Beautiful Disaster

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Odette, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Beautiful Disaster

    Cameron and Ella are opposite in every way possible; she from the Middle East and he
    American, poor and wealthy, a mute and a businessman. But somehow, as all love stories
    proceed, their worlds soon become entangled, and before either can take control, their
    relationship spins out of control. But Ysabella has secrets of her own, and she's not sure
    Cameron is ready to embrace them.

    ~ ~ ~


    Cameron is the son of Isaac and Emma Ford and brother to four other siblings that comprise of the Ford name. Born from a family of politicians, to fashion designers, and television personalities, Cameron was taught to withhold the family name by attending the best private schools across the country followed by a degree in business from the highly prestigious school of Columbia. Now he is the executive manager of his father’s business, Ford LLC, a highly-praised law firm spanning in 195 countries around the world. Still, contrary to popular belief, Cameron is unlike most stuck-up rich kids with opportunities practically thrown in his lap - his father made him work for the family title before it officially became his the year he graduated college. He is currently dating Miranda Churchill, a heiress to her families’ multi-million dollar trust fund, the daughter of famous modeling firm company founder Gillian Churchill and internationally renowned film producer Everett Sykes. They had been childhood friends ever since they could walk, and their relationship was something highly anticipated by both families. After all, there was a certain reputation to obtain, and the joining of two prestigious families was exactly what the media craved. Even though a marriage isn’t exactly what Cameron strives for at the moment, his parents prod him about it incessantly, hell-bent on setting up dates. Other than that, he is your average humbled guy that hates to be thought of as the ‘rich kid’ and enjoys hanging out with friends at the local bar whenever time allows.

    ~ ~ ~



    Ysabella was born to to a Yemeni mother and father; severely premature at birth, her presence was hidden from the world. Her mother feared that the war raging beyond their door would swallow her daughter whole, and thus Ysebella never experienced much of the world. Her more prominent childhood memories are of the bombs blowing nearby, and her mother screaming as her father beat her.
    Ysabella was only five when her father shot her mother in the chest, and the image of the pool of blood still haunts the grown woman to this day; since that day, she has not spoken. His only reason was that he suspected the blue-eyed girl of belonging to another father.
    Ysabella's father, Tarun, carted his young daughter around the Middle East, smuggling her through wars and barricades between nations. Knowing that her muteness often frustrated the man, she often wonders why he hadn't just taken her life as he had her mother's. But instead, he smuggled her about, often escaping to northern nations as refugees. His treatment of her was awful, however, and the mute girl had little defence against the three-hundred pound man. He humiliated her in public, forced her to wear a hajib, and used her as a toy rather than his own daughter.
    When Ysabella was eighteen, she escaped into the Iraqi night; and since then, she has never seen or spoken to her father. After six months she was able to access a ticket to America, a refugee from a war-stricken country. And despite the loss of her old lifestyle, Ysabella keeps most of its aspects in tact; she still refuses to speak, and always wears a hijab.
    Four years has passed since Ysabella (who is more commonly known as Ella in America) escaped her world and her father, but her fears and roots remain strong. Through a series of thoughtful people she managed to acquire a job as a maid and a home, and she takes each day one step at a time. She lives every day in fear that her father will discover her, and kill her like he did her mother.

    ~ ~ ~

  2. Cameron grabbed the Starbucks coffee thankfully from the waitress as he flew out of the tiny shop, staring down at his watch with a curse. Shit! Miranda was expecting him at noon sharp for some leadership banquet and it was only expected for the heiress to make her grand appearance, a Ford escorting her. They were sort of societies’ ‘it’ couple now, which meant they had to practically be attached to the hip during any public appearance. Miranda had a special place in his heart, since the playground at six years old, but that didn’t necessarily mean they were relationship material. Cameron was willing to try, though, for the sake of their families and public image. God forbid they broke up; even though his parents didn’t outwardly voice it, they made less than subtle hints that Miranda was to be his eventual wife as it was highly beneficial to not only the Ford’s name, but the Churchill’s.

    His phone vibrated from within the depths of his pocket, and he didn’t even have to look at the caller ID to see who was ringing him. Miranda.

    “Hey, Mir, look, I’m on my way, okay? Just hold tight,” he explained, gritting his teeth in pain once his head made collision with the roof of his car upon trying to enter it.

    “Cameron! They’re already starting to wheel out the dishes. Please, please hurry. I can’t step in there without you!” she loudly whispered.

    “I’m a block away,” Cameron replied, although perhaps that had been a white lie considering he was several blocks away from the eloquent halls.

    A tiny sigh filtered through the phone but Cameron knew that as a sign of her surrendering. “Alright babe, hurry up. I love you.”

    He felt his heart beating uncomfortably against his chest as he was at a loss of words. Almost regrettably, he murmured, “…I love you too.” Cameron heard the click of the line, shoving his phone back in his pocket as he pinched the bridge of his nose. Traffic was crazy in San Diego – how the hell would he get there in time?
  3. Pulling her hijab closer against her face each time she leaned down, Ysabella trailed around the expansive home with the vacuum, ensuring that all crevices and corners were spotless of dust and lint. It took at least three hours each day to simply vacuum the floors, but Ysabella did it every single day, ensuring that the home was immaculate when Miranda Churchill arrived home. After all, it was the least that the young woman could do each day; Miranda had been gracious enough to give the quiet, reserved woman a job and a guest bedroom in her home. It wasn't like she minded the work, either; it kept her out of the public eye but also gave her something to do.

    The young and beautiful businessman woman was gone for the entire day, going to one conference or another, leaving Ysabella in her solitude. The silence was also something she didn't mind; but luckily, when Miranda was home, she had learned quickly that Ysabella would not be speaking anytime soon, and didn't try any conversation. Ysabella was also glad that the woman took no offense; after all, the last thing she intended was to be rude.

    After putting the vacuum away, the maid tended to dusting every surface, the feathers moving in between picture frames and tall vases of fresh flowers. Most of them were gifts from Miss Churchill's boyfriend, Mr. Ford. He was a handsome man will apparently a big net worth, but it was rare that he inhabited this immaculate home with his girlfriend; if they did meet, it was usually in a public location.
    Staring into the smiling faces of the few photos, Ysabella smiled wryly to herself. She wondered what it was like, enjoying life with others – birthdays and weddings, even business meetings... everyone, for the most part, seemed happy in the images. It made Ysabella yearn for her own childhood photos, though she knew the scene would never be as joyous as these.
  4. Cameron parked his car just outside of the banquet halls, practically flying out of Mercedes-Benz car while attempting to adjust his Armani suit at the same time. Miranda would be upset – he was almost half an hour late! He plotted in his mind the things he would say to defend himself, quickly and quietly repeating in his head until interrupted by his girlfriend whom was standing at the door in a new chiffon day gown that seemed to accent her slender form and blonde curls perfectly. Cameron raised his hands in defense but was surprised when she simply shot him a quiet smile, looping her hands in his.

    “Let’s not start a scene,” she murmured into his ear, “just smile.” With that the woman quickly turned to adjust his skinny tie with her free hand before straightening up her form and guiding him into the spacious room. It didn’t take but a second for the large space to fill with applause at the young couple, relevant people in society of all sorts greeting them with friendly smiles. Cameron simply grinned awkwardly, never able to quite adjust to all the attention as his family and friends had. Maybe he was just the black sheep.

    ~ ~ ~

    After brunch had been finished and Cameron had explained his next business plans in thorough detail while Miranda put in her own input on matters she didn’t even know much of, the couple was stealing out of the large building and into the rush of paparazzi, questions flung in every direction at them: “When’s the wedding?”, “Where will your ceremony be hosted?”, “Cameron, do you intend to pop the question soon? And will there be media coverage?” Cameron just answered them with uncertain responses, happy when they were rushing to his car on the far end of the parking lot.

    “I say,” she began, holding his hand with a bright smile, “that we go back to my place and spend the day together.”

    Cameron glanced at his watch. “I-Miranda, you know I have business-”

    She glanced up at him. “Can it wait, please? C-Cam I miss you. This is the first time I’ve seen you in, what, at least a week! We need this, okay?”

    Cameron glanced in her direction – she sold it with the puppy dog eyes. “Fine, Mir. I’m sure Mr. Montgomery can wait until tomorrow for that meeting.”
  5. Just as the California sun was beginning to make its descent back towards the horizon, Ysabella was stirring a large pot of soup on the stove. She had followed one of the cookbooks Miranda had bought but never opened carefully, and the chicken soup scent was now filling the kitchen, making it feel less than a magazine cover and more like a home.

    As she continued to stir, there was a faint knock to the door. Ysabella rushed and peaked through the small window before allowing Miss Churchill and her beau inside. Miranda acknowledged her maid with a wide smile, and Ysabella just nodded in response.
    She was thankful that the hijab came between others and her emotions; Miranda had no sense of if the girl was smiling or frowning, and it was often a blessing to Ysabella, who disliked her uncontrollable emotions profusely. Over the years she had learned to control the emotions in her eyes, but her lips had always betrayed her.

    “Something smells wonderful,” Miranda smiled, pulling in Mr. Ford by the hand. He followed in apprehensively, smiling slightly at Ysabella when their gazes met.
    Adjusting her niqab once more over her face, pinning it tighter than before, the young woman guided them into the kitchen. Miss Churchill seemed more than thrilled to have dinner already on the stove, and praised her help for the fine work. Ysabella just turned back to the wooden spoon and steaming pot, staring out the kitchen window as Miranda fawned over her lover.
  6. Cameron was surprised at how long his eyes managed to linger on the mysterious woman at the door, snapped back to reality when Miranda was dragging him to the kitchen, squealing softly in delight at the decadent smells wafting from the stove. He felt his own stomach rumble from the soup, only living on coffee at the moment – that and whatever Chinese takeout that happened to be in his apartment. Cameron had no idea how much he missed a warm, home-cooked meal until it was practically bubbling before him.

    Once the food was done, the woman wrapped in what looked like a hijab, set the bowls delicately on their placemats before turning her back to scrub down the kitchen appliances. “Your food is amazing-” was all Cameron could get out mid-spoonful before Miranda grabbed his hand softly, that ‘look’ in her eyes.

    “Cameron, stop,” she murmured.

    “W-why?” Cameron whispered just as low. “Am I missing something?”

    “Just enjoy your food, dear. Anyways, how was work?”

    ~ ~ ~

    After dinner the couple was preparing for bed, Miranda rubbing on her facial creams while Cameron changed into a simple gray t-shirt and sweats, brushing his teeth and treading back out to the bedroom. His girlfriend was already laying contently in bed, shiny blonde locks spilling before her. With a devilish grin, he leaned in close to her, firm hands sliding up her chemise before she stopped him with an apologetic smile.

    “I’m tired, babe. Maybe tomorrow,” she whispered, pulling that night wrap over her eyes.

    “Yeah, sure,” Cameron muttered, running a hand through his brunette locks, trying to hide the disappointment. “Hey, I’m goin’ to grab a drink. Night, Mir.”

    “Alright, hon. Night.”

    With that, he got up from bed, making his way back downstairs, only to be surprised by the sound of a soft voice, perfectly on pitch, coming from the dimly-lit kitchen. Cameron crept over to the archway, peaking in to see the mysterious woman singing quietly as she washed the dishes. His mouth dropped when their eyes met once more, scratching the back of his head awkwardly.

    “I’m sorry, I was just getting something to drink. I-well, I just got here.”
  7. Singing was one of the few refuges Ysabella had from everyday life and thoughts; when she sang she felt free for whatever had happened before, like the song grabbed her being completely, transferring her to another place entirely.
    Whens she had taken her voice, however, she had also taken her ability to sing freely; now, it was only when she was alone that she would quietly sing the Arabic lullabies and even some of the modern radio songs to herself. But never had someone heard her...

    ...until tonight.

    She spun around immediately, feeling her cheeks heat. And immediately her hands scrambled to ensure that her skin was covered, relief washing through her when she realized she had pull to release her hijab. Mr. Ford had already seen and heard enough, and she would be mortified if her embarrassment was blatantly revealed to him.

    Pushing her discomfort backwards, Ysabella reached up for a tall glass, handing it carefully to the man across from her, ensuring their skin did not touch.

    "You have a beautiful voice," he murmured.
    She felt a smile tug at the corners of her lips, but Ysabella pushed it back immediately. Instead, she gave him a curt nod before returning to her dishes, praying that the man would leave her be and return to woman whom he was meant to give attention to.
    As she heard his footsteps tread away, Ysabella wondered if Mr. Ford would tell Miranda he had heard her mute maid speak - and then she prayed that he would not. There was no doubt in Ysabella's mind that Miranda would prod her to speak, then knowing well enough that the young woman was capable and knew at least a bit of English.
    There was most certainly not something she wanted to face anytime soon, and as she returned to what was left of dinner, Ysabella hoped that Mr. Ford would have the respect not to say a word.
  8. Cameron murmured thanks before retreating back up the stairs, his mind still boggled in a good way. It made him curious to as to why she spent her life mute, but she could be rest assured he wouldn’t say a word to Miranda. Cameron respected people’s privacy even though it wasn’t always requited to him, and whatever happened tonight seized to exist as far he was concerned.

    ~ ~ ~

    A few hours later, the sun began to peak through the luxurious curtains as they were pried open by the bubbly-blonde as she leaned down to press a sweet kiss to her boyfriends lips. In response, Cameron sat up, wrapping an arm around her waist playfully. “What a treat to wake up to,” he breathed, grinning up at her.

    She swatted at him with a giggle. “Oh, I know.”

    Cameron watched her brush her long golden locks in her vanity mirror, clad in a loose-fitting white blouse and a tight black pencil skirt. Rising from the bed, he arched his eyebrow at Miranda, strolling over to her side. “Where you heading to?”

    “The girls called a last-minute get together at Bleu Bohème for lunch. I wanted to invite you but they said it’s kind of a girl’s thing. You’ll be okay, right? Ysabella can whip you up some breakfast perhaps.”

    Cameron looked down at his girlfriend in absolute bewilderment. She always did this; made plans whenever he had cancelled all his just to cater to her. He knew she didn’t mean it, although that didn’t stop him from being upset every time she did. “Well, I have work to get to so by the time you get back, I’ll most likely be gone.”

    She pouted at him. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise! Saturday, New York for the weekend – me and you, okay?”

    “If time allows,” was all he responded with, walking towards the bathroom and shutting the door behind him.


  9. Ysabella had woke long before they did, beginning to tend to the house once more. Miranda always insisted that the young woman could sleep in on occasion, but Ysabella had no desire; nightmares plagued her most nights, which caused her to crave when the sun would peak through her blinds and she could return to the life she knew and loved.

    “Bye, Ysabella!” Miss Churchill called as she pulled on a pair of painful black heels at the door.
    The young woman nodded her head and watched the the businesswoman flew from the door, her Mustang speeding off into the direction of the city.
    It wasn't until she began to clean the house, scrubbing the bathroom and the kitchen floors, that she realized that Mr. Ford was still in the home. She hadn't realized that the water in the master bath had been running until it turned off, and soon she heard the bedroom door opening and the handsome man trotting down the stairs.

    By that time she already had a small breakfast for him made, the young woman already having nursed a bowl of cereal before Miranda and her boyfriend had woken.
    At first Mr. Ford seemed apprehensive to enter the kitchen, seeing Ysabella busy at work, but she ushered him in immediately, gesturing to the table of food she had set out.

    "Would you ever want to do anything other than being a...housemaid?"
    His question, as he dug through his food, startled her. Ysabella slowly turned, and very slightly shrugged, then shook her head.
    "W...Well I don't mean that in a bad way. There's nothing wrong with what you do, it's just you have so much talent."
    Her brow furrowed lightly, confusion apparent.
    “Your singing,” he clarified.
    Ysabella's eyes immediately widened, and she turned away, her hands filled with the dishes he was already beginning to clear off. She didn't want to have this conversation... not now, not with him. She had hoped that he would have forgotten about the singing, or dismissed it entirely. Her assumptions were wrong, however, and she felt her pulse quicken at the thought.
    It wasn't until she began to clean the dishes that her hands were shaking. And of course, Mr. Ford had to finish at that exact moment, approaching her and placing his dish in the sink.

    "Are you okay?" he questioned in concern. “I'm sorry if I offended you. I didn't mean for it to sound like I was insulting your job choice or anything. I truly apologize."
    Immediately she busied herself with the dishes, trying her best to mask the panic she felt setting in. In an attempt to alleviate his worries, however, she just shook her head and tried not notice his gaze on the side of her face.
  10. Cameron was just trying to be friendly, but now he understood why Miranda told him to lay it on easy. After all, was it just him, or did the woman seem to be actually afraid of him? He didn’t want to make her feel uncomfortable in any way, so with that he backed away from the woman as she scrubbed down the dishes, nodding quietly. “Alright then, will if there’s anything you need, or want to talk about, let me know.” Briefly, she looked over her head, meeting his gaze for just a second, an apology and the slightest bit of a smile beyond the blue. That was enough to have Cameron smiling like a complete idiot until he quickly recovered, offering a wave in her direction before disappearing back upstairs. He intended to clean, shave, and get dressed in the few articles of clothing kept in a drawer upstairs before heading home and actually being productive.

    These were things that pushed them apart, even though Cameron hated to admit it. They would act like a couple before the cameras, but whenever they were alone it was simply sweet words and quick dinners before one of them would rush off again. Sometimes he felt like he couldn’t even deal with it anymore and had thought of ending things more than once. It was only his families’ silent wishes of their proposal that kept him going, mixed in with the hope she would change and return to that girl he could easily relate to when he was younger.

    Once he was dressed in a plain sweater over a white-collared shirt and khaki slacks, he peered into the kitchen, saying goodbye to the mysterious woman before jingling his car keys and stepping out to the Mercedes-Benz.
  11. ~ ~ ~

    The next day, Ysabella found herself in the back seat of Miranda's Mustang, trying to calm her racing heart. Despite her maid's silent apprehensive and rejections, Miss Churchill had insisted that Ysabella come with her to the supermarket, claiming that she would know much better what to pick up than she did.
    The woman clearly didn't know how nerve wrecking the entire ordeal was for her young companion; Ysabella had been dreading in all day and the night before, fearing (despite how irrational she knew it was) that someone from Yemen would see her. She had made sure to wear a heavy hijab that curtained all but her eyes, but still, her heart raced as Mr. Ford opened the door for her, allowing her to step from the vehicle.

    “I know you wrote a list,” Miss Churchill said as they entered, her Blackberry firmly held in her grasp, “but I don't know what half of these things are, Ysabella... or if they even sell them here.”
    Ysabella looked around the store apprehensively, feeling utterly out of place and her element. She could only hope that they could get out quickly, and she could retreat back to the suburban mansion.
    Cameron arched an eyebrow, peering at the list. "Maybe I can help. I mean, I guess two sets of hands are better than one?"
    “Well, do you know what any of this even is?” Miranda asked.

    Before Mr. Ford could even reply, however, Miss Churchill's Blackberry shrilled in her hand. She stared down at the screen before looking at her boyfriend, apology in her eyes. Her voice was low as she told him, “I have to take this one, hon... just... see if you can find anything. But... be careful, okay?” Her eyes immediately moved to glance at Ysabella, who was gazing down at the fresh bundles of pink tulips.
    She noticed the man's discreet eyeroll although he nodded, feigning a warm smile. "Alright."

    And so immediately the duo retreated to the interior of the store, Mr. Ford leading the way apprehensively through the aisles. Ysabella cautiously pushed the cart behind him, but as the hour wore on, it gradually began to fill with all they needed.

    When she found one of the familiar products from back home, Ysabella showed it to Mr. Ford, pointing at the label.
    "Alright, so we got that," he murmured, checking it off the list.
    She picked up another, examining the label carefully, written in Arabic.
    "I've never tried anything Arabic before," he mused. "I heard you guys have awesome Moroccan rissoles? Excuse me if I shamelessly butchered that word."
    Ysabella could feel a slight smile on her lips, but she pushed it back, wishing that she could tell Mr. Ford all about the food back home; how rich and flavourful it was, with love and spices infused in every dish. But the words never left her lips, and as her gaze met his for a moment, disappointment shrouded her orbs.
  12. Cameron raised his brows at her, surprised by the rapid changes of emotion that flashed through her light blue orbs which made him believe he might have said something wrong. Was it the rissoles? Was he being too personal? Talking with Ysabella was like walking on a tight rope – you never exactly knew when you’d take one wrong step and go spiraling into the bottomless darkness. He simply shot her a tiny smile, handing her the list as he took control of the cart. She would probably get to everything quicker than him.

    Cameron was about to follow Ysabella as she started walking once more, probably off to find another ingredient, but was stopped by a pair of hands covering his eyes. “Guess who?” that light, feminine voice whispered into his ear, nibbling on the lobe softly.

    “Lemme’ guess – pretty blonde, green eyes, and about yay high?” Cameron made the gesture with his hands, snickering when she slapped him on the shoulder.
    “Can you excuse us for a moment, Ella?” Miranda asked as the woman simply nodded, stalking off down the aisles. “Look, I’m sorry sweetie. You know how hard it is helping your mother run an international magazine?”
    Cameron fought the urge to roll his eyes. “I’m guessing you don’t understand how time-consuming running a corporate business is, but since y’know you’re my girlfriend and all, I at least try to make time with you.”
    She pouted. “I’m so sorry, Cam. Like I said, I’ll make it up to you!”
    “And when’s that happening, Mir? I thought you were making it up for me now, but I’m finding better conversations with your mute housemaid!”
    Miranda bit her lip, fingers running through his hair. “I’m serious this time, Cam. You and me – New York for the weekend. We already have a press conference there anyways.”
    Cameron couldn’t believe what he was hearing, grabbing her wrist with a scowl and pushing it away. “So this is what it’s all about?”
    Miranda gasped at him. “W-What are you talking about, baby?”
    “You only want to go to New York with me for some stupid media coverage? A few more stories of our wedding in the planning to appease society? That’s fucking low, Mir, even for you. I thought we could actually be romantic for once but it seems like you only want to pretend!”
    Tears dotted her eyes as she whimpered at him. “Please don’t say that, Cam. You know I love you.”
    “Awesome job of showing it!” Cameron exclaimed, not giving much of a damn that a few curious people were now witnessing the celebrity couple fighting.
    “Please don’t make a scene,” Miranda whispered. “People are watching.”
    “You don’t have to worry about that,” he hissed, “I’m out.”

    And with that, Cameron stormed down the aisle, not watching his path until he bumped into Ysabella as the fruit in her hands scattered across the linoleum.

    “I’m so sorry,” he whispered, reaching for the oranges. “I-I have to get out of here.”

    Cameron didn’t wait a response that would never come from the mysterious woman, or the choked sobs of Miranda behind him. He just started for the door, slamming it behind him as he walked out onto the street.
  13. Ysabella watched as the scene unfolded before her; the two of them fighting over some incessant and unimportant detail before one would depart, only to leave the other in ruins. Their arguments were usual, and generally about the same things – how they lacked spending time together, a potentially pending wedding, the media coverage of their relationship...
    But it was rare that they occurred in public, and that was the aspect that made this one more detrimental their bond. Even Ysabella, who rarely enjoyed television, knew that their places were often plastered over the gossip news and magazines.

    Forgetting the rest of the list, Ysabella gingerly took Miranda's wrist and pulled her towards the registers. She had pulled on a pair of sunglasses to curtain her pained expression, but Ysabella could still see that her rigid shoulders were shaking.

    They paid quickly and soon they were starting their silent ride home. Miranda gabbed on the phone with her mother, sobbing about what had happened, as she weaved in and out of traffic. Ysabella couldn't help but grip onto the side of her seat and they sped up and they slowed down rapidly at the red lights. All the way her eyes gazed out into the city, watching as tall skyscrapers gradually made the transition to the grassy, wealthy suburbs of San Diego.

    Still on the phone with her mother, Miranda ran into the house when they arrived. Ysabella timidly stayed behind and carried the groceries indoors.

    She wondered if, if she did speak, she could somehow convey to Miss Churchill what a truly blessed life she had. Seeing her upset made Ysabella yearn for that feeling; to be worried about a relationship rather than your life at stake. She would never know the little things that Miranda fret over, however, and knew that the war and death she had faded many years ago meant little to the businesswoman. After all, she was caught her own bubble of a world, consumed by her own problems. And, gaging from her reaction, they were just as detrimental to her as being killed by her father was to Ysabella.
    Of course, she better at hiding it; Ysabella was thankful for that.
  14. Cameron spent the duration of his night nursing a small glass of whiskey over a few business files he had neglected for day, knowing that had it not been for his more-than-efficient assistant, the company would start to crumple from the bottom up. After all that had happened only a few hours ago, Cameron reminded himself where the prize was and that happened to be the continuous expansion of his father’s dream – Ford, LLC. He intended to make it his dream too, and that would first begin with him actively spending more time pursuing clients. As far as Cameron was concerned, Miranda and his relationship was at a standstill, and the only reason he could think as to why they were still dating was due to the fact their families’ reputations depended on it. But deep, deep down, Cameron remembered the little girl Miranda used to be – fun and exciting, and entirely unopposed to getting dirty. He fervently wanted to fall for that woman, and not the one she was trying to be.

    He glanced down at his buzzing phone, Miranda’s number glowing in the dark of the night. Cameron stared at the iPhone for several good seconds before clicking the decline button and irritably stuffing the mobile device in his bottom drawer with a scowl. He wasn’t going to let her off that easy – no matter how hard she tried. For years upon years he had let Miranda control him, whether he was aware of it or not. Now she would get a little taste of rejection – she would experience probably for the first time in her life that not everything came easily to her with the snap of a finger. Contrary to popular belief, regardless of his trust fund, Cameron had worked for his position, and damn hard too. All she had to do was ask mommy for a prestigious position and the deed was done. Even though they seldom talked about it, he positively hated that fact about her; how she never had to truly lift a finger in her life. Cameron didn’t even blame her – he blamed her parents for making her believe that everything in life came easy.

    Cameron let out a shallow sigh, retiring from the office immediately as he treaded towards his grand room. Tomorrow at nine sharp in the morning he had a closing for a big deal in Santa Monica. And the day after that, followed by the next few days after that, he planned on making his own time with no one else to share it with. Miranda was shit out of luck if she expected him to follow her to New York like a puppy. Guess the Queen will have to get off her pedestal and receive a harsh dose of reality for once – Cameron couldn’t possibly be happier to give it to her.
  15. “Thank you for doing all this, Ysabella,” Miss Churchill murmured the next day as she settled down for her morning cup of coffee and french toast.

    Ysabella just nodded her head, knowing well enough that she hadn't done anything important or even different in the last twelve hours; however, after her boyfriend had screened her calls, it seemed as though a new side came out to the young woman. She seemed a lot more docile, and craved the company of anyone's voice, if even Ysabella wouldn't reply back.

    “He's so stubborn!” she continued as she poured some of the syrup on her food. Her maid was already tending to lunch, preparing another meal that would sit on the stove until Miss Churchill arrived back from one of her shopping sprees or business ventures. She continued, “he doesn't realize that there is a lot of give and take in a relationship like ours. I always forgive him when he has to fly out on business meetings or go see clients, but the moment I get a call in our alone time, he makes a scene!”
    After her phone buzzed, and Ysabella was thankful; now the young woman could have someone to advise her and listen to all that rambling. Her mother seemed to be the best person for it, though sometimes it seemed she egged on her daughter's rather more than she tried to talk her anger down.

    “Mum, I know he's a good guy but honestly... sometimes I wonder what goes through his head!” Miranda gushed, forking another bit of food into her mouth, “he did it right in front of everyone too, like we were back at his place or something. I know that everyone fights, but it was quite childish of him to make a scene.”
    There was more speaking on the other end of the line, and Miranda fired back, her voice gradually becoming calmer.
    By the end, she had said, “okay, we'll held downtown then and do a bit of shopping. Maybe it'll get my mind out of this mess.”

    Ysabella couldn't help but wonder if that was truly what Miranda believed; she was a smart woman, after all, but seemed more keen on spending money than actually working... whether it be towards bettering her relationship or advancing the magazine she worked for. Though she never once voiced her opinions aloud, Ysabella was rather astonished by the lifestyle the Americans around her led; fretting over small things, so trivial in the large picture. And soon they will mean little to everyone, as though they had ceased to exist.
    Again, Ysabella craved the feeling; to have fleeting fears, unhaunting and easily disposable.
  16. Cameron stepped out of that meeting so happy he could kiss someone. Two million dollars had just been pocketed by the man himself, the deal closing just as anticipated. Miranda always said she wanted to go to Tahiti, but due to their current circumstances, he didn’t believe they were going anywhere. It made his smile pull downwards into a frown as he thought of the potential vacation they could have had together, and how romantic it could have been. He supposed this was one of the many cycles of a relationship like theirs – fight, fight harder, ignore each other, and then that amazing makeup sex that came afterwards. Cameron would stay true to himself and avoid her for the time being; maybe a little space was all they needed to make things brand new.

    “Hey, pal!” a voice filtered into his ear, already clipping his shoulder with a friendly grin. Cameron jumped, eyes meeting the source of the sound before a gasp escaped his lips.
    “Paul! Damn, man, how long has it been? Three months? Where the hell have you been?” he inquired, locking his best friend in a bear hug. He was the exact opposite of an A-lister, working as a musician in a low-key bar on the less ‘affluent’ side of town. “I missed you; Christ! Call next time.”
    The dark blonde chuckled, tatted arm reaching for a flier from within the depths of his leather satchel. “I know, I know. You don’t have to worry about me running away again. I found a real nice place in town and a good gig to match. Hey, speaking of gigs, I have something for you – my opening debut is Thursday night at The Sting. I know it’s a scandal for you rich folks to hang out in seedy bars, but we’ve been best friends since high--”
    “You know that doesn’t bother me,” Cameron shot back, slightly offended. Paul should be the one to know he wasn’t like the orthodox trust fund child. “Sure, man, I’ll be there. Thursday, eight o clock right?” His eyes skated over the date and time etched on the pamphlet. He promised himself some free time so here it was. Meeting up with a best friend he hadn’t seen or heard from in forever automatically trumped any other plans.
    “Yeah, I know. Don’t even know where that came from. Maybe we can catch up over a few drinks? You have any time right now?”
    Cameron winced, already having a secret agenda in mind, which happened to involve lots of Indian cuisine. “Ah, I can’t, I have to…get to somewhere but, rain check? We can catch some after your debut on Thursday.”
    Paul nodded with a smirk. “Sounds ace, man. Say hi to Miranda for me?”
    He nodded, trying to hide a scowl. “Yeah, sure. Alright, catch ya’ Thursday!”

    With that, Cameron started for his car making mental notes to pick up a few things in the local market.
  17. After Miss Churchill escaped the neighbourhood once more in her mother's large silver SUV, Ysabella tended to her daily routine; she ate a small sandwich on her own before beginning to load the dishwasher, strip the beds, and haul all the laundry down the three flights of stairs to the basement. She left a small trail of garments as she went, and as she reascended up the stairs, she gathered them.

    Just as she was loading up a second load into the expansive washing machine, however, there was a faint knock at the door. At first Ysabella thought it was just her ears playing tricks on her, but when the load bell rang she rushed up the steps and ensured that her niqab was covering her properly.

    She was surprised when she looked through the little peephole that Mr. Ford was standing on the other side, his arms full of what looked like groceries. He was also carrying a large bouquet of pink tulips, causing Ysabella to smile meekly. She knew that the two of them would not be separated too long; Mr. Ford was surely a hopeless romantic, and Miranda didn't want to tarnish their reputation in front of the media.

    Opening the door to him, Ysabella regarded him with a slight shake of her head, signalling that Miranda was not at home.

    Cameron shook his head, offering the flowers towards her. "I came for you. Well, I mean, not like creep you out or anything. I'm actually not this nervous? But, uh, I figured you could give me a few pointers on that Indian cuisine."

    Her eyes widened significantly; he had come, not to see her long time girlfriend lover, but rather the rich woman's mute maid? The thought in itself was a little astonishing, and Ysabella couldn't help but allow apprehension to settle in the pit of her stomach. Before she could as much as cock her head to the side, though, Mr. Ford entered the home, taking off his boots and handing her the flowers. She was also surprised that he had noticed her interest in them back at the grocery store... she had only regarded them briefly.

    Once he placed the bags of groceries done on the counter, curiosity piqued at Ysabella and timidly, she peaked inside. As she turned to him, her eyes rose the questions... what and more importantly, why?

    "I thought we could, or you could rather, teach me some Indian dishes. I, mean, if you're up to it. I didn't mean to intrude..."

    She tried not to smile, but nodded her head nonetheless. How could she turn him away; his gestures were the closest to friendship she had ever received in this world?

    After riffling through her old recipes, written mainly her mother's elegant Arabic hand, Ysabella pointed to a dish that was written partially in English. It was one of her favourites when she was a young girl, and she hoped that this man would enjoy it just as much as she did.
    He once again surprised her as well as he began to pull out pots and pans from the cupboards, and collect the ingredients they had needed; back home, no man would ever be caught in the kitchen... much less want to actually cook. She stood for a moment, stunned, and Mr. Ford soon turned to her, confusion in his face.
  18. Cameron rolled up the sleeves of his red sweater, already beginning to wash his hands, until he noticed shock in Ysabella’s eyes, as if it was so alien for a man to offer his help in the kitchen. He honestly couldn’t imagine a country that believed in beating and raping their women mercilessly, and Cameron didn’t want her to think, for a second, that he was like that. He would never have the heart to buy all the ingredients, interrupt her privacy, and then ask her to prepare his meal for him. If Cameron wasn’t such a clutz in the kitchen when alone, he would have proudly offered to cook her dinner for a change – he doubted Ysabella got as much special treatment as she deserved, although he was glad at least Miranda treated her maids much better than all her other bitchy girlfriends.

    “I kind of want to learn how to do this, hands-on, I’ve always enjoyed Indian cuisine, and well, who better to learn it from?” Cameron was most likely rambling now, a serious problem he had adapted whenever nervous, which he had no idea why he was now. But instead of delving into thoughts he would rather live without, he cut off the faucet, unloading all the necessary dishes and appliances to get moving. Cameron assumed Miranda was out on a shopping spree, something she often did whenever they got in a fight. Thankfully, during these sprees she always spent the night at her mother’s house, drinking apple martinis while she talked about how much of a shit boyfriend he was, while the older woman simply nodded, adding more fire to the flame. Cameron assumed her mother did this only because she knew Miranda would never break up with a Ford intentionally. Even though he three other brothers and a sister, all the men in his house were committed to a woman, save for one that was only seventeen years old.

    The woman simply nodded from behind her hijab, slicing tomatoes and pointing at the potatoes for him to peel them. Several minutes into the task, he was already fumbling, the first potato he sliced looking like a mutant, deformed piece of mash.

    “Okay, I don’t think I’m exactly doing this right,” he murmured loud enough for her to hear. “Why the hell won’t this slicer work?” Cameron maneuvered with the small device, only making the potato look worse. He was hopeless.
  19. She had to hold back her slight laughs as she watched, from the corner of her eye, Mr. Ford attempt to peel the potato. It appeared as though he had never done the task in his life and his fingers fumbled so much that Ysabella feared he would cut himself or the peeler would go flying.
    Shyly, she reached over and adjusted the peeler in his hand so that it was in a better position. At first he still fumbled as he tried again, cursing the potatoes themselves for being so difficult, but it appeared he was a quick learner. Soon all the of the potato skin had been removed, leaving the vegetables naked and ready to be chopped.

    When she had finished her own job, she pointed out the next step in the recipe for Dal Shorba. She placed her finger on the Arabic words for green chilies, then reaching over and giving them to Mr. Ford. He caught on her gestures immediately, and rapidly their soup was beginning to come together in the pot. It smelled wonderful, as well, as she brought the mixture of water, spices and various vegetables to a boil and then a simmer.

    Just as he was cutting the last ingredient, however, hard boiled eyes that needed to be chopped, Ysabella noticed the new frustration in his eyes. He sulked and put the knife down, resting his forehead on his palm in defeat, “I can't do it! This is incredulous, I'm a grown man that can't even slice up a tomato.”

    Ysabella watched with a soft, timid smile as he stood there like a child pouting. Really, she had thought he had been doing wonderfully; if only she had this help more often, and things would have taken a lot less time.

    She contemplated tapping him on the shoulder in hopes of soothing his woes, but instead, her lips parted.
    “You are fine,” she told him timidly, “...almost done."
  20. Cameron glanced backwards at her in bewilderment, as if he had heard a ghost. Was she really…speaking to him? Apparently the shock had overwhelmed his being, mouth gaping open in surprise, not even realizing the fact a damp liquid started to cover his right hand on the cutting board. Cameron glanced down, finger sliced by the sharp knife and gushing everywhere. “Shit,” he cursed, grabbing a small towel and wrapping it around the wound. The woman simply rushed upstairs, returning in two minutes with a first aid kit that contained a bandage in which she heavily wrapped around his sliced middle finger before disinfecting it first. He winced, muttering, “I guess I’m not as smooth as I come off to be.”

    She simply smiled, grabbing the kit and leaving him alone in the kitchen once more as he carefully finished the tomatoes and dropped it into the big pot of bubbling soup. The clock was ticking to a late nine o’clock and of course Cameron didn’t want to leave her alone, but then again, he didn’t want to wake up to Miranda trying to plead for his attention again. Still, going back to his big empty pent house wasn’t any better and he assumed the both of them secretly craved for a friend at this point. Cameron wasn’t sure whether his parents would laugh or cry at him due to the fact he would much rather spend his nights hanging out with a mute housemaid. They would prod him about going to some upscale-socialite party where the guest list was exclusive and it wasn’t extraordinary to share a toast with some of the biggest celebrities in the world.

    Cameron secretly knew the life wasn’t for him, though, and he’d much rather spend it watching movies with down to earth people like Ysabella. He didn’t want to be thought of as a child of the prestigious Ford family; he just wanted to be known as Cameron – Cam, even. He didn’t want people to spend time with him just because of his net worth or significance in society, and with Ysabella, he finally felt like he was just another guy. When Paul disappeared, he had virtually no sincere friends, and to be honest, Cameron had been lonely.

    “I’m thinking once this soup gets off the stove I can set up a movie in the parlor and…we can watch it,” Cameron muttered while busily stirring the pot, eyes downcast. “I mean, if you’re up to it. Again, I don’t want you to feel like I’m forcing you into anything just because of who I am. You can say no whenever you want, I won’t be offended, I swear. It’s just that-” he paused himself, not even realizing he had been rambling until that small glimmer of humor flashed in Ysabella’s eyes as he gabbed on and on, “and I’m rambling. Sorry. Horrible, nervous habit.” Cameron Ford, not acting like the charming businessman society was used to? Scandalous.