Luke McGillicutty and Bella Grant were hired to jet all over the world and create a new television travel program. With a virtually unlimited budget and free reign to find the stories in the cities they’re assigned to visit, it was the job of a lifetime.
Visiting places like Edinburgh, Amsterdam, and Mykonos, staying in luxurious 5-star hotels, is it any wonder the veteran photographer and career journalist fall in love?
In this scene, Bella has had to travel back home to Birmingham to attend the funeral of her estranged father. Unable to accompany her, Luke has agreed to finish up where they were, and to meet her at the next destination. As it turns out, she’ll have a story to tell him when she gets there.
As Tre and Cornelia moved through the crowd, they were greeted with heartfelt wishes of condolence. Bella and T-Nathan stayed on the outskirts of the crowd and made their way to the backyard, where the main gathering was meant to be. The sky was bright blue and crystal clear, the temperature perfect for being outdoors. Bella took a glass of wine from a passing server and sipped slowly.
“Well, kiddo, we’ve almost made it,” she said, winking at T-Nathan. “When do you go back to school?”
He smiled at her. “Next week,” he answered. He seemed like he wanted to say more, so she waited, using her best interviewer arched eyebrow to encourage him. “Hey Aunt Sissy, can I talk to you about something?”
“Of course,” she said, smiling warmly. “What’s your old aunt for anyway? What’s up?”
“Well, you know how I’ve been studying pre-law? I’ve been thinking about changing my major.”
“Oh?” she asked, then waited.
“Yeah, um,” he said, blushing, “I’m thinking about journalism. I want to do what you do.” He looked at her directly. “So what do you think?”
She thought, Your mother’s going to have a cow, but she answered, “Are you sure that’s what you want to do, travel and interview and that kind of thing?” He nodded eagerly.
“Well, since you asked what I think…You should make journalism your minor, then continue with your pre-law or change to history or political science or economics or something else that you can bring to the table. Any dumb ass can read the news. You’re smarter than that. And get involved with campus news in some way. That’s valuable experience.” She smiled at him. “You know what, sometime when all the planets align, you need to come out with Luke and me, give it a try.”
“I don’t know, maybe I wouldn’t be any good at it,” he said, blushing again.
“Are you kidding me? Look at this mug,” she said, patting his cheek affectionately. “All the girls will lose their mother-loving minds!”
“Aw, Aunt Sissy,” he laughed. He hugged her clumsily and went to find his friends.
Bella smile as she watched him go. He’s such a good kid, she thought. A server walked by and she snagged another glass of wine. Last one, she warned herself. She began to make her way around the gathering, accepting kind words from the guests. She was aware of more than one disapproving look at her dress from the matrons in attendance, and more than one leer from the husbands of said matrons. She began to feel the need to get away.
It seemed ironic to go inside to get fresh air, but that’s what she did. Beyond the kitchen, which was a beehive of activity, the house was quiet and she made her way to Tre’s study with its dark paneled walls and oxblood red leather chesterfield sofas. She stood at the window sipping her wine and watching the scene outside.
“Well, pretty lady, I wondered where you’d gone.”
Bella whirled around to see Mitchell, he of the wake last night. “You startled me,” she said.
“Oops,” he smiled. “Didn’t mean to do that.” He had an odd look on his face and Bella didn’t like the feeling in the pit of her stomach.
“I just needed to get away from the crowd for a minute. I think I’ll go back now,” she said evenly.
“What’s your hurry?” he asked, eyes on her breasts. “I was hoping we could talk about old times.” He put down his glass and crossed the room toward her, blocking her from moving away from the window.
“Have you been drinking a lot, Mitchell, because you’re making me uncomfortable,” she told him.
He laughed darkly. “Oh, no, I want to make you very comfortable.” He reached out to stroke her arm, putting his other arm around her waist. “You’ve just been through a difficult time and I want to comfort you,” he whispered. She could smell the bourbon on his breath.
“Okay, Mitchell, I’ve really got to go now,” she said, trying to move past him.
With his hand on the small of her back, he pulled her closer and he moved the other hand, reaching inside her dress and fondling her breast.
Without thinking, she slapped his face hard. “Let. Me. The fuck. Go!” she hissed at him.
“Baby, the fuck is just what I have in mind, and you are turning me on!” he growled, leaning in to kiss her.
“Will not happen!” she answered, and she brought up her knee as hard as she could into his groin. Mitchell went down like a sack of hammers. Bella stepped over him and left the room hastily.
In the hallway she met Tre. “Sissy, we were looking for you,” he said. “Are you alright?”
“I just needed some air,” she answered sharply.
“Are you ready to go to the airport?” he asked.
“Hell, yes, I’m ready,” she said. “By the way, your friend Mitchell just groped me. I knocked his balls up into his sinus cavity. I hope he hurts for a long time.”
Tre shook his head and sighed. “Always an adventure, Sissy. Let me go throw out the son of a bitch, then we’ll go, okay?”