a perched driver of another taxi then got in behind me. 
“Grand Hotel, please.” I half whimpered. I stared at the back of his head as he nodded and within seconds we were speeding across the lake. 
How did I get here, you ask? To Como? To the wedding of the decade? To this whimpering mess? Let me start at the beginning .. 

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