il secondo capitoloMature

    Charles Ackland, a multi-billionaire, rich business tycoon was the most eligible bachelor of France. He owned several the luxury goods, not just in Paris, but also in neighboring countries. He owned the Style House and several art galleries; he was the chairman of fashion based LVK group, CEO President of several hotels and restaurants, and his Ackland Empire has spread all around the world. In short, he's the richest man in France. And being a bachelor and only heir to such huge empire, he was always the main attraction for the media and paparazzi. Most of the empire was given to him through each generation from his great grandfather to his grandfather to his father and now him. They have made countless art galleries and hotels and had organized charities for people all around Europe. However, every family relationship has one loose knot. There was a known history in his family that all his descendants ended up hardcore alcoholics owing either to a female fatal or to being intoxicated by the height of their prosperity. Nobody knew how Charles' grandfather died, but it was rumored that he was also the victim of excessive drinking. People started rumors that Charles will also end up like his father. People were shocked and surprised when Charlie turned out to be the complete opposite. He knew how to handle his alcohol and the rumors that went around about him. So Charles was not only the greatest personality that people looked up to, he was also an idol for many entrepreneurs and of course, every woman's fitted and appropriate, eligible partner. Several women had tried to get close to him whenever he opened a new art gallery or organized charities. Every women wanted Charles to pick one of them to be his second partner of the empire and his beloved wife. However, Charles had already set his eyes on one woman - Isabella Moretti.
    "He never told me he's coming today!" Isabella exclaimed.
    "Maybe he wanted to give you a surprise." Michael hinted.
    "You think so? Aw, il est si romantique." Isabella swooned.
    "Plus, he's coming just because I told him you are going to be here too. And you know him, one word about Isabella and he's ready to do anything." Michael emphasized on her name and Isabella got excited even more. Macey rolled her eyes and Michael smiled. All three friends knew that Charles was head-over-heels for Isabella. She had him wrapped around her finger and Charles didn't mind at all. He was one of those people who seemed a perfect man from the outside, but no one ever wanted to look deep inside him to understand his true feelings. She was the only person who knew how lonely he was and how much he loved her. He even asked her once to be the second authority figure who handled his empire because he would never trust any one else. Isabella was so flattered and shocked that she was speechless and asked him to give her some time to think. Since then Isabella had been thinking constantly about him.
    "I always knew you your mind worked like that of a genius," Isabella said, "A really good-looking genius, that is." Isabella praised him.
    "I agree with Isa. The whole decoration and your hard work on the models and designs shows how determined you are and how much this means to you." Macey added.
    "Thanks ladies. I don't know what I would do without you two." They started laughing. Then Macey picked up her purse and excused herself to go to the washroom and Michael watched her go. He turned to Isabella and said, "That dress looks damn good on her, don't you think?"
    "Of course it does!" Isabella exclaimed, "I'm never wrong when it comes to dressing up."
    "I don't know how I'm going to make my move. What if she doesn't reciprocate the feelings I have for her? I don't want to lose her as a good friend, either." Isabella placed her hand on his lap.
    "Mike, one thing that I'm perfectly sure about is that she's in love with you. I can't believe you can't see it, but whenever she looks at you, her eyes are always gleaming with joy and when you are gone, she doesn't stop talking about you. And I'm such a good friend, that I actually listen to her blabber about you." She flipped her hair and Michael laughed.
    "I don't know why you are nervous. Don't be. In fact, I'm pretty sure, she's waiting for you to make the move; you know how cliche she is when it comes to love and romance. Plus you guys have known each other for three years now, right? Not just her, in fact, every girl will fall in love with that smile of yours. Too bad you met her before me, or else I would have made the move," she laughed and Michael just shook his head, "but no, seriously, you are a real sweetheart. I'm really happy Macey found someone like you. Didn't you noticed how she was looking at you when you came to greet us? It was like you guys haven't seen each other for months, when you guys just met the day before."
    "You are right. But when am I going to tell her? I was thinking of taking her out to lunch and then asking her out officially." Michael wondered.
    "That's a fabulous idea. Oh! You can take her somewhere for Christmas! New York!" Isabella said.
     "I agree. Plus she haven't been to her hometown in the longest time." Michael added and Isabella nodded.
    "Plus, I heard Christmas is so romantic there." Isabella winked.
    "Since when did you get romantic, Isa?" Isabella gasped and pouted.
    "I was always romantic!" Isabella sees Macey coming towards them and immediately changed subject to Charlie and her.
    "Oh! Charlie and I go way back. I always knew that he had a thing for me since the first time he saw me at the wedding." Michael just stared at her for a moment when he turned to see Macey standing beside him.
    "Oh yeah! Rumors are that you guys are getting married soon." He smirked.
    "Excusez-moi! I'm not getting married to him. I wouldn't mind. But we are just...part-time lovers. Right, Mace?" Isabella asked her as she sat down beside Isabella.
    "Of course! You know Isa. She can't stay with one guy more than two weeks. She's not serious about him at all." Macey saw Isabella gasping again, "But with him, this is her longest relationship, even I can't believe myself." Isabella made an angry face at her and said, "Cooper! That didn't sound like a compliment to me at all!" Macey and Michael laughed and Isabella pouted again. Just then people started gathering around the doorway of the venue and Michael said, "The most awaited bachelor is here." Charles Ackland was surrounded by everyone that were present in the room. There were photographers, media, and several editors gathered around him for hand shake and pictures. Isabella ran towards him screaming, "Charlie! Charlie" and the crowd divided into two on either side to make way for Isabella. Charles had fair skin and oval face. He had mesmerizing black eyes and medium thick eyebrows. His gorgeous eyelashes were one of his best assets. He had strong jaw line and had a light stubble on his face which made Isabella go weak in the knees. His warm, mocha brown hair was perfectly styled for the occasion. The sides and back were cut short for a neat finish to the edges, while the top layers were left long enough to sweep over to one side. He was wearing a black, classic two button satin peak tuxedo coat. It offered satin-covered vest with red shirt and co-coordinating striped tie and flat front formal trousers. He was like a Prince Charming out of a fairytale. Charlie looked at Isabella coming towards him. He ran his fingers through his hair and extended his hand forward for Isabella. The media and photographers started clicking their cameras as Isabella held onto his hand while she kissed him. She was the luckiest woman in Paris. They both turned towards the flashing lights for pictures until one of Charlie's agents waved them off.
    Michael and Macey waited at the back of the crowd to greet him. Michael laughed and said, "Isabella is going to kill all the girls twice." Macey turned to him with a questioned look on her face and Michael continued, "first, that dress is such a killer that Charles can't stop staring at her. She looks so amazing in it. Second, that kiss probably just made every girl ten times jealous of her. They are probably thinking of ways to murder her." Macey laughed and nodded. "It's true, they both are like perfect couple. You know how in high school, a perfect couple walks by and people are just staring at them and they think, they must be programmed to be together," Michael nodded and smiled, "that's exactly what Isabella and Charles are - a perfectly programmed couple." Macey laughed again, "But it's just too bad that Isabella isn't very serious about Charles and he loves her so much."
    "Well," Michael started, "who knows she might fall for him one day. And there must be a reason why Charles chose her and not just random girl off the street. She's not going after his money and popularity unlike many women in this room think. Isabella's already a top-notch wedding planner and she's so well-established that people have to take appointments to meet her to plan their weddings and that also at such young age. And about money, she probably doesn't even care about Charles being a rich business bachelor because she's the daughter of one of the leading entrepreneurs of Italy."
    "You are absolutely right. Even though, Isabella acts totally crazy sometimes, but I've never met anyone who has such pure heart. Though, I don't think she's "pure" anymore." Macey and Michael started laughing again, "No, but I just want to see her happy. She has done so much for me, I probably can't ever repay her. If she ever asks me for anything, I won't think twice and I'll gladly give her whatever she wants." Michael looked at her and smiled.
    Charles and Isabella walked hand in hand towards the end of the crowd where Isabella's friends were standing. Michael came forward and extended his hand and Charles gladly shook his hand.
    "It's a pleasure to see you here, Mr. Ackland. Thank you so much for taking your time out of your busy schedule to attend this event."
    "The pleasure is all mine, Michael," Charles smiled, "And please, call me Charlie. There are no formalities here. Good evening, Macey." Charles hugged Macey and sat down beside Isabella with his arm around her waist.
    "It's great to see you too, Charlie." Macey smiled.
    "How are you feeling now? After the accident?" Charlie asked. Isabella winced. Around same time last year, Isabella and Macey were driving back from an after party and Isabella was driving the car because Macey was drunk. Isabella kept talking to Macey because she was so drunk and Macey was talking the most random things and closing her eyes every now and then, so Isabella tried to keep on talking to her so that she doesn't sleep until they reach home. Isabella was looking at Macey and just then she missed to stop at the red light. When she was about to take a left turn, the car from the other side of the traffic hit their really hard near the passenger seat. Not only Isabella had to pay the fine, but Macey's right arm and leg were also fractured while Isabella hurt her neck. Because of that, Macey stayed at the hospital for over 6 months and couldn't make new designs to take part in the fashion show.
    "I'm feeling much better, thank you. My boss was nice enough to give me time off, but next event, I'll work my ass off." Charlie chuckled and Macey smiled. All this time, Isabella couldn't stop staring at  Charlie. Macey and Michael laughed quietly and Michael said that they are going to start in couple of minutes.
    "I'm going to check backstage if everything is ready. Do you want to come with me, Mace?" Michael asked. Just then, a colleague from Macey's work yelled her name and Macey looked around and waved at a girl sitting across their benches.
"You go ahead, I'll go talk to my friend and leave these two love birds alone." Isabella looked at Macey and said, "I totally heard that, Cooper!"
Charlie pulled Isabella closer to him and asked how she was doing.
    "Oh! I'm fabulous! I just finished with a wedding last week and it was a lot of fun. The bride was so indecisive about food and the venue, I couldn't believe it!" Isabella rolled her eyes, "But of course, Isabella fixes everything!" Isabella grinned. Charlie chuckled again.
    "How was your trip to Australia, Charlie? And how's that jackass Victor doing?"
    "Australia is beautiful, Bella. You should have come with me. You really would have enjoyed."
    "Perhaps you should take me when you are free from your meetings." Isabella batted her eyelids.
    "I'm never busy for you, Bella."
    "I love it when you call me Bella." Charlie looked into her eyes and gave her kiss and she kissed him back hardly. She couldn't believe but she actually missed him.
    "And Victor is same old. He still thinks I'll end up like my father. He got some serious issues." Charlie rolled his eyes.
    "He's just jealous of you and your accomplishments. People like Charles way more than they like Victor. And it's not like he has done anything for people. You have made art galleries, this amazing Style House and so many more things. Victor just cares about destroying you." Isabella told him.
    "What can I do. But he needs to remember one thing that I am not scared of him." Charles said.
    "And you shouldn't be. The only difference between you and him is that he is a dim-witted moron and you are just...all mine." Charlie looked into her sparkling eyes again and Isabella smiled. Just then Macey came and sat beside Isabella and the lights were dimmed. Everyone held their breath together when a pop music started and a model slowly walked towards the runway showcasing one of the looks.

The End

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