Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Endings Part 6

“Why did I let you talk me into this?” Maya groaned as she posed for yet another photograph with her best friend Trisha Lowe.

All around her, women were taking photos with their cell phones and whispering among themselves, while the men were casting admiring glances in her direction. This must be what a goldfish feels like, she mused, knowing that most of the photos taken would end up on blogs or websites all over the world.

“Because you love me and you know your being here is a boost for my club. Say cheese!” Trish planted a kiss on her friend’s cheek and hugged her affectionately.

Maya shook her head and laughed. She would do anything for Trish, but when her childhood friend had invited her to the opening of her hip night club Silk, she was tempted to turn her down. Frankly, the only reason she had summoned up the energy to get dressed was because she knew Liam was attending.

The past few days had been productive, spent observing the centuries-old process of harvesting cane and assisting with the care of her grandmother.

The evenings had been especially entertaining, when Liam stopped by to visit. The two often ended up sharing drinks on the verandah, enjoying the sun’s descent over the horizon. Afterwards, he would insist on following her home. A tempted Maya came close to asking him to stay on more than one occasion, but she held back, aware that she had to leave the island again in a few days.

“He’ll be here soon, don’t worry,” Trisha chuckled as Maya glanced furtively at her watch.

The two women escaped to the relative peace of the club’s VIP section, where they settled on a plush sofa and accepted glasses of champagne from a waiter hovering nearby.

“So, are you and Liam thinking of getting back together?” Trisha began.

Maya plucked nervously at the skirt of her Fendi cocktail dress. “I still care about him, a lot. But what would be the point of trying to start over? Our circumstances are still the same.”

Trisha rolled her eyes as she sipped her champagne. “You kill me. You have a hot ass man who loves you, you love him, and you have to think twice? What you gonna do, let Ms. Society Page have him?”

It was Maya’s turn to roll her eyes. “Girl, please. I would like to think any man who claims to love me wouldn’t mess with a cheap trick like Monique.”

Trisha clutched Maya’s hand suddenly. “Remember the time she pretended to get drunk at their office party and tried to get Liam to take her home?”

Maya smiled wickedly. “You should have seen the look on her face when Liam asked me to go along for the drive. Sobered her ass right up.”

Liam found the two friends laughing heartily as he entered the VIP room. The merry sound faded instantly as they saw who was immediately behind him.

“Hi, Maya, it’s good to see you again!” Monique Chambers breathed excitedly, flicking her waist length mane over her shoulder. “I hope I can get an interview with you before you go.”

Trisha rose, towering over the petite Monique in her stilettos. “Media personnel are not allowed in the VIP section. Come with me, please,” she snapped, marching a red-faced Monique out of the room.

“I should feel sorry for her, but I don’t. Am I a bad person?” Maya grinned.

“It’s a shameful way to treat your number one fan,” he chuckled, ducking as she playfully swatted him. “I had a feeling when I walked in with her it wouldn’t go well. For the record, it’s not a date. I came here straight from work and I gave her a lift as she’s covering the opening for the paper.”

Maya sniffed reprovingly. “It’s not my business who you hang with. You could do a lot better, is all I’m saying.”

“Can I?” he asked evenly, amusement glinting in his hazel eyes.

Yes, with me, she almost blurted out. He looked so handsome in his dark slacks and fitted shirt, and his spice-scented cologne was wreaking havoc with her senses.

She was spared from responding as Liam rose suddenly to his feet and held out his hand. “Dance with me.”

“Liam Carter dances now?” Maya gasped in amazement as he twirled her expertly. “I used to have to threaten bodily harm to get you on to a dance floor.”

He cast her a hurt look. “Can’t a man change?”

Maya willed herself to relax as he slid his arm around her waist. She barely bit back on a moan as their bodies made sweet, familiar contact. As they swayed to the music, the crowd around them faded from her thoughts. Her mind filled with memories of loving this man, and she wondered if she let him go, if she would ever feel the same about anyone else.

Image: Fustic House - St. Lucy

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Endings Part 5

After a tense 30-minute trip, Liam and Maya pulled up in front of the large plantation house, where they were met by her grandmother’s housekeeper, Rosalind.

While he unloaded the luggage, the women exchanged a warm hug and ascended the front steps arm-in-arm. Maya glanced around the large, tastefully decorated coral stone house fondly. Drama aside, it was good to be home, she thought.

After grabbing a quick shower, she drew on her favorite silk bathrobe and went downstairs to grab a snack. She was surprised to find Liam seated at the large kitchen table.

“I wanted to make sure you were settled before I left. Are you going to be okay here by yourself?” he said as he rose.

She tightened the belt of her robe. Be careful, you’re starting to sound like you care, she wanted to retort but instead said, “I’ll be fine. Your mother wanted me to stay with them but I wanted to be close to the plantation.”

He nodded. “Well, make sure you leave the security lights on. And remind Ros to set the alarm if you’re not here when she leaves,” he added.

She gave a small smile. “I see you’re getting bossier with the big 3-0 coming up.”

His lips curved slightly. “Seems like just the other day we were entering secondary school. Now I’m practically an old man.”

Maya chuckled wryly. “Now who’s fishing for a compliment.”

They both broke into laughter and Maya’s heart quickened at the sight of his gorgeous smile. It felt good to share a laugh after all the tension and resentment.

Liam turned serious. “Look, Maya,” he began, rubbing his stubbled jaw, “about earlier… I had no right to say what I did.”

“It’s all good,” she began, but he interrupted.

“No, it isn’t. You made a decision about what you want to do with your life, and instead of supporting you I tried to make you feel guilty. That’s wrong and I apologise.”

She exhaled. “I’m sorry too, for hurting you when I turned down your proposal. It wasn’t because I didn’t love you, Liam. It’s just the timing was totally off.”

Eyes glistening with tears, she turned away abruptly before he could notice but he placed a hand on her arm. Heat radiated through her at his touch, igniting the slow flame of desire in her belly.

“I know you’re right, but it’s been still difficult moving on,”’ he replied.

Hesitantly, he drew her close, inhaling her fresh scent. Maya’s heart beat a wild tattoo as she returned his embrace. It would be so easy to raise her lips to his, to run her hands over his broad chest and back...

Instead, she reluctantly stepped back and cleared her throat. “As you’re here, do you want to share dinner? Ros always make too much.”

He nodded his assent, and the two spent the next few hours enjoying a tentative truce.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Endings Part 4

“Did you two have a fight again?” Elise asked Maya quietly, looking over her shoulder at a grim-faced Liam who sipped a beer in the living room with his father.

Maya shrugged, savouring her lemonade as she admired the sun setting over the west coast of the island. In the distance, she could see a cruise ship sailing out of the harbor, destined for a week of fun and frolic on the Caribbean Sea.

Francine, her broken leg set in a cast and resting on a chair, leaned forward to grasp her granddaughter’s hand.

“When are you two going to stop punishing each other and just be together? He’s unhappy, you’re unhappy, what’s the point?”

Elise nodded in agreement. “You both think too much. You can make this work if you really wanted to.”

Maya shook her head. “Nothing has changed. I live in LA and he’s here. He wants… deserves someone who’ll wake up next to him every morning, cook him dinner, sit around at night and find out how his day went. I can’t be that person.”

"Besides," Maya exhaled, "in case you haven't noticed he hasn't gotten past my refusing his proposal."

The two older women exchanged a solemn glance. “That was nearly two years ago, and if he's still upset about that, that means he still cares," Francine insisted.

"Apart from the odd date, he hasn't had a serious relationship since then. He still loves you, Maya," Elise added.

Maya glanced around and saw Liam gazing in her direction, his expression unreadable.

"Gran, I came home to see how you were doing, not to get caught up in any drama. Can we just forget about it for now?" she pleaded.

Francine sighed. "Will you at least come to the surprise party on Saturday for his 30th birthday? All your old friends will be there,” she asked.

“Sure. I guess I can manage that.” Maya chatted a while longer before kissing the women goodbye and heading to her grandmother's home in St. Lucy.

More on Monday! Have a great weekend.

Image: Fustic House, St. Lucy

RIP Whitney Elizabeth Houston

As the world prepares to bid farewell to one of the greatest singers of our time, I want to add my voice to those wishing the family and friends of Whitney Houston my deepest condolences.

A few years back I did a post in her honour, which you can view here.

And this is how I will always remember her; her powerful stage presence and breathtaking vocals. May she rest in peace.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Endings Part 3

The brilliant sunshine that blazed down on Maya as she descended the stairs of the private jet would have given most visitors to Barbados pause, but to her it was as welcomed as a lover’s embrace.

She paused to enjoy the light breeze wafting off the nearby Caribbean Sea. Although she was in contact with her grandmother regularly by phone, she hadn’t been home in nearly a year.

Her reverie was broken by a star-struck airport official, who escorted her to the terminal. Fifteen minutes and several autographs later, she exited the VIP lounge in search of her ride.

Maya spotted him immediately, leaning against an old pickup truck, arms folded. She ran her fingers self-consciously through her shoulder-length, bronze-streaked curls and resisted the urge to smooth her wrinkled blouse.

He pushed himself away from the vehicle and strode towards her. Maya’s traitorous heart skipped a beat. Nobody can fill out a pair of jeans like Liam Carter, she admitted grudgingly.

His six-foot frame was topped off by a green polo shirt that did little to conceal the muscles ranging underneath. Closely-cropped hair, a neat moustache and goatee framed tanned, chiseled features that would be the envy of many a male model. But the kicker was the pair of serious hazel eyes that locked on hers as he approached.

“Welcome home, Ms. Hollywood. Sorry about Gran.” He gave her a slight smile before turning his attention to the luggage.

Maya climbed into the cabin while he hefted her two bags on to the back of the pickup.

“Thanks for the lift, Liam. I hope it’s not too much trouble.”

He slid into the driver’s seat, fastened his seatbelt and started the engine. “No worries. Gran asked and I complied. I know it’s not the type of ride you’re accustomed to these days, but this is how we island folks roll,” he added dryly.

Maya slipped on her sunglasses, ignoring his jibe. As they headed north, she quietly observed the verdant countryside, dotted with gaily-painted homes, as it whipped by.
Traffic slowed as they approached a roundabout, and Maya decided to break the tense silence.

“So, how’ve you been? It’s been a while.”

He shrugged. “Good. Busy.” He paused. “I don’t have to ask how you are. I can’t open a magazine or turn on a television these days without seeing you.”

She gave him a small smile. “Well, I hoped you liked what you saw.”

Dark brows furrowed, his grayish-green eyes roamed up her body, taking in the casual flats, body-hugging jeans and breezy blouse before settling on that famous face, which appeared luminous even with minimal makeup. “Fishing for a compliment?” he asked sarcastically.

Maya felt the flush of heat rising to her cheeks and turned towards the window. Bastard, she thought.

A few minutes and a mile later, she made another attempt at playing nice. “I really appreciate your mother looking after Gran for me. I hope I can convince her to return to LA with me for a while.”

Liam raised an eyebrow. “Good luck with that. You know she’ll never leave before harvesting is over.”

He piloted the vehicle around another roundabout and picked up his lane. “If she goes, who’s going to look after her when you’re away on location or modeling?” he asked suddenly.

“Do you think I’d take her thousands of miles from her home and leave her to fend for herself? She’s important to me, Liam,” she retorted coldly.

He chuckled bitterly. “Well, I thought I was important to you too, and we know how that turned out.”

She gasped, hurt. “That’s unfair! You’re the one who ended it, Liam, not me.”

“Yeah, after you practically threw my ring back in my face!” He exhaled deeply and forced himself to calm down.

She shook her head, willing away the hot tears already prickling her shaded eyes.

“That’s not how I remember it, but if it makes you feel any better to put the blame on me, go right ahead,” she countered. “Why are you bringing the past up, anyway? We’ve both moved on.”

His hands gripped the steering wheel tightly. “From the parade of guys you’ve been going out with, I see you have. I guess some of us move on more slowly than others,” he added coldly.

Maya snorted. “Oh please. I’m sure you haven’t been a monk since we broke up. I bet that girl you work with, Monique, couldn’t wait to get a crack at you.”

Liam laughed dourly. “Be careful, you sound like you care, Maya.”

Maya cut her eye at him. “I knew this was a bad idea. If you can’t be civil, let me out here and I’ll get a taxi.”

He raised an eyebrow. “And make front page news tomorrow? I don’t think so. Don’t worry, I have nothing more to say.”

A miserable silence reigned for the remainder of the journey, and Maya was thankful when the truck finally pulled into his mother’s driveway.

Part 4 tomorrow.

Image: Fustic House, St. Lucy

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Endings Part 2

Hey, peoples! Hope you enjoyed the first installment of my new romance 'Happy Endings'. On to Part 2:

“It’s just one date. I don’t want you to marry the guy,” agent to the stars Madeline Simpson pouted at her client and friend Maya Thorne over dinner. “Plus, you can’t deny he’s a talented performer.”

The actress shuddered. “He may be talented, but he’s also an egotistical fame whore. I’ll pass.”

The older woman couldn’t help but laugh. Although Maya had taken LA by storm with her breath-taking looks and natural talent, she was still very much the straight-talking island girl Madeline had discovered while on holiday in Barbados.

It had taken a lot of persuasion to convince the then 19-year-old law student that she had what it took to make it as a model, to make the sacrifice of leaving friends and family behind worth it.

Six years later, Maya had transformed from a runway sensation and every blue-blooded male’s fantasy into a creditable actress, owning every part sent her way. Bill Condor’s new romantic comedy was her first leading role, and she had immersed herself fully in the production, grateful to the director for taking a chance on her.

Maya toyed with her seafood salad, wishing she had ordered the baby back ribs instead. Damn diet. “Why do you keep pushing these guys at me, anyway?” she grumbled.

The agent gave an impatient sigh. “Are the men I’m choosing so terrible, or are you still hung up on Liam?” she asked pointedly.

Maya grimaced at the mention of her former boyfriend. Her move to the States had brought fame and fortune but it had come at the cost of her relationship with the love of her life, Liam Carter.

In the beginning, Maya tried commuting between her base in New York and home, but as her popularity grew it became more difficult to spend time with Liam. He wasn’t exactly sitting idly by either; his career as a sports journalist had taken off and he travelled regularly on assignment. The relationship eventually crumbled beneath the pressures of distance and busy schedules.

“What would be the point?” Maya set her fork down, her appetite gone. “He’s there, I’m here. Our lives have moved in two different directions.”

Madeline patted her hand sympathetically. “Then keep it moving, darling. Find yourself a man. I’ll even back off and let you choose one yourself. As long as he’s rich, gorgeous…did I mention rich?”

Maya laughed. “I hear George Clooney’s available again. Maybe I should try my luck.”

Her cell phone rang before the agent could retort. Maya’s face lit up when she saw the number on the caller ID.

“Gran, how are you!”

Four thousand miles away, Francine Thorne shifted uncomfortably in her hospital bed.”Not so good, sweetie. I had a little accident. Broke my leg.”

Alarmed, Maya tightened her hold on her cell. “Oh my God! What happened? Did you fall? How…”

“Shush, calm down. Your gran is getting clumsy, is all. I slipped climbing down from the loader. Good thing Roger’s son wasn’t around with his blasted cell phone or I’d probably end up on YouTube.”

Maya knew her grandmother was trying to make light of the incident for her benefit, but there was no disguising the pain in her voice.

“Where the hell was Roger? Why were you on the loader in the first place?” she asked angrily.

Francine owned a 10-acre sugar cane plantation in the north of the island. Her manager Roger Clarke supervised a team of workers responsible for harvesting the cane and transporting it to the nearby factory where it was ground into sugar.

“He was out sick yesterday, that’s why I was pitching in,” Francine explained. “We’re working against the clock here, you know how it is.”

“What I know is a 70-year-old woman doesn’t have any right operating a cane loader,” Maya fumed. “You’re the only family I’ve got, gran. What if you had hit your head, or worse?”

“But I didn’t,” Francine insisted. “I should be discharged tomorrow and I’ll be staying with Elise for a while. Roger will handle things until I get back on my feet.”

Elise Carter was her grandmother’s closest friend and Liam’s mother. When Maya was nine, her mother passed away from cancer, and Elise and her family took the grieving Thornes under their wing.

“I’ll rearrange a few things and then I’m coming home. I need to see for myself that you’re okay.”

Maya disconnected a few minutes later and turned to Madeline, who had already signaled for the cheque. As the two women hustled out of the restaurant’s service entrance to avoid the ever-roaming paparazzi, Maya contacted her assistant Andrea to arrange travel plans.

Madeline clicked through her electronic diary. “You have the Si Belle magazine photo shoot next Friday and the Max Miller interview on the 21st. You’re clear till then.”

She hugged her friend as the valet attendants arrived with their vehicles. “Keep me posted. If there’s anything I can do to help, call me.”

As Maya piloted her vehicle down the freeway towards home, Andrea called to update her on her travel arrangements. “I informed your grandmother as you asked and she said Liam will pick you up.”

Maya’s eyes widened in surprise. On the last few occasions she had been home she and Liam had studiously avoided each other, which was no easy feat as their families were close and they shared mutual friends. She mentally calculated the distance from the airport to Elise’s house and was tempted to have Andrea arrange alternative transportation.

Suck it up, she scolded herself. Try to be the bigger person, even if he hates your guts.

Part 3 tomorrow.

Image: Fustic House, St. Lucy

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

My dear peoples, how are you!! I know it's been a while. Thank you all so much for hanging in there during my hiatus.

Since I last blogged I had to undergo surgery and I was out of commission for two months. Being forced to keep quiet also gave me an opportunity to scribble down a little love story, which I'll share with you over the next few days, as it's Valentine's Day and all.:)

It's called 'Happy Endings', and remember I wrote it while on painkillers. I'm just saying, lol. Hope you enjoy.

Happy Endings Part 1

“I love you, Caroline, and I always will,” the handsome groom whispered lovingly as he placed the gold band on his bride’s finger.

Tears glistened in the brown eyes of the tall, copper-skinned beauty as she leaned in to claim his lips with hers.

“And, cut! That’s a wrap, people!” the director bellowed. He ambled over to his leading couple, a grin on his rotund face.

“Maya, Terry, good work. They’ll be weeping in the aisles for sure.”

Maya Thorne thanked her assistant as the woman helped her into a jacket. Despite the sunshine beaming down on the South Carolina set, she still shivered slightly in the strapless, vintage wedding gown.

“That’s why you pay us the big bucks, Bill,” she laughed. “God knows love stories never end like this in real life.”

Terrence Bridges hooked an arm casually through his co-star’s as they strolled back to the makeup trailer.

“You’re such a cynic, Maya. I thought all you island girls were born romantics.”

She snorted. “Bad relationships happen in paradise too, you know.”

“All I know is you’ve got every straight male on this set eating out of your hands, yet you’re still sleeping alone every night.”

Maya feigned annoyance. “How do you know I’m sleeping alone? Have you been spying on me, Terry?”

He gave her an innocent look. “I had to check out my competition. Not to mention, the sound guys have a little bet going that I would score with you before we wrapped. So, what do you say?”

Maya stifled a laugh at his suggestive wink and patted his cheek affectionately. “Don’t worry, Terry. If ever I’m in the market for a fauxmance you would be at the top of my list,” she replied before sashaying away.

More tomorrow....