'Hey, I thought I lost you.' said a familiar voice. I didn't turn back to see who was it and instead I let the strong arms snake around my waist.
'I was here.' I replied as he kissed the side of my neck. 'I was looking at this once more. It's my favorite one.' I showed him the only photograph in the gallery full of paintings.
'Because it's you?' he whispered in my ear as I placed my hands on his hands on me.
'No. Because it was taken by you.' I replied, turning back to meet his eyes. 'And because it tells many things I haven't noticed until now.'
'And what are those?' he asked, kissing my cheek.
'First of all, you are really talented, you can be a photographer.' I complimented. Seriously, the way he captured the light was amazing and eye-taking. The photograph really deserved having a place among all the awesome paintings of Riley's.
'Secondly, I really look good in this. I always look bad in photos.'
'I doubt that. I have never seen a bad photo of yours.' he chuckled slightly.
'Most probably because I have burned them all.' I replied, looking him in the eyes. 'I never burn photos, I was just kidding.' I explained. 'I don't know, I never see myself beautiful in my photos.'
'Even in the wedding ones?'
'Nope, they look good. With you next to me, I always look good.' I brushed away the hair covering his brown eyes that were sparkling at me.
'Oh, you are flattering me.'
'Well, it's the duty of a wife, isn't it?' I teased.
'Then as a husband, I should thank you with a kiss.' he said and leaned in to kiss me. 'By the way, you look stunning in this little black dress of yours.' he whispered seductively in my ear before kissing me for a second time.
'I should warn you two before you get arrested for making out in public.' a voice interrupted us before I could kiss him back. I looked around to see Samantha glaring at the two of us.
'I am used to getting arrested, don't worry.' I replied jokingly.
'Are you two doing fine?' she asked as she approached to us slowly, as it was the only thing with the situation she was in now.
Another pregnant woman in her shoes would look like as if she would burst, but since Samantha was a fitness freak and was obsessed about not gaining weight, she was looking normal. She looked even skinny for an 8-month-and-a-week-old pregnant woman. Her labor was due to the end of the month and we were all excited about having Sally among us in such a short time.
'You'd better sit down Sam.' Jonathan told her. Samantha was not bothering about being called Sam at last. She had changed a lot since she got married, just like I did.
'Let me bring you a chair.' I offered.
'No, I am fine. Please don't act that way towards me!' she smiled. 'I am going back to where Riley is. Be back soon, he will make his speech.' she said with a voice so strict that it was impossible to differentiate whether she was asking or ordering. Sam sounded annoying but we were used to that. After all, she was pregnant and her hormones were up all the time. We couldn't blame her and so all we could do was nod our heads and do as we were told.
Before we could continue snuggling up before the photo of mine Jonathan had taken under the moon light on the night of his birthday, a group of men in suits with glasses, looking like serious art critics came next to it.
'I love the composition of this one. It is actually one of the best photography pieces I have ever seen.' one started. 'The model looks so harmonious with her surroundings yet she also looks so out of the place.'
'I definitely agree with you.' another said. 'The lighting is very effective. It reveals her body, but hides her face.' he showed my bare back looking blue in the picture. 'But I assure you, I can recognize the model if only I saw her back.' he admitted. Jonathan and I changed looks.
'Well, I agree with you about the lighting.' a third said. 'But it seems to me like the moonlight is coming from her, like her inner glow is becoming an outer glow. And the way her hair is scattered reminds me of Milky Way, like her hair is the Milky Way and the lights shining on are stars.' A huge smile covered my face. It was nice to be complimented like that from art critics. Jonathan was pleased with the comments to, for it was his photo after all.
'If you ask me, I'd say that she resembles Selene, the moon goddess.' the fourth who had been silent until now admitted.
'Or Luna.' the one who said I had my inner glow as an outer glow interrupted.
'They are basically the same thing. One is Greek, one is Roman. I personally like Greek mythical dynasties better.' he replied. The others nodded. Then they all moved to a painting of Riley's.
'Wow, those were impressive!' I couldn't help but say as we approached the photo once again. 'I never was called a moon goddess.'
'Actually that was exactly what I thought when I took your photo that night.' my hubby said, playing with his hair as a way of showing uneasiness.
'Oh, that's so sweet.' I said, gave him a quick peck on the cheek and snuggled into his chest once more.
This time a man apparently in an Armani suit came next to us.
'Are you Jonathan Mason?' he asked directly to my hubby.
'I got the information that you are the artist behind this wonderful piece of art. Well, I want this. So I thought it is the best thing to come and discuss the price with you personally.' he said.
'It's not for sale.' Jonathan cut his word short. I was not expecting that as a reply.
'Why not? I am willing to pay any price for it, just name the number.' he insisted.
'It is not for sale.' Jonathan repeated.
'One million?' he said. My eyes grew wider. Jonathan shook his head. 'Two?'
'I am not selling it.'
'Five?' the man said, his eyes asking for approval. Five million dollars for a half naked photo of mine? That was extraordinary.
'For the last time, it is not for sale.' Jonathan said and dragged me to another part of the gallery, this time before the fairy painting of Sam.
'Why didn't you accept his offer? It was pretty generous.' I said after an irritating silence as we were contemplating the magical way my best friend looked in the painting.
'It's a personal photo for me. I wasn't even eager about displaying it in a gallery, let alone on some collector's wall.' he said. 'Besides, it's priceless to me.' he turned to me, but looking away.
'Have I told you that you are the greatest husband ever?' I asked him, placing my hand beneath his chin and made him look into my eyes.
'You said it more than a thousand times though it has only been five months.' he smiled.
'I say it because it is so true.' I kissed him on is mouth. 'Thank you.'
'You are very much welcome.' he replied.
'Come on, let's go near Sam and Riley.' I held his hand and led him to the part of the huge gallery where the main event was about to take place.
There was Riley in his navy blue suit, about to make his speech. He was standing next to her wife Sam, who was still standing on her feet despite our warnings. Yeah, Sam was stubborn like that sometimes, and now she was stubborn 24/7 due to her pregnancy.
Placing a peck on his wife's cheek, Riley picked up the microphone waiting for him as Jonathan and I went next to Samantha to share the pride she was feeling now for her hubby, just like I did every time for mine: feeling an indefinite pride for my husband.
'Thank you all for being here tonight.' Riley spoke. His eyes were shining. 'It is such a special night for me and I am honored to share it with my beloved ones.' the audience applauded. 'Well, I haven't made a speech at home, I just thought I'd come along with nice things to say once I stepped on the stage, but I guess I am too excited to do even that.' he said and everyone laughed. 'So, just enjoy the night.' the audience applauded once more.
Before I could applaud more, something clung on my arms. Or better call it someone. I looked to my side to see the owner of the arm on my arm. It was Samantha, her face all red now.
'Hey, are you okay?'
'The baby.' she replied shortly. 'I guess my water just broke.'
'What?' I said out loud and all the attention was turned towards us now. 'The baby… she is coming!' I managed to say in the hysteria. I was utterly dumbfounded. I didn't know what to do.
'Someone call 911.' Jonathan was to say, understanding my state of mind. Riley jumped off the stage next to Sam in a sudden rush.
'Are you alright?' he asked her in amazement. The baby wasn't due for another three weeks and we all didn't know how to react.
'Sam, sit down.' I instructed her. 'Easy.' I could feel my body tense. 'Breathe in and out, just like you were told in the lessons, okay sweetie?' I was trying to calm down her but actually I was even tenser than she was.
'You'd better sit down too.' Jonathan told me, making me sit to the nearest chair next to Samantha. 'And try to remember breathing.'
Then the next was all in a rush. Before even I could understand, Jonathan and I were in our car, following the ambulance which was taking Samantha and Riley to the nearest hospital. The hospital she was to have her labor, the room she and the baby to stay were all arranged, but in the urgency we were in, it was impossible to follow the plans and we needed to produce new plans. And apparently the newest and only plan was to take Sam to a hospital safe and sound.
'Chloe, stay with me!' Sam was screaming as she and Riley were taken into the room she was to have the labor. Once I received a reassuring nod from Jonathan, I wore the green outfit the nurse was holding out for me and emerged into the room. There she was on the bed with doctors and nurses surrounding her and her hubby right next to her, holding her hand tightly.
The doctors were giving her instructions, but all I could hear was her screaming. It wasn't supposed to happen like that. She was to have a painless, easygoing labor, not one with screaming and rush like that.
'Keep on, you are doing great.' one nurse said and that was what brought me back to my senses. My best friend was having a baby! Sally was coming into life. It was time to get over the anxiety and take control.
'Come on sweetie, hold on.' I said to her, stroking her sweaty forehead. I was there as her friend and like a coach to motivate her. That was all she needed.
'I can't do it Chloe!' she looked at me, her eyes showing defeat.
'No, you are doing it. We are here with you, come on!' I said to her. A sudden glimpse of self-confidence replaced the look on her face.
At that second, the door was opened once more. And before I could see who that was, he was on the floor. I ran next to the person as everyone except me was busy with helping Samantha on her labor, only to find it was Jonathan who passed out having seen the labor. He wasn't okay with seeing blood.
I kneeled next to him to help him recover consciousness. But all I could do was slapping him softly, forgetting the fact that we were surrounded with doctors. Thankfully, a nurse came next to us and helped me carry him to the nearest empty room.
The nurse helped me lay Jonathan on a bed carefully. I was still in the excitement of the miracle that was going on, so, though not intentionally, I left Jonathan lying still unconscious on the bed and went back to the delivery.
I emerged into the room quickly. And it was the best sight I had ever seen. Too bad I had no camera with me to make it eternal. Riley was holding an exhausted Samantha who was holding newly-born Sally who was crying her new lungs out.
'Samantha!' I cried. I seriously cried my lungs out as Sally did as I walked next to them.
'I know.' she muttered, knowing what I meant to say before even I said so.
'Hello Sally.' said Riley to her baby girl, his eyes also full of tears. I just stared at her little body, not knowing what else to do.
'I still can't believe that you actually fainted!' I mocked Jonathan as we were driving back home as we weren't allowed to spend the night there in the hospital with Sam, Riley and Sally.
'I wasn't expecting that I'd do that when I decided to step in. Then I saw all the blood…ugh.' he said and he was going pale again.
'You don't look good, want me to drive?'
'No, it's okay.' he wiped a drop of sweat away. 'We only have one block left.' he stroked my knee to assure me. I smiled back at him.
'Gosh, didn't she look so pretty? I didn't want to leave her.' I said.
'Yes, she is the cutest, smallest thing I have ever seen!'
'That short, curly blonde hair, those mesmerizing blue eyes! I know, the color of her eyes will most probably change, but still she is so beautiful.' I recalled our newest, little friend. 'Those small hands and feet. So tiny and so sweet.' I sighed.
'I know!' he smiled. 'I still can't believe it. She was there in her one minute than in her arms the next.'
'I can't believe it either.'
I hadn't still been able to comprehend the fact that my best friend just had a baby girl. It was incredible and I was so helpless to describe my feelings. It was just like the first day of our marriage, I wasn't able to get it. And I felt the same thing for a whole week. I finally registered the fact that we were married when we got back from our honeymoon. And just like our marriage, I knew I needed time to understand that Sally was born and she was a member of us now.
'Here we are.' Jonathan said as we parked.
'Thank God! These shoes are killing me.'
'Want me to carry you home?' he asked as we stepped out.
'This dress is too little to allow me jumping in your arms. All the neighbors will see my knickers.' I teased.
'Good thinking, I don't want to share them with others.' he smirked.
'Aren't you a possessive one?'
'Can't help it babe. See this thing here,' he showed his wedding band, 'it allows me to be possessive.' he said as he pushed the button to our floor in the elevator.
I let out a laugh. 'I'd better take these off.' I said, leaning to my high-heeled black shoes and trying to open the tiny straps.
'You know, I don't really like the fact that the summer is gone and fall is coming. We couldn't enjoy summer.' Jonathan said as I placed my head on his shoulder suddenly. 'We didn't have any time to go swimming.'
'Yeah. If we hadn't spent each and every day of our off days, we could enjoy a long, relaxing vacation together.' I agreed slowly. 'Actually, it got me thinking, we never went swimming together.'
'You now wish that we swam in that river back in England, don't you?' he chuckled.
'I regret it now, but it was so cold in the water!'
'I know, but don't worry, we will go one of these days.' he kissed my forehead.
I let my eyelids closed as I was leaning on my hubby's shoulder. He placed his head softly on mine, my hair in a simple ponytail touching his. It was so peaceful until the elevator stopped suddenly, a red light replacing the lights inside.
'Oh my God.' I suddenly got up from his shoulder. 'Please don't tell me we are stuck.'
Jonathan started pushing buttons but it was no help. 'I guess we are.' he turned to me, fumbling for the emergency phone. 'Hello?' he spoke into the phone. 'No answer.'
'Gosh, I hate it when it happens.' I said angrily. He just looked at me, his eyes understanding. 'It feels awfully familiar, doesn't it?' I asked, sliding to the floor slowly.
'Yeah, pretty much.' he agreed, sitting next to me. 'I think it'd be better if we were called Mr. and Mrs. Elevator.'
I laughed. We were again trapped in the elevator of the hotel on the first day of our honeymoon in London. It was not a good start for a marriage. But it was divine because we stayed in each other's arms for three hours, just talking and listening to one another. And I eventually fell asleep in the fourth hour. We were finally rescued in the sixth hour. And the weirdest thing was that nobody bothered to explain why the elevator broke down.
'I told you we should have got married in an elevator.' I said. He started laughing too. I let out a yawn. 'Let's bet on how long will it take for us to be rescued, shall we?'
'I say a long time though I hope it won't be that long. I am so tired, babe.'
'Me too. I am dying to get some sleep.' I whined. 'We should try the emergency phone again.' I offered and he tried it again. He shook his head. 'So what do you say, should we sleep?'
'That looks like the best option now. Are you cold?'
'Only a little bit.' I said and he took of his jacket and placed it upon my shoulders. 'Thanks.' I kissed his cheek.
'You are more than welcome.' he said and with the jacket now warming me, I snuggled into my hubby, trying also to keep his body warm.
Life was weird. A year ago, I had been together with Peter, one of the worst guys ever and I had thought I was happy for I was engaged. Now I was married! And I was married to the only I guy I least expected I'd marry one day. And I didn't remember a time I was happier with a guy now more than I was with Jonathan.
My last year had been a pure bliss thanks to him. I fell deeply in love and in a real love where I was truly happy, not making myself believe that I was happy. And I was loved back as much as I did. Even my best friend fell deeply in love after years of bitching around, with Jonathan's best buddy. And now my best friend and his best friend had the cutest baby girl ever.
'I want to go back to England.' I whined once more as we were sitting in the elevator. 'I had such a great time there.'
'We will go once again, I promise.' he squeezed my hand. 'But that has to wait since we can't take any more off-days from work. And we still need to get out of here.'
'I know.' I nodded. 'The cottage was amazing.' I sighed, remembering our honeymoon.
It was ten in the morning when we woke up in the honeymoon suite of "Chloe and Jonathan's Getaway Inn" as my hubby called it. Too bad we had forgotten to ask for a wake-up call, so we were late for our plane and the next flight available was at 10 p.m. We could have waited but apparently we were not in the mood to wait. Luckily Jonathan was able to convince the airlines to give us a place in private plane destined to London, saying that we were newly-weds and we wouldn't be able to have our honeymoon if we went there late. The good people of the airlines thankfully believed us (we were not lying though) and arranged us two seats. And half an hour later we were taking off to England.
And three days later we were in the cottage Jonathan had grown up in. It was a perfect place. The cottage was from the 18th century. It was among the green fields, and near a small river with trees everywhere. And the good thing was, we were the only people there, only the two of us within five miles of reach. And the next civilization to us was a small town. We were lucky that we had enough food for us for four days; not that we were busy with eating.
It was a huge cottage of three bedrooms, two guest rooms, four bathrooms, a huge kitchen, a huge living room, one huge study and a cellar. And just like we had talked about, we made love in every room; that is three rooms a day. It was our honeymoon and the thing about honeymoon is to give into passion, so we were obliged to act like that. And believe me, I had my enough share with being naughty just in four days.
Returning back to New York was really hard. Leaving that cottage was very daring. After spending a half weekend peacefully together with my husband, it was not pleasant to go back to the city I loved the most. But we had to, and we did what we had to do. And life was going as good as it was back in our honeymoon, even better.
'What were the other things the photo told you?' he asked suddenly as I was drowsing off.
'What?' I asked back, my eyes opening all of a sudden.
'You told me when we were looking at the photo I had taken of you that there were things you realized as you looked at it. You seemed like you had more to tell about those, didn't you?' he asked slowly into my ear as my head was placed above his shoulder, just under his mouth.
'Oh… it's just…' I murmured sleepily. 'Did you notice my tattoo on that photo? It seems so… distinct. It seems like it was meant. And the second I saw it on that photo, I thought that… okay, this sounds so lame, I won't say it.'
'Just say it already, please babe.' he softly asked of me.
'Okay… I felt like there was a reason for I had a tattoo of a "J" in a heart. It was meant for you through it all. Unknowingly I had your tattoo even before meeting you.' I said, my cheeks getting red already. 'Hubby, is it fate?'
He just looked at me, then leaned down and kissed me ever softly. 'It must be.' he said. 'I never told you about this but once I had gone to a fortuneteller and she told me that I'd marry a Chloe when I was around 30. I hadn't believed her until we got married.'
'So it really must be fate.' I smiled, staring at him.
'And what was the last thing you noticed about the photo?'
'That I want a dozen kids of you.' I laughed. 'I know I had told you that I don't want kids but… whenever I look at you, I can't help but think how our kids would look like. And I now want kids, lots of them!'
'Well, we'll have lots of time to work on those.' he smirked. 'And we can start working on one when we get out of here.' he then said seductively.
'Why not?' I replied with a huge smile on my face. 'But first we have to get out of here, and that seems quite hard for the time being Jonathan.'
'Yeah. So, wanna sleep?'
'Sure.' I said and settled myself in his arms. 'I love you.' I said, and received a kiss on my cheek in return.
'I love you too.' he said while I was closing my eyes.
There I was, trapped in an elevator again, again with Jonathan Mason. 10 months had changed everything. The first time it happened, we had no idea about one another, now we had a whole lifetime to learn things about each other. I loved Jonathan Mason, former Women Hunter, now my dearly beloved husband and the one I loved more than anything.
With a huge smile on my face, with a golden wedding band on my finger, with my husband's wrapped around my body, I fell asleep in an elevator in a fall night in New York City. Life could not be any better…
AN: This was the final chapter sniff. It's hard to accept the fact that I just posted the last chap. This has been my baby! Aw, I love this story. And I'll rewrite it when I have the chance, time and patience.
Huge kisses to everyone who has supported me all through it and many thanks to everyone who read and reviewed. Thanks lot guys! Hope you all liked the story...
I am posting new chaps for Mom's Love Arrows, but I have no idea how frequent it would be. And I am now working on a oh-so sad short story and a new fiction. I'll start posting them when I somehow finish with them. So, take care and hope you'll read the new ones too.