Inside Naomi's cottage the mood was pensive to say the least, Zoe sat on the divan staring at a pacing Naomi as Freddie sat in a chair worrying her bottom lip, you didn't see Naomi lose it often but she looked as if she was about to blow. The dressers had come in after they returned from the opening ceremony to begin the Festival of Feasts, to rid her of her clothing and take her outfit to be cleaned. She'd changed into a pair of khaki light linen pants and a t-shirt. She didn't know what to do, she could be mad at Freddie but this was what she wanted, sort of, a chance to see him and talk to him. She turned sharply and stopped short in front of the chair containing Freddie's nervous figure. Freddie's mop of tight brown reddish blonde curls bounced up as she stared down at her.
“Freddie, I'm not mad,” she said in calm voice.
Freddie and Zoe both released a sigh of relief, “ah good mon, I'm sorry Naomi. I didn't know what to do. Dhani asked that I not say anything and I know you didn't need this sort of business on your mind before the opening ceremony.”
Naomi nodded in agreement, “you're right. I thought this is what I wanted but now that he's here and I can talk to him live and in person, I'm not sure I know what to say.”
“Tell him you're sorry. You made a mistake and you want to make it up to him,” Zoe told her.
She loved her sister's positive outlook on life but she knew it was never going to be that easy. She smiled towards Zoe, “that's wonderful advice Zoe. I don't think he'll bite, but that is wonderful advice.”
Zoe shrugged, “is Al here with them?” she asked Freddie in an eager tone.
Freddie looked at her surprised, “No, he's not Zoe. I think he had a trial coming up. So it's just Dhani and Doug.”
Naomi heard a little disappointment noted in Zoe's voice. She was getting the feeling that her sister was having some blossoming feeling for a certain handsome Hispanic attorney. Boy, her father was going to have a fit with them becoming interracial dating ambassadors she chuckled to herself.
“What's so funny,” Freddie asked.
“Nothing, Freddie. Nothing at all, well maybe something is funny the lunacy of this all,” she looked around at them and threw her hands in the air in a gesture of defeat, “I love him. I love him, you guys with all that I have, with all that I am but we don't have a chance in hell of ever being together. What am I supposed to do?”
She slumped next to Zoe on the couch and just looked at both of them.
“Do you think you can get out of the engagement to Randolph?” Freddie said with hopeful eyes.
“I don't know Freddie. I don't think this promised marriage has anything to do with the laws of the country but you know my father. He lives by his own code and his code says he made a promise of betrothal to the Duke and Duchess of Endlemen and I'm going to keep it whether I want to or not. Momma said that she'd talk to him about it.”
“Really, mom's going to talk to him about it? Wow,” Zoe was shocked since her mother didn't regularly defy her husband but when it came to her babies I guess she was willing to take the risk.
“Yea, that's what I thought too, Zoe. But she thinks this whole arrangement is archaic and kind of stupid. Also, I don't think she likes Randolph that much.” Naomi laughed.
“My god, who would like him, he's such a prick, excuse my language,” Freddie said.
They all laughed for a moment, it was odd for someone to be disliked by everyone.
“Okay, enough of that until momma speaks to him I'm still going to have go through with the engagement. But now my issue is, what do I do about Douglas?”
“Go see him. He needs for you to see him and you need to soon.” Zoe urged her.
Freddie nodded in total agreement, “I know I need to see him. I'll get out here sometime tonight and make my way over to the hotel and talk to him. I need to call first.” Naomi eyed the clock it was around 9:45 pm she hoped he'd be in for the conversation.
“Freddie can you hand me the phone,” she stuck her hand out to take the phone from Freddie.
“Is it okay for us to stay and listen to this?” she asked.
“You two better stay, I need you for morale support,” she squeezed Zoe's leg tightly.
Zoe hugged her, “okay we'll stay but we'll be quiet. You can do it, you can do it.”
Naomi dialed the number for the King Albert resort; “Hilton King Albert Resort, how may I direct your call?” came a professional voice over the line.
“May I have Douglas Harper's room, please?” Naomi could feel her palms start to sweat around the phone. She was getting nervous almost feeling sick to her stomach, 'please don't let him hang up in my face she silently prayed.
“Yes, ma'am just a moment.”
She heard some innocuous background music and then a ring and he picked up, “Hello.”
“Hello, Douglas,” she said tentatively.
Doug's whole body stiffened, he hadn't heard her in real-time in awhile only her recorded voice over the phone but it just wasn't as sweet as hearing her now speaking to him live. He breathed in deep, his body was wracked with pain from the heartache and he almost wanted to slam the phone in her face. But, what good would that do, he came down here to see her, to talk to her and that's just what he was going to do.
“Hello Naomi,” he said stiffly.
She was scared. She'd never heard him sound like this, no emotion, no anything, just kind of somber.
“How are you?”
“I'm fine and yourself?”
“I'm doing okay. Freddie informed me you were here and I decided to call.”
“You did, that's good. Thought you could sneak in an explanation for that shit over in Germany,” he couldn't help himself, the hurt made the meanness in his tone come so easily.
Naomi ignored the remark, she couldn't blame him for being angry he had every right to that feeling, “Douglas, I want to explain that to you.”
“Explain. Well, I am all atwitter at the prospect of you explaining,” he told her sarcastically.
“Do you mind if I come by tonight?”
Doug panicked for a second, he thought he'd have some more time to kind of prepare himself, get his reaction speech together for her sorry explanation. “Okay, you can come by, I'm in room 805.”
“I'll be there in an hour. Good bye.”
“Good bye Naomi.” He hung up the phone before he revealed the desperation in his voice.
He wanted to see her so badly, his body was warring with two emotions this overcoming need to hurt her like she had him but he also just wanted to love her, hold her, kiss those beautiful lips and make love to her till she screamed his name over and over again. He thought maybe he shouldn't have done this, his emotions were in a whirlwind and he wasn't sure he'd be able to control himself either way he went.
Naomi sat there looking between Zoe and Freddie holding the phone between her fingers so tight she thought she'd break it. She was going to see him, he didn't sound happy but she may as well do this now, it wasn't as if he was going be happier to see her as time went on.
“Freddie, where's that scooter of yours?”
“In one of the storages over by quarters.”
“Get it for me, will you, I want to be as discreet as possible with this and if I leave on your scooter, the guards will probably think it's you.”
Freddie jumped up out the chair, “no problem and good luck,” she blew a kiss to her friend.
Naomi turned to Zoe as she said, “well, big sister here's your chance to change the future.”
“Or my chance to ruin it,” she got up to get ready to shower before she changed and left.
She had left the palace in under a few minutes. Previously it would only take a little while to get to the King Albert Resort, she had gotten by the guards quite easily so she'd been relieved by the luck. She'd done something she'd done in her teenage years to her bed, left pillows in it to look as if she was sound asleep. The last thing she needed was someone spying on her and noticing that she was missing. It would make the palace go into full emergency mode. The night wind felt good on her skin, she felt warm on the inside and the cooler breeze helped ease the slight warm tingle she was feeling at the prospect of seeing Douglas again. She was extremely excited at the idea of seeing his face. She hadn't seen him since that awful night in Germany. It hadn't been that long ago but it was certainly not long enough for some of his anger to subside. That didn't matter she thought, he was here and she had a chance to speak to him and explain how everything had gone so horribly wrong. How she really didn't mean to hurt him or upset him and that it had all been a terrible mistake. Yes, she knew she'd be able to convince him that she loved him. Although she thought she'd be able to convince him that their love could conquer this whole mess, she didn't have any clue what she could do about her father and the impending engagement but she had time to figure that out, she could certainly do that if she needed too.
She pulled up to the parking lot of the hotel, she changed into a black loose fitting silk pants and long sleeved black tunic light sweater with a pair of black ballet flats. She had shades to cover her eyes but they weren't particularly dark and a scarf wrapped around her head. She was undercover as she felt she needed to be. The parking lot was bustling, there were tons of people on the island for the festival, it was only around 11 pm or so. The place was abuzz still with the celebration of the day, she could hear calypso music in the background and laughter and loud voices, the party would probably continue well into the wee hours of the morning. That's how Bocarans did it and tomorrow morning the church would be filled to the brim with people even after just a few hours of sleep, celebration and reverence would be one in the same.
She stopped in a parking space and jumped off the scooter, she had to do something extremely nice for Freddie for lending her the scooter because they both could be in terrible trouble if anyone at the palace ever found out. She didn't wear a helmet, she lived a little dangerously but this was her home she knew the streets and knew the drivers. She sat there on the scooter for a moment willing her body to move off and walk into the hotel. She finally lifted her leg and got off and walked towards the doors of the hotel, no one seemed to take notice of her and she was glad she really didn't want to be recognized. The doorman opened the door and smiled and greeted her as she entered. She returned the smile but didn't make a sound she wasn't sure if she could get any words out now, this crushing feeling of anxiety started to come over her. 'Get yourself together Naomi. You know the man, you can talk to him' all her thoughts and energy were centered on Douglas and what was about to happen. She stepped up to the front desk and asked for his room number.
A pretty woman with skin the color of toffee and hazel eyes told her, “Mr. Harper is in Room number 805, would you like me to ring it for?”
“No thank you.” Naomi told her quickly but politely, she didn't want him to have any warning she was on her way up at that moment. She walked towards the elevator and let the operator know she wanted to go to floor 8. As she arrived, she looked at the wall outside the lift to give her instructions on which way to go to get to his room. She walked to the left swiftly and watched as the numbers went by and got bigger, the air in the hallway was starting to constrict and the light sweater she had on was becoming itchy the scarf wrapped around her neck felt as if it was choking her. She stepped up to his door and stood there for a moment. Could she really do this, could she face him again. Before she had the opportunity to answer her own question the door flew open and there stood Douglas with an ice bucket in his hand.
As always he looking achingly beautiful, his hair was slightly disheveled and falling into his face, giving him that little boy look she loved about him. His eyes grew wide at finding her on the other side of the doorway, he stammered for a second.
“Ummm, come on in Naomi,” he said with a surprised hesitancy.
Naomi walked past him into the hotel room, it was a small suite and she stood there in the middle of the floor not really knowing what to do or say now that she was here. She heard his door close and she turned abruptly to see him stepping closer to her he set the ice bucket down on a table. She could see his eyes studying her taking her in as if this was the first time he'd ever seen her, his eyes closed slightly and he licked his lips. Naomi was breathing deep trying to steady herself, she didn't know what she'd feel but she didn't think she'd feel this when she saw him, full on lust. He was standing there in a pair of cargo shorts and a t-shirt in bare feet. He looked a little tan but those blue eyes were turning grey and she knew he wanted the same thing she wanted.
Doug just stood there and looked at her, the outfit she had on wasn't anything spectacular but on her body it was screaming sex. He thought when she came here he'd be angrier and would lash out at her, but instead the only thing he wanted to do was relieve her of those clothes, take her in his arms and kiss her till they both forgot how they ever got in this mess. He told himself 'I'll think about being angry with her later.' He stepped up to her and took her in his arms abruptly she was shocked by his quick action. Her breath came out in a gasp. He stood there for a moment, studying the details of that beautiful face, he brought his right hand up and took off her sunglasses and scarf and threw them carelessly on the dresser. He took that hand and ran it through her soft curls, she looked so gorgeous and he wanted her. He bent to kiss her and he noticed that her eyes closed she must have been longing for what he'd been longing for. Before he kissed her and proceeded to make love to her he told her, “I've missed you so much and I want you so badly and you're about to be mine.” His lips crushed hers and all he could feel was her softness and the eagerness of her touch. He'd felt like he'd just come home in her arms.
Doug looked at Naomi cradled in his arms, they'd just made love and it had been spectacular, their bodies had been made for each other but he wasn't sure about their hearts. She lay sleeping soundly next to him on his chest. He'd been looking down at her, those thick black curls all over his body, she felt so good against him, so right. Although he hadn't thought much before taking her into his bed he was thinking now that they were there. He suddenly felt a wave of guilt and anger it was time for some answers. She looked so sweet and innocent cradled in his arms but after what had taken place the last time he saw her, he wasn't sure whether that was true or just a ruse to make men fall in love with her.
“Naomi,” he shook her slightly “Naomi, it's time to get up,” he said in a flat tone.
Naomi's eyes started to bat slightly and she yawned deeply and stretched at being disturbed from her peaceful slumber.
She looked up at him confused, that look of passion had been replaced by a look of annoyance, “what's wrong Douglas?” Naomi was blinking in confusion. It was the middle of the night.
Doug rose from the bed and started to put on his underwear. He had his back to Naomi and she admired that nice tight butt of his, she smiled to herself. He was the most perfect specimen of maleness she had ever seen.
He turned towards her abruptly. Naomi noticed his brow had come together menacingly and his mouth was in a stiff line. He took a deep breath and told her in a soft voice, “Naomi, you need to go. Right now, I want you out of here,” his voice was rising as he spoke.
Naomi sprung up from beneath the covers, the blanket fell from her breasts and they were exposed to Doug's eyesight. His breath caught again and he felt a pang of guilt at his brusque tone with her.
“What are you talking about Douglas? I thought we'd have the chance to talk,” Naomi was speaking in a flurry of words, she wasn't ready for this night to end she hadn't explained herself to him.
Doug turned around so he wasn't facing Naomi, he couldn't look at her and be this cruel, he loved her and probably always would but trust had been broken and she belonged to someone else and he had no chance of being the one she belonged to.
“Naomi, there's nothing else to talk about, it's over. You can never be mine and this night has just made the pain I was feeling worse.”
Naomi stared at that strong massive back. She wanted him to turn and look at her. She wanted to look into his eyes.
“Douglas would you please turn around and look at me?” she had pure desperation in her voice. She rose from the bed and came up behind him and wrapped her arms around him, “sweetheart, I love you. I know we can work this out.”
“Work what out,” Douglas wrenched his body away from her but he still couldn't turn towards her. “There is nothing to work out, you're a goddamned princess and I'm just some chump used for a little fun. We can't be married. Have you forgotten you have a fiancé? Get out of here Naomi before I throw you out.”
Naomi continued to look at his back. He was sagging as if he was just tired. She started to cry and her body started to convulse from her deep sobs, she gathered her clothing and went into the bathroom to dress. When she opened the door she noticed that Douglas was standing on the balcony of the room, staring over the side. She walked toward the door, it was closed tight. She was still crying and her sadness and regret were overwhelming her. She turned quickly and ran out of the room to the elevator, she was crying so hard she could hardly see straight. She jumped on the scooter and took off into the dark night.
Doug stood and watched as Naomi ran crying into the parking lot, she jumped on a yellow scooter and took off almost hitting a pole while driving off. He jumped at her near accident, thinking to himself 'oh my god!' He nearly jumped off the side of the balcony and knew he would have if she'd been in an accident. His whole body was in tortured pain at her leaving and at the thought that this would be the last time he ever saw her. He felt the wetness on his cheek, he was crying. He reached up and wiped away the tears and realized he hadn't cried in years, he hadn't even cried when he found out about Tiffani's betrayal. He turned to go into the room with tears streaming down his face at his lost love. His life would never be the same.
Over the next few days Naomi was barely seen, Freddie tried once to bring her something to eat and got shouted right out of her cottage. Freddie couldn't believe it, she'd never seen Naomi that upset, she'd never heard her use that kind of tone. Naomi was usually so sweet, friendly, quite soft-spoken at moments but the voice she used with Freddie was more in the mode of demon-possessed. After that Freddie advised all the house staff to leave her alone. She'd spoken with the Queen and Zoe also and they all decided to give her some time.
She hadn't appeared at any other events with the royal family it had been reported that she had been ill but her Father was insisting that she appear at the final event on Saturday. The closing ceremony for Festival of Feasts began on Saturday morning at 8:00 am, the royal family would stand on the large balcony of the House of Commons, her Father would make a ceremonial speech and they would wave at the crowd gathered. The only difference was this year the announcement of her engagement to Randolph would be the topper for the closing ceremony. It was a gala event, she and Zoe would be in full dress gowns at 8 in the morning, she'd be wearing one her crowns and would probably be completely uncomfortable and to top it all off she'd have to stand there and smile and hold Randolph's hand as her Father announced the engagement. She was sick just thinking about it.