The atmosphere around university campus and at the Sorority house was one of joy and jubilation. Final exams were complete and the students were busy packing to head home for two weeks of Christmas holidays for a much needed break with family, friends, good food and of course presents. All was greatly needed after all the hard work students had put in over the past three months. Maya was also excited about the end of the semester, but couldn’t quite catch the same level of anticipation as everyone else, for she had no family or friends to be with this holiday season. Her family in China hadn’t quite forgiven her for leaving her first husband and she really had no desire at all to return to China. She could just imagine how tense that would be. Her only motivation for going home would be to see her best friend Sun. Eddy was just too busy this holiday season to even find the time to see her. With rehearsals, interviews, travel time and his actual shows, his schedule was literally booked from the time he woke till the time his head hit the pillow at the end of his very busy day. She had no desire to spend time riding on a tour bus with four guys and all their disgusting ways. Considering her last encounter with Eddy, she wasn’t sure she wanted to spend any time with him. She hadn’t heard a word from him since that morning on the beach in Sunlit Tides and she knew this was his attempt to force her to come to him. Which she had no intention of doing anytime soon, for she was of the same mindset as he was and just as stubborn.
Then of course there was Ian and Jin. She had to admit that they hadn’t been far from her thoughts recently. She found herself perusing toy websites in the past few days thinking of her son. Buying her son a toy wouldn’t be fair to her him and would only help to alleviate some of her guilt she was carrying around for walking out on him. She had no idea what to buy him anyway, for lack of knowing anything about her only son.
Maya was extremely nervous about her upcoming trip to Sunset Valley for her Christmas break. Never having travelled alone, Maya had to learn how to make all her travel plans on her own. Namely, somewhere to stay for the two weeks she would be in the Valley to complete the mural. It wasn’t the kind of town that had a resort or hotel so she was struggling with where to stay until she received a phone call from Nancy Landgraab. Nancy, who was a member of the hospital board, offered her a room in her home in exchange for a donation to the hospital. Maya readily agreed, breathed a sigh of relief and thanked her profusely for the offer. Later when she looked at a map of the Valley, she realized the Landgraab estate was a little further out of town than she would like but at least she wouldn’t have to hit the gym the whole time she was there. The Landgraab estate was high on a hill so walking to town was not going to be a problem, but the walk back was going to prove quite the workout! It was an exciting offer, knowing the wealthy status of the family, she was going to see how the other half lived! Since she had won the lottery she had been living at the Sorority House and attending university, which weren’t exactly the right atmospheres for living the high life. She had benefited from her celebrity status with gifts and invites to the right parties, but had never really seen how the upper class lived. She was hopeful that she could learn from Nancy Landgraab, what it really meant to be a lady of wealth.
Maya had a goal to be able to complete the painting in a weeks time so she would be able to explore the town and relax before heading back for her next semester of university. She did not want to spend her entire time under a tent in a hallway painting a large wall. She had been informed that the painting would be kept under wraps until the reveal date, which was scheduled for the day before New Years. So if she finished the painting quickly, she still would have about four or five days to just be on her own, maybe head to the spa, do some shopping and perhaps sleep in for a change.
She was really looking forward to getting started on the mural she had worked so hard at planning. She thought she had chosen a good theme for the ward itself and the atmosphere the hospital staff worked hard to create for those children who were ill, especially over the Christmas holidays. She couldn’t wait to showcase her talent to the public and ultimately the art world. A mural in a children’s ward was no Sistine Chapel, but she planned on putting her whole self into every brush stroke and every custom mixture of colour she chose. A hospital was a very scary place for an adult alone, but for a child! White hallways, fluorescent lights and metal furnishings didn’t exactly inspire hope, yet hope was exactly what a child needed to get better. She hoped that she could at least inspire a little bit of that with her creation and allow children to escape from the misery of being unwell by using their imagination. For herself, she hoped that this commission would open doors to many more opportunities in the art world, even if they were volunteer, unpaid, or like the hospital painting, for a good cause.
The hustle and bustle in the Sorority House was adding to her nervous state, so she locked herself in her room and took to her art easel to calm her nerves. Along with all the packing and semester papers hitting the trash, the house was being prepped for a formal party to happen just after dinner. Kegs were being positioned around the house and various dishes were being prepared in the kitchen by a handful of dorm mates. Virtually everyone had been invited and it was shaping up to be the the party of the year. Several bets were already in play about who would get juiced, who would be streaking and who would end up not sleeping alone in their own bed. She wanted no part of any of that this time although she had decided to attend the party. She didn’t want to snub anyone for everyone had all been quite good friends to her as she made this cultural adjustment to her new life. A little bit of partying probably wasn’t a bad idea to blow off a little steam and alleviate some of this pent up nervous energy that was multiplying by the hour. A little after eight Maya was dressed in her new Rose Floral dress from another new designer, perfumed and dusted with her hair up and jewelry to match. Taking one last look in the mirror, she turned and went in search of her dorm mates and the best part of the party. It really was a beautiful evening with a sky full of bright stars and a slight warm breeze that didn’t even require a wrap to stay warm. Because of that most of the party had ended up in the backyard and around the pool, where a few of the guests had even stripped down to their skivvies to enjoy the warm water. Luckily none were swimming in the nude, which was good due to the amount of paparazzi that were also in attendance at the party. She had lost count of the amount of celebrities or important people that were in attendance and she mingled through the crowd trying to make time to speak to each and every one of them. No longer did she have to introduce herself and make a good impression. Thanks to Eddie and his celebrity status, Maya had an even higher celebrity status than most of the celebs in attendance making it her place to accept or turn away all those that tried to speak to her. It was a daunting task and she found the small talk dreary. Not many of the guests were interested in Maya’s passion for art and she wasn’t the least bit interested in sports. Yet she tried to be as polite as she could while looking interested in all their attempts to gain her favour. One thing she did notice, was that not one male made any attempts to flirt or hit on her and she found that puzzling. She herself couldn’t do any flirting for fear it would end up in the next day’s paper, but it still would have been nice to have someone at least try! She was beginning to wonder if she had a stamp on her forehead that read ‘taken-back off’!
Even though the night was young, she was surprised to see that no one had gotten completely juiced as they usually did. However by midnight many of the guest were felling quite buzzed and the silly party games had begun. Maya had successfully avoided the juice kegs and politely turned down offers of drinks which allowed her to enjoy the antics of her fellow party goers with a clear head. She had seen quite a few naked backsides run by her of both men and women and thought it absolutely hilarious!
Shortly after midnight, Maya’s cell phone rang and she tried to find a quiet spot to hear the person on the other end.
“Maya. Myyyyyy Maya. Mayyya I sho shorry.”
“Eddy? Is that you?”
“Mayyya. I sssoorry. Please you just…” Then all she heard was loud music on the phone which drowned out his words until the line went dead.
Maya looked at the phone, shook her head and put the phone away. Eddy was obviously juiced and if that was his version of an apology then he could forget it! No deal! It was going to take something more and a sober something at that! Hearing Eddy’s voice had put a damper on Maya’s mood and she decided that for her the party was over. She was in the middle of saying her goodbyes to everyone when her phone rang again. Figuring it would be Eddy again, she was reluctant to answer it, but as it just kept on ringing, she finally relented.
“Hello,” she answered with a hint of annoyance.
“Maya. It’s Chloe.” Chloe had left early that morning to make her way home before Maya had woken up and she was very happy to hear from her.
“Chloe! I’m sorry I missed you this morning!”
“Never mind that. Maya have you been on line tonight?”
“No. Why?” Maya asked
“Oh geez. Ok. I’m sending you a link. Open it and take a look.”
“I don’t understand. What is this about Chloe?”
“Maya. I’m really sorry to be the one to tell you this, but it’s all over social media. Maya, Eddy was photographed at a party this evening kissing another girl. I think he is cheating on you Maya.”
“Chloe. That’s not possible. Eddy is supposed to be on the road right now travelling to his next gig. There is no way he is at a party.”
“Maya, don’t shoot the messenger OK. Just open the link.”
Maya took the phone from her ear, opened the link on social media and gasped. Sure enough, Chloe was right. Plain as day, there was Eddy with another woman in his arms kissing her passionately. What was worse, was Maya recognized the woman. She was from his entourage and had been travelling around with the band the whole time he had been gone.
Betrayal ripped through her like a red hot double edge knife. Maya gripped her stomach and doubled over in pain desperately trying to catch her breath. It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t be. That had to be someone else. She just couldn’t believe Eddy would cheat on her after all they had been to one another.One little fight did not justify cheating on her!
Shock over took her body and her mind worked it over fiercely trying to come up with some explanation as to why this could have happened. She picked up her phone and looked at the picture again. Without a doubt it was definitely Eddy. She would know that tattoo on his arm anywhere. Now the phone call made sense. He knew she was going to find out and thought to minimise the damage. She wondered exactly what he had planned on telling her before the line went dead.
“Maya. Maya! Maya are you there?” Chloe’s desperate please finally cut through the fog in her brain and she put the phone back up to her ear.
“How could he… why would he. I, I, don’t understand.”
“I’m sorry Maya. I’m so sorry to have to be the one to tell you this. I just didn’t want you to go off to the Valley and be told by some vindictive paparazzi. I know how I would feel if that happened to me. Look, I have to go and I’m really sorry about that. Don’t do anything stupid tonight. Just turn off your phone and lay low for the night. Once you get to Sunset Valley, you can hide for a while until you decide what you want to do.”
“Yeah,” was all Maya could seem to say.
“Call me tomorrow when you make it there and get settled in with the Landgraabs. Bye.”
Maya closed the phone and just stared at it for a moment. She was tempted to open the social link again to look at it one more time, just to see, to know it really was all real. But she followed Chloe’s advice and turned off her phone. She looked around the party and discovered that a lot of the guests had already cleared out. Looking back at her phone, she threw it across the yard and burst into heart wrenching tears. Like the vultures they are, the paparazzi descended on her with their cameras snapping pictures.
She quickly pulled herself together, gave them a look of disgust and marched her way over to the juice keg. Pouring herself a drink, she gulped it down, and scanned the room. Choosing her mark she walked over to the first handsome young man she saw and asked him to slow dance. Two can play at that game Eddy, she thought. See how you feel when you see this in the papers.
When the song was over, she poured herself another drink and then another. Scanning the room again, she found her next mark.
At this point Maya was feeling pretty good and quite inhibited. The party took on a new life and people were soon jumping and dancing to the music and singing along to the songs. The kegs were quickly filled and refilled and Maya continued to drink to calm her aching heart and the stabbing pain in her belly, both of which were feeling pretty good by the time she had downed her sixth drink. And as all good parties go, two things usually occur. First the police showed up and started a fight with Maya over the noise level.
She was a little pissed at first but using her newly charming ways Maya easily got the police officer to not only allow them to continue to party, but to join the party herself. Secondly, Maya in her uninhibited state decided it was a little time for streaking.
Which once again was caught on camera but at that moment she just didn’t care.
“You want to cheat on me? Really! Cheat on this!” Maya slurred to no one in particular while dragging her hands down her side and posing provocatively. She stumbled over to the area she had thrown her phone and scooped it off the grass. Taking considerable time to dial Eddy’s number, she swayed as she waited for him to pick it up.
“I got the voice mail.” she said to the body next to her, not really knowing who it was. At the sound of the tone she left Eddy a piece of her mind and turned off her phone again.
Or at least she thought she did, but she really didn’t care. Next thing she knew someone had thrown their arm around her waist and was leading her to her room. She vaguely remembered being tucked into bed and someone shutting the door. And then the world went black.
CC Used In This Chapter
Rose Floral Dress-(pattern by Marcorse at TSR)