Tuesday 30 June 2015

'Till Death Us Do Part (Part One)

Where shall the traitor rest, 
He, the deceiver, 
Who could win maiden's breast, 
Ruin, and leave her? 
In the lost battle, 
Borne down by the flying, 
Where mingles war's rattle 
With groans of the dying; 
Eleu loro 
There shall he be lying.

Where Shall The Lover Rest by Sir Walter Scott

A Drink a Cigar (by WyldSide mx3 deviantart.com)


Ascot, Berkshire

Today was a good day. 

The tall, muscular man took another drag of his Cuban cigar as he surveyed his golden palace.

It rose before him like a mountain amid its twenty-four acres of land. 

Nicholas Cosimo Creed. 

The charismatic multi-millionaire hotelier was a force of nature.

His sprawling residence was quintessentially British.

It had an elegant facade with two turrets and ground-level bay window and seventy-four rooms, including a games room, gym and personal cinema. 

Nicholas Creed was forty-six and heir to the Arlington luxury hotel empire.

He had been born into the privileged British social class.

The only son of Sir Cosimo and Lady Perdita Creed.

Nicholas had been raised in a magnificent Surrey mansion and educated at Charterhouse and Eton and was the original blue-eyed boy. 

He was tall and handsome and fast cars, yachts, glamorous parties and extravagant holidays with beautiful women kept him in the gossip columns. 

Creed was nothing if not ambitious and at twenty-three he established the first luxury five-star Arlington Hotel in Bond Street.

His good-looks and charm hid a steely determination and hunger to succeed. 

The prestigious Arlington Hotel was the apogee of  luxury and opulence in Regents Street was the beginning of a hotel empire that would span two continents. 

There was an Arlington Hotel in almost every European capital and in many US states and it now it was expanding into the Middle East and the Far East. 

Nicholas Creed had inherited his father's drive but there was also a reckless streak to his personality.

He had matinee idol looks and was six-foot-four and muscled with startling blue eyes and sleek black hair.

Nicholas Creed was effortlessly charming and had a disarming smile.

He had a devil-may-care attitude which women and men found irresistible. 

Yet beneath the bonhomie and crisp blue eyes lay an ambitious and calculated man who was loyal to his friends and ruthless to his enemies.

Nicholas Creed was a shark who decimated his opposition with a smile.

The gossip columns loved him for his movie star looks and his insatiable sexual appetite. 

Nicholas Creed had long been the most eligible bachelor on the party scene and his exploits were legendary as was his rapacious appetite and his performance in bed.

Creed was a famously good lover who knew how to satisfy a woman. 

Women and men loved him because he was always a gentleman.

But for the last ten years Nicholas Creed had enjoyed some semblance of stability as he attempted married life with a former Swiss actress and model. 

Claudia Saab. 

A pretty brunette with a child like face. 

The couple had enjoyed a whirlwind romance before marrying in a blaze of publicity in Monte Carlo. 

Claudia Saab had given up her acting career to be with Nicholas Creed.  

Petite and striking with an endearing wide eyed innocence, Saab was beloved in her native Switzerland.

She had been mooted to be heading for Hollywood until she met Creed at the Cannes Film Festival.  

Saab had been promoting her new film until she met Nicholas Creed there, and the attraction was instant.

She had never met anyone like him before.

Like so many women and men before, Claudia Saab found Nicholas Creed devastatingly attractive. 

He exuded animal sexuality.

Creed made her feel like no other man had ever made her feel and within days she was spending time with him on his yacht in St Tropez. 

Claudia and Nicholas Creed were the new golden couple and it seemed that the handsome playboy had at last been tamed.

Now ten years had evaporated and the couple were virtually living separate lives.  

Alicia Sophia Creed followed shortly after, resembling her father in almost everything. 

In a couple of days time she would be eight-years-old and Creed was determined to make it a celebration to remember.

Several large yellow marquees had been erected and there was a sea of white tables and chairs.

Within the enormous designer kitchen there was  a hive of activity as a world famous cook and his assistants prepared the choice food.

This was going to be the birthday party to outdo all birthday parties.

The world's media were expected to descend upon the event while the invitation only illustrious guests enjoyed Beluga caviar, Foie Gras and Prosecco jelly.

It was a menu fit for a king and his little princess. 

Alicia and her childish friends would be tucking into party food from the hands of a gourmet maestro and the enormous chocolate cake with fresh orange and cream was the pièce de résistance.

Yes, today was a good day to be alive. 

Nicholas Creed stood before his glittering swimming pool in a pair of black Speedos as his ripped bronzed body gleamed in the hot noonday sun.

He took off his black Prada sunglasses and stubbed out his cigar.and then dived into the pool like a champion swimmer.

Creed glided through the water and surfaced again.

A shadow was cast across his golden world and his mood instantly darkened. 

Claudia Creed was standing before him with a stricken look on her face.

She had been looking thinner of late.

Claudia picked at her food and was often moody and standoffish.

Then Nicholas spotted the one accessory that his wife could not be without.

For some women it was a new Versace dress, Fendi clutch bag or Cartier diamond necklace.

But for Claudia Creed it was a glass of neat vodka at 12.35 pm.

The halcyon days of her early romance with Nicholas Creed had quickly evaporated.

He had lost interest in his eager wife as he often did when he secured his quarry.

Sex without strings had always been his forte.

And Nicholas Creed was notoriously well endowed.

Claudia had been a lot less physical than he and she wasn't adventurous in bed.

And she was still grieving the loss of her career.

On marriage, Nicholas informed his new bride that she no longer needed to work and she had slipped uneasily into a lifestyle that was alien to her.

They no longer asked for her and after ten years of marriage she walked in the shadow of her exciting husband.

Alcohol had become her new best friend.

Claudia teetered where she stood.

"What now?" Nicholas Creed sighed with exasperation.

"You've been ignoring me!" Claudia replied with as much bravado as she could muster.

Nicholas rose stealthily from the pool and took the Gucci dressing gown from the silent manservant.

"I've been overseeing preparations for our daughters birthday party" he finally answered his wife as he slipped on the dressing gown.

Creed could tell she was struggling to control her emotions.

She was so neurotic these days that he feared for her sanity.

"Not that you'd notice" he added sharply.

His only child came first before everything. 

Sometimes when Claudia looked at Alicia, she couldn't believe she was actually her daughter.

The child had virtually been bought up by nannies and maids from the moment she could walk.

"You don't come to me anymore" Claudia cried.

Nicholas Creed found his wife difficult and demanding.

She had everything that a woman could ever want and it still wasn't enough.

And now the couple were virtually living separate lives.

He knew what his wife was insinuating.

And as far as he was concerned she had virtually pushed him into the arms of another woman.

And that woman was everything Claudia Creed wasn't.

Nicholas walked up to his wife and when their faces were only inches away he looked sternly into her eyes.

"Who do you think pays for all that alcohol you keep consuming? Who keeps you in the kind of lifestyle that millions only dream about?"

Claudia was fighting back the tears.

He had given her the dream life but it was an empty one.

"You drunk bitch" Nicholas Creed added nastily as he swiped the glass from her hand.

His wife was an embarrassment.

She had no self control.

He had given her everything and it still wasn't enough. 

In the early days he would whisk her away to a secluded beach where they would plan their life together and dream about the future.

Now those memories were dead and buried in the sand. 

Nicholas Creed strode past his wife as she dissolved into tears.

Beach Stock Scene N. 2 (by by dying-soul-stock deviantart.com)
"You've made me like this!" Claudia Creed screamed.

But her husband ignored her.

She was such an ungrateful bitch.

Later that afternoon Nicholas Creed was due to fly over to Dubai to oversee the opening of a new hotel.

He no longer took his wife because he couldn't trust her to control herself.

As far as she was concerned he barely noticed she existed.

Claudia Creed was living in a gilded cage and refused to take a lover like some many rich bitches seemed to do

She hated them.

Claudia had had to suffer their presence on numerous occasions at dinners and events and she couldn't relate to them.

They were shallow and grasping.

As far as Nicholas Creed was concerned, Claudia was not in the same league as some of the glamorous wives he knew.

She was a one-time actress who made good and she should be thankful for what she had.

But she was never satisfied.

As Nicholas considered the day ahead he realised that he hated his wife.

She was an unnecessary complication.

The vibrant young woman he had fallen in love with had been replaced by a neurotic woman who was so self absorbed she could not see past her pretty nose. 

Their marriage was dead. 

And as Nicholas Creed began to dress in his plush en suite designer bedroom his thoughts turned to the one person he longed to see.

But she was across the sea in an elegant apartment in Paris. 

The most beautiful woman he had ever met. 

She would know what to say.

What to do.


Claudia Creed applied a slick of fuchsia Dior lipstick and glanced at herself in the long mirror.

She was dressed in a scarlet short-Sleeve tri-tone coluorblock dress and purple Manolo Blahnik 'Orlana' ankle strap sandals.

Her brown tresses were piled high on her pretty head.

"Very pretty, Miss Creed" Consuela  maid commented enthusiastically as she observed Claudia.

Consuela Fernandez came from a poor Mexican family and had been with the Creed's for much of their married life.

She couldn't understand why such a nice couple fought so much.

They had everything and yet they were unhappy together.

Consuela had become indispensable to the one-time Swiss actress and frequently cleared away her empty whiskey bottles and articles of her alcohol addiction.

She had become almost a mother figure to Claudia Creed but even she could not curb her mistress's dogged self destruction.

Claudia looked at herself sideways in the long mirror.

She was looking thinner of late but the stylish gown complemented her still shapely figure.

"Thank you" Claudia replied.

It was the morning of her only daughters birthday party and soon the world's media would be descending upon the magnificent Creed residence.

Nicholas Creed had made sure that it was an invitation only party and burly security guards had been posted everywhere to make sure only the illustrious chosen ones were let in.

This was going to be the event of season.

It would be a rare opportunity for Claudia Creed to shine among her peers.

A late summer soiree with Hollywood actors mingling with billionaire hoteliers and minor royalty from Europe.

No expense had been spared to make this a day to remember.

"It's going to be a great day" Consuela declared.

Claudia Creed smiled grimly.

"Nick never does anything by halves" Claudia replied but there was a note of bitterness in her voice.

Her husband had been locked away in his study for over an hour earlier in that morning.

Over the last six months he had been stealing away to talk in hushed tones

Claudia always knew what that meant.

Even on the day of her daughter's birthday party the shadow of his mistress loomed large.

Claudia had never met the woman but it was hard to avoid her strikingly beautiful face across the continent.

The French journalist and writer.

"That will be all for now" Claudia nodded and Consuela obediently left the room.

The Mexican maid closed the door quietly behind her, and silently shook her head.

She could sense trouble was brewing.

Nicholas and Claudia Creed should never have come together.

"Dios los ayude" Consuela sighed.

Claudia Creed no longer recognised the woman in the mirror.

She sat on the edge of the huge silken bed.

Claudia could still captivate when the occasion called for it but these days she felt cast adrift in a turbulent sea.

She had never become acclimatised to the jet-set lifestyle of the Ascot rich set.

Nor could she relate to the rich bitches who only hankered after the new designer handbag or extended vacation to far flung places.

Many of them regarded her as a has-been and looked down on her.

Claudia Creed hated them all.

The lifestyle at Ascot was a million miles away from the lifestyle she had once known as one of Switzerland's most exciting emerging actresses.

She had been hailed as a Swiss Liv Ulmann and her director and mentor Sven Lindholm was regarded as the new Igmar Bergman.

Twelve years had evaporated and those days seemed like a lifetime ago.

Today Claudia Creed walked in the shadow of her husband and they no longer called for her.

She opened the Farrah dresser and pulled out a small bottle of Scotch-Whiskey.

Claudia mourned the demise of her career with the help of her friends.

Jim Bean, Jägermeister, Absolut, Krug.

She wandered her opulent quarters in the sprawling Creed residence like a ghost.

Claudia was a lost soul clinging to her past like a life raft. 

She was trapped in a loveless marriage and now her father James was dead and her mother Lena was too ill to travel from Switzerland to see her, Claudia felt more alone than ever.

Cosimo and Perdita Creed had turned against her. 

They believed that she was making their son unhappy and that was completely unacceptable to them and they made their displeasure known. 

Alcohol had become her refuge from the gilded superfluous life she led surrounded by sycophants who clung to every word her husband said and grasping social climbers who yearned for the big time. 

Not even the birth of er daughter could salvage her self worth.

The child had been taken out of her hands almost as soon as she could walk and now when Claudia looked at her she could hardly recognise her as her own. 

Nicholas Creed insisted that his daughter be pampered and treated like a little princess. 

He had transferred his affections from his wife to his daughter and now he only went through the motions with Claudia.

They lived apart and slept in their own beds but put on a show of solidarity when the occasion called for it.

And there had been other women. 

Only this time it was real thing.

Nicholas Creed was in love, possibly for the first time in his life. 

And Claudia was a woman and she knew she knew.

At the start of their relationship, Nicholas had been exciting and adventurous.

They would begin the day in one country and end it in another.

Creed thought nothing of flying across two continents to please his new wife. 

And he had been an energetic and attentive lover.

Claudia Saab had been the perfect choice for a bride.

Famous in her own right but in many ways naive and unsophisticated.

A safe choice for a wife.  

But the novelty soon wore thin as the reality of married life kicked in.

Nicholas Creed soon reverted to the life he had lived before he was married, and he left his wife behind. 

Claudia had become increasingly dissatisfied with her new world.

She was no longer her own woman and often felt like the spectre at the feast at the glittering parties and events she attended with her husband. 

Nobody addressed her as they once did. 

Claudia Creed was no longer Claudia Saab but the wife of a dashing multi-millionaire. 

She was the wife of Nicholas Cosimo Creed. 

Claudia downed the Whiskey.

Today she was being called upon to put on a performance and she wasn't about to disappoint. 

A rare opportunity to act. 

For a few glittering moments she would be Claudia Saab again; the leading light of Swiss cinema. 

The sun was shining bright when Claudia eventually stepped out into the sun amid a sea of faces,paparazzo and flashing cameras.

There was a sea of tables and chairs and several yellow marquees rose imposingly to the sky. 

It was a media circus with little Alicia at the centre of it all in a pink Valentino dress, surrounded by huge presents and privileged childish friends of the rich set. 

She was already unsteady on her feet but she was a consummate professional. 

Claudia Creed posed and pouted as reporters vied for her attention.

"Claudia! Claudia! Claudia!"

The Swiss beauty bestowed them with her most benevolent smile.

"How does it feel to be the mother of Alicia Creed today?"

"It feels great!" Claudia purred "Nobody could be prouder than me!"

A roar of appreciation rose from the jostling throng.

Claudia Creed was a star again.

"Isn't she amazing?" Miles Balfour exclaimed "Bravo!"

He was standing beside his best friend Nicholas Creed.

But Creed did not reply. 

He was glaring at his wife as she postured and played up to the cameras.

Claudia was milling about the illustrious guests now and ingratiating herself with them.

She caught her husband's reproachful stare but held her head high and swiped a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, downing it in one.

"Who the hell does she think she is?" Nicholas Creed snarled under his breath. 

His wife was in fine form today. 

But as Nicholas Creed followed her with his eyes he wondered if she could make it through the day without embarrassing him.

Over the last four years he had made strident attempts to keep his wife's alcoholism a secret. 

But he was losing the battle.

Only a year before, a national newspaper had published a contentious article much to the chagrin of Nicholas Creed. 

What's wrong With Claudia? ran the caption. 

From then the speculation had become rife and Nicholas Creed suspected that many eyes would be avidly watching his wife today. 

"She looks stunning" Miles Balfour remarked admiringly. 

But Nicholas Creed was fighting to control the anger that was raging through him like a blazing fire. 

Balfour was a leading Harley Street gynecologist and had known Nicholas Creed since their Eton days and both men had been regarded as two of the most eligible bachelors in Britain. 

But where Nicholas Creed had succumbed to the pleasures of the playboy lifestyle, his best friend was much more discreet.

Miles Balfour was tall and athletic with black hair and penetrating blue eyes.

He so resembled that Nicholas Creed that the two were often mistaken for brothers but that was where the similarity ended. 

Balfour was of a much less mercurial temperament than his best friend and had remained resolutely single despite numerous partners and offers of marriage.  

He was intelligent, articulate and extremely wealthy.

Miles Balfour was also very guarded and few people knew much about his movements.

Nicholas Creed regarded his best friend as something of a dark horse.

Creed's attentions had turned to his pretty eight-year-old daughter. 

His mood instantly lifted.

Alicia Creed was enthusiastically opening one of her numerous presents surrounded by excited children and exuberant photographers and reporters. 

"Alicia! Come on girl, give us a smile!"

The pretty little blonde girl posed like a professional as they snapped away and called out terms of endearment.. 

Whiskey (by Delahkel deviantart.com)
Countless golden tables groaned beneath the weight of exotic delicacies while a lively clown frolicked about and a magician performed party tricks as children squealed with delight in a semi-circle around him. 

Miles Balfour had never known choice canapes, finest foie gras or the best caviar in the world at an eight-year-old's birthday party. 

But then again, Balfour didn't expect to see much of England's rich set or half of Hollywood attending it either. 

It was the Mad Hatter Tea Party. 

The pride shone in Nicholas Creed's eyes as the world's media swarmed around his daughter like bees to a honeypot. 

And all the while Claudia Creed was lost in a sea of party guests. 

She was in her element and had momentarily forgotten her empty life.

Claudia Creed was a consummate professional who could pin a smile on he face and fake it like the best of them.

When she noticed Sven Lindholm sitting alone in his trademark black trench coat and grey fedora, the facade dropped.

Claudia's face fell and tears pricked her eyes.

It was the ten years since she had last seen her mentor and he had begged her to reconsider marrying Nicholas Creed.

But she insisted because her head had been turned and she was giddy in love.

Sven Lindholm was still the same sharp minded Swede with a wizened face, long grey hair and warm brown eyes.

A grizzled old soul who had been here before.

The place was swarming with security guards but Sven Lindholm had managed to evade them and was enjoying a glass of Krug.

He had been married four times was presently living in Stockholm with a twenty-five-year-old Danish model.

"My muse" Sven Lindholm addressed Claudia Creed "so, this is where you escaped to"

Creed felt exposed before as if she were naked.

"You found me at last" Claudia finally replied but was unable to smile.

Sven Lindholm looked deeply in her eyes.

"He doesn't deserve you"

The devastating words shot through her like a bolt of lightening.

She was struggling to compose herself and unable to respond.

Claudia had given up her career to be with a man who barely acknowledged her now.

"You don't belong here" Lindholm informed her earnestly as he rose from his chair.

One upon a time Claudia Creed had been a talented actress with a promising career ahead of her.

But now she was just the wife of a millionaire hotelier who already eclipsed her.

Sven Lindholm had always worried about Claudia because she was so fragile and insecure but she had made her choice.

He paused for a few moments to look with disdain around him at the glitzy soiree and then he walked away.

Claudia  Creed watched silently as her one-time mentor departed.

"Sven! Sven, please!" She cried after him.

But he  carried on walking and never looked back.

Tears rolled down Claudia's cheeks.

She had given it all up for a marriage that had already died.

For a moment Claudia Creed remembered the Hollywood actress Grace Kelly.

She had given up her acting career to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco in a fairy tale wedding. But she always regretted losing her career and pined for it for the rest of her brief life.

The unhappy parallel to her own life was not lost on her.

Several droplets of rain splashed onto her shoulder.

Claudia looked up at the darkening sky and it glared down at her like a petulant child.

It was late Summer and Fall beckoned.

Claudia wiped away her tears and grabbed herself another glass of Krug from a passing waiter.

"Cheers!" She cried as she saluted her husband.

Nicholas Creed had watched the little scene between his wife and Sven Lindholm play out and thankfully none of the paparazzi had noticed it.

He could never understand why Claudia was always so miserable considering she had the kind of lifestyle that millions could only dream about.

As far as he was concerned, his wife was needy and neurotic and he bitterly regretted marrying her in the first place.

Creed watched as Claudia helped herself to the complementary Krug.

She was fluttering around the table of a Hollywood movie star.

Charlie Lloyd.

He was tall and ruggedly handsome with blond hair and blue eyes and had made his name in big action movies.

Claudia Creed was gulping down the Krug and stroking Lloyd's hand as several camera's flashed.

Nicholas Creed was watching his wife with dangerously slit eyes.

She was out of control again.

Claudia caught her husband's reproachful stare and deliberately moved in close and whispered something in Charlie Lloyd's ear.

The actor smiled.

Nicholas Creed could barely contain his rage but with as much self control as he could muster he excused himself from the company of Miles Balfour to stride over to his wife.

He had a fixed grin on his face as he put his hand under Claudia's arm and pulled her firmly back.

"Glad you could make it" Nicholas Creed declared through clenched teeth as he pulled his reluctant wife away.

"Why, thanks!" The Hollywood movie star called after them, displaying impossibly white teeth.

"Because I screwed your wife" Nicholas Creed added under his breath.

"Let me go!" Claudia cried.

"If you behave like a child I will treat you like a child"

A loud clap of thunder announced the arrival of a torrential downpour which sent the party guests and media en masse to the marquees for cover.

Only Miles Balfour and a photographer watched Nicholas Creed from the mouth of a marquee as he frogmarched his errant wife towards the house.

"The happy couple" Jeff Ford, a photographer with The Times declared.

But Balfour did not reply.

He could tell something was badly wrong between his best friend and his wife and he tell by the obvious tension between them.

Balfour had been well aware of the deterioration of the Creed's marriage for some time now but had kept his own council.

Nicholas and Claudia Creed were just two very different people.

Creed was confidant and powerful while Claudia was sweet and charmingly self-effacing.

Miles Balfour had known Claudia from the first moment she had met his best friend and he couldn't understand what had attracted her to him apart from the obvious.

Creed was one of the most eligible men around and he could have his pick of any woman he wanted and he chose a Swiss actress of cerebral alternative cinema.

Perhaps they were just doomed from the start.

And there was more ... but now wasn't the time to share it.

Claudia turned momentarily and flashed Miles Balfour with a sad smile.

And then she was gone and Balfour was left with the same old familiar ache in his heart.

Back inside the house, Nicholas Creed strode purposefully past concerned looking maids and servants with his struggling wife in tow.

"Please do not interrupt us!" Creed bellowed at them, and they scattered.

They had experienced the explosive arguments between the couple on numerous occasions and knew when to make themselves scarce.

Many of those who worked for the Creed's were torn between both of them.

Nicholas Creed threw his wife roughly onto the bed.

They were in her plush en suite bedroom where everything was pink and gold.

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" Creed erupted.

"I'm having some fun! Is that allowed?"

"You're drunk again! And at your own daughter's birthday party!" Nicholas Creed retorted with disgust.

Claudia Creed was fighting back the tears and struggling to control her emotions.

"You've made me like this!" She exclaimed.

She reached out to her husband but he brushed away her hand.

"Don't give me that crap! You ungrateful bitch!"

"I know I can't be like her ,,,"

"Not this shit again!"

Claudia Creed knew that she could never compete with her husband's mistress.

This affair was much more serious than the others and she knew it and although she was no longer in love with her husband, it tore her heart out.

"You are obsessed with her .... "

"Fucks sake, have you heard yourself?"

"What does she have that I don't ....?"

Nicholas Creed leaned in close so that his face was only inches away from hers.

"She's everything that you aren't" he said smoothly.

Then he headed for the door and paused.

"Just tidy yourself up you drunk bitch and don't embarrass yourself anymore!"

The door slammed behind him and Claudia let out an animal cry as she grabbed a perfume bottle from the elegant dresser and threw it at the door.

Then she dissolved into harsh sobs.

Outside the rain had subsided.


Monmarte, Paris.

Veronique Bibeau was the very picture of elegance as she paused at the mirror.

She was beautiful with kittenish features, sparkling hazel eyes and glossy raven hair.

Today Veronique was dressed in a black halter neck Chanel dress and her raven hair was tucked beneath a vintage black Lily Dache hat.

Bibeau was often described as the French Jacqueline Onassis for her effortless style.

She meticulously applied a slick of scarlet Dior lipstick and pouted at her reflection.

"Je pense que cela va faire" Veronique Bibeau sighed.

For a few moments she did not recognise the face that gazed back at her.

Bibeau had always been so poised and self assured but over the last eighteen months she had become needy and fragile.

Nicholas Creed had entered her life and completely shaken it up.

They had met when Veronique interviewed him in Nice.

Creed was overseeing the opening of a new luxury five-star hotel and Bibeau was there among the press pack.

Veronique Bibeau was a already a French icon who radiated Gallic sophistication.

She was graceful and articulate and when she spoke, everybody listened.

Bibeau could feel something happening between her and Nicholas Creed the moment they locked eyes.

It was instant and incendiary.

Nicholas Creed was the famous British playboy hotel magnate who had been tamed by a Swiss actress.

She was the celebrated French journalist and writer as famous for her beauty as she was for her books and articles.

Today she was dressed in a Givenchy Peplum Dress in Black and her raven hair was teased into a chignon.

To all intents and purposes, Veronique Bibeau was one of France's leading journalists and authors.

But she could easily have been Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast At Tiffany's.

"Le célèbre Nicholas" Veronique Bibeau smiled.

The rumbling press pack silenced and Nicholas Creed was unable to suppress a grin.

"La belle Veronique" Creed replied smoothly.

The celebrated French beauty with the pixie looks was still smiling at him.

"Don't believe everything you read about me" Creed added mischievously.

Veronique Bibeau winked at him.

The press pack erupted into amused laughter and excited banter.

Something had begun between Nicholas Creed and Veronique Bibeau.

From then on, Creed ardently pursued the stunning French journalist but she wasn't going to make it easy for him because he was married and he had a reputation as a playboy.

In the early days of their romance, Veronique Bibeau often retreated to the comfort of her villa in Southern Spain.

Her conscience troubled her over the involvement with a married man.

Veronique had been born into the wealthy Bibeau family who had made their money in the antique business.

She had been bought up in the lap of luxury was doted upon by her parents Francois and Clémence.

But a shadow had been cast across her otherwise idyllic childhood.

It was an open secret that Francois Bibeau had taken a mistress and would continue and would remain with her until death parted them.

When Veronique looked at Nicholas Creed she saw her father.

He had the same sleek black hair and keen features and the same penetrating eyes and charisma.

It might have been the French way, but Veronique hated the deception and the placid way in which her mother accepted her predicament.

She had met the petite brunette who was her father's mistress on two occasions and on both those occasions she was nothing but friendly and engaging.

Manon Dupont had been one of her father's secretaries and was kept in a smart Parisian apartment and was happy to share Francois Bibeau.

Not once could Veronique Bibeau foresee that one day she would be in a similar predicament and sharing a married man.

When Clémence Bibeau eventually died of liver cancer, Francois Bibeau married his long-time mistress.

And she and Veronique fostered an understanding.

These early experiences had made Veronique Bbeau determined never to allow a man treat her the same way that her father had treated her mother.

In the early days of her romance with the swashbuckling Nicholas Creed, Veronique was duly reticent.

But he was charming and always behaved like a gentleman towards her and she soon melted.

Like so many other women before her, Veronique Bibeau found Nicholas Creed irresistible.

Veronique Bibeau checked her watch.

It was 3.05 pm.

The birthday party of lover's only daughter would be in full swing now.

It was the event of the season and many notable guests from stage and screen, including multi-millionaire businessmen and minor royalty were expected to attend.

The world's media were also expected to descend upon the occasion to capture every moment.

He would probably be milling about his notable guests at that moment and captivating them with his easy charm.

Veronique smiled when she thought of him.

Rainy Paris (by deadst4r deviantart.com)
The big swaggering Nicholas Creed who could fill an entire room with his personality.

He had swept her off her feet and turned her world upside down.

But Bibeau felt a pang of guilt when her thoughts turned to his wife and daughter.

The pretty little blonde haired child that Nicholas Creed was so proud of.

Veronique had never met Claudia Creed, but she knew her work.

She believed her lover when he told his marriage was in trouble and that it had been for some time.

Bibeau and Creed had always been discreet and so far the media had been kept at bay but that couldn't last forever.

They were two high profile people.

Veronique had always regarded herself as a feminist who believed in female solidarity and the affair with a married man felt like a betrayal of everything that she held true.

She had always been monogamous and had never entered into a relationship with a married man.

Yet Veronique Bibeau was a romantic at heart and was unable to help herself.

She was addicted to the man.

Nicholas Creed wasn't her intellectual equal but he had an animal magnetism that she found irresistible.

He was handsome delectable and insatiable in bed.

Nicholas Creed made Veronique Bibeau feel like a woman.

Even though she knew he was her part-time lover and the predicament wasn't a healthy one.

She was desperately in love with him even though Nicholas Creed was her part-time lover and the predicament was not an enviable one.

Veronique Bibeau spent endless nights alone pining for her man and longing to be with him.

She sat by her phone and willed it to ring just so she could hear his voice.

The thought of him sent a jolt of desire through her body like a bolt of lightening.

In a couple of days they would be together again.

Veronique had been anxiously waiting for her lover to call her and had been counting away the minutes.

Time seemed to be crawling today.

She stolen a few moments with her lover earlier that morning.

He spoke in hushed tones and every word vibrated through.

"I love you. I want to be with you"

Nicholas Creed was only across the sea but he might as well have been a million miles away.

Veronique walked out onto the balcony of her opulent apartment in Mommarte.

It was a beautiful afternoon in Paris.

All she wanted to do was share it with the man she loved but once again he was out of reach.

"Il est mon destin" Veronique sighed.

She had always been so independent but for the first time in her life she was completely beholden to a man.

And it frightened her.

Veronique knew that she couldn't keep her love affair secret for ever but for now she enjoyed the precious moments she was able to snatch with her man,

Her phone began to ring and she fairly ran to answer it.

The unmistakable voice of her lover filled her ears.

"Darling, it's me" Nicholas Creed cried, but there was a note of desperation in his resonant voice.

"My love, how are you?"

"This is a goddamn nightmare. Claudia is out of control"

"What's wrong?"

"The bitch is drunk again and making a fool out of herself and of me"

Veronique paused.

Creed had told her about his wife's alcohol addiction and she felt guilty, as if she had somehow driven her to it.

But Claudia Creed had been unhappy for some time and had turned to the bottle to ease her misery.

Nicholas Creed neglected his wife and treated her with disdain.

She had failed.

It never occurred to Veronique Bibeau that her lover might treat her the same way.

"Oh mon Dieu! That's terrible ..." Bibeau finally replied.

"I wish you were here ... I can't do this without you"

"Soon we will be together"

The sense of expectancy had given away to urgency.

"I have to be with you" Nicholas Creed informed his lover.

And suddenly she yearned for him to be inside her.

"I know mon amour ...."

"Wait for me"

And with that the phone clicked off and Veronique Bibeau was alone once more.

"Vous avez à être forte" She told herself.

But only silence responded.

The old ache was there again.

Tears filled Veronique's eyes.

She was seeing a man who belonged somewhere else.

She was betraying a woman who given up her promising acting career to be with him.

And yet she couldn't help herself.

Veronique Bibeau was deeply in love with Nicholas Creed.

Yasmine the silky black cat emerged from the shadows and purred as she brushed against Bibeau's legs.

"Ah, mon petit" Veronique sighed as she stroked the cat affectionately.

At the door she paused by the little shrine with its image of the Madonna and child and two candles.

Her mother had been a devout Catholic and Veronique was a believer even if she found religion oppressive.

She said a little prayer for herself.

And with Claudia Creed and her daughter not far from her thoughts, she said a little prayer for them too.

Veronique crossed herself.

The sky had already darkened considerably by the time she stepped outside.

It was a good day to be alive.

Just then a familiar voice called out to her.

"Hey salope!"

Veronique could not help suppressing a smile as she took off her black Dior sunglasses and slowly turned around.

It was her best friend and soulmate, Mimi Durand.

"Did you miss me, bitch?" Durand demanded.

Suddenly all Veronique's troubles had evaporated in the presence of the leggy supermodel.

Mimi Durand was here.

She was tall and striking with flashing green eyes and an unruly mane of dark brown tresses.

Durand was the former street kid who had risen to become one of the most sought after supermodel's in the world.

Several passerby stopped or did a double take as two French icons greeted each other in their midst.

"Why don't you take a picture, it will last longer!" Mimi Durand informed them dryly.

Veronique shook her head.

"You're outrageous"

"I'm Mimi, baby"

The two women dissolved into a hug.

And as her closet living friend held her close, Veronique Bibeau suddenly burst into tears.

A curious couple had stopped to stare at them.

"Get lost!" Mimi Durand shouted at them.

"I'm okay" Veronique Bibeau said shakily.

"Il est pas la peine!"

"But I love him ... "

Mimi Durand let out a long sigh.

"Fucking men!"

They were all the same.

Durand could see how distraught Veronique was.

A loud clap of thunder rolled across the horizon.

"Come on, tell Mimi all about it" she added with a wry smile.

And with that she took her hand and led her in the direction of the nearest cafe'.

"All men are bastards!" Mimi Durand sighed. 

It was raining hard by the time the two beautiful women entered Café des Deux Moulins.

My Rainy Roads (by by Nile-Paparazz deviantart.com)