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‘What are we doing for the holidays?’
‘I don’t know. What do you want to do?’ Sloane looks at her husband as she gets dressed. He is still in bed, no signs of getting out of it. ‘You’re really not going into the office today?’
‘Nope. You don’t have to go in too, you know.’ Fitz sits up in bed, tired from jet lag.
‘I do have to go in. I have a million things to do before the holidays. I’m meeting with two new brands today and buyers at The Rose.’ She slips on one shoe and hobbles over to sit beside him. It is not always that he gets to sleep in, he deserves this morning in bed, if only she could join him.
Fitz smiles boyishly at his wife. They don’t get to spend a lot of time in this bed of theirs, they are too busy conquering the world, and so make do with hotel beds. He flew in late last night from a business trip after being away for two months in three continents and as proprietor of her much sought after consultancy firm, Sloane’s hours are just as unconventional as his, at times more so. He ought to go into the office, but what good is it working for oneself if you cannot take a random day off? He leans forward, sealing them with a kiss. ‘I miss you already.’
‘Don’t make it so hard.’ She collects her handbag and coat from the armchair.
‘It was on purpose.’ He chuckles.
‘I know.’ Sloane slips on the other shoe, now fully dressed; make-up will be done in the car as always. ‘Christmas, let’s look at something fun we can do here or in the Hamptons.’
‘Neither.’ Fitz shakes his head.
‘I don’t want to spend the holidays here, we do that every year and I definitely don’t want to go to the Hamptons.’
Sloane stops by the door to look at Fitz- Harper Fitzgerald, her too handsome, too sexy, husband. Everyone calls him Fitz; a nickname from kindergarten. Sometimes she calls him Harp, short for Harper. ‘What do you wanna do?’
‘Go away somewhere.’
‘Are you okay Harp?’ She walks back towards him; she will be terribly late for her meetings, but this sounds like a bigger conversation.
‘I missed you a lot when I was away and I know you’ve been just as busy being super woman, I want us to go away. We haven’t really had a holiday in goodness knows how long. Let’s go to the Village.’
‘You said you wanted a holiday. Neither going to my village nor staying with my parents qualifies.’
‘Sweetheart, we hardly ever go to the Village. We’re married and you live here with me surrounded by my family and friends. My world-’
‘That’s an extension of mine. I love it when we visit with your parents, it’s like being in your world and I get to see you in every stage of your life. I love that. I miss it. You hardly get to see your sisters; I know you talk with them every day, but you should see them as much as you can, when you can. I want you to be happy. Always.’
‘And with you, I am. Always. I’m happy with you because our life is so full.’
Fitz gives her the cutest smile.
‘What’s that smile for?’
‘You said life, not lives.’
‘My life became yours when we got married, and yours became mine.’ She leans forward and gives him a soft kiss, ‘let’s keep talking about the holidays. I’ll call my sisters to feel them out. We’ll talk later. That okay?’
‘And you’ll call your parents to see if we can come stay?’
Sloane rolls her eyes. ‘Fine I will. Now you’ve made me really late.’
‘I love you.’
‘I love you too.’
Sloane hurries out the door, an hour late but it was needed. Whilst applying her make up in the back seat, she calls her sisters.
‘Hang on I am just getting my chicken out of the oven.’ Bea calls over the speaker.
‘Hey you. What’s up? Late start to your day isn’t it?’ Serena, the oldest of the Rhodes girls, says to her youngest sister.
Sloane knows Serena has been at her desk since before sunrise, the consummate overachiever.
‘Hello yous.’ Bella, the third oldest connects to the call to complete the quartet.
‘I’m back don’t start without me.’ Bea says.
‘No one is starting anything without you.’ Serena says, no doubt rolling her eyes. ‘Are you still coming up for brunch on Sunday?’
‘Of course. Can we stop by Liberty? I want to photograph the Christmas windows for a client’s commission.’
‘We might as well have brunch there. I’ll make reservations at Arthur’s.’
‘I wanna come.’ Sloane says in a childlike voice.
‘You can. We’ll facetime.’
‘Good. Bells why aren’t you going to brunch?’
‘Because I’m busy.’
‘Mind your own business.’
‘Bad girl.’ Sloane giggles. ‘So, Fitz ran something by me this morning and I wanted to talk to you about it, because it involves yous guys.’
‘Everything okay?’ It wouldn’t be Serena if she did not ask the question.
‘Yes everything is good. We’re good. He wants us to spend the holidays in the Village.’
‘What’s wrong with Christmas in the Village Bea?’ Bella asks the question that popped into Sloane’s mind.
‘It’s a perfectly lovely place and I love the holidays here, I just thought you’d want to go somewhere that feels more like you are going away not just coming home.’
‘I know what you mean, but he said something more about it…’ Sloane fills her sisters in on the conversation she had with Fitz this morning.
‘That is such a lovely sentiment.’ Bella says, ‘I mean we miss you a lot because we are so close, and he recognises that. Aww I love him for you.’
‘You don’t think he is going through a midlife crisis do you?’
‘No of course not.’ Serena says, ‘he’s your husband and should want you to be happy. Don’t be silly. We would love to see you for the holidays.’
‘We’ll have to stay at the house, that’s another thing he doesn’t want us to buy a house in the Village because he always wants home to feel… well like home.’
‘I swear to God Sloane, if you ever break this man’s heart I will hunt you down and kill you.’ Bea mildly threatens.
‘I’ll try not to.’
‘Mom and Dad will be happy to have you home, mom can fuss over you all she wants and you don’t get to moan about it.’ Serena says, the testy relationship between her sister and their mother is no secret, it got better with the distance between them.
‘She’s your mother, it’s the holidays, let her have at it.’ Bella says with a little laugh.
‘Fine. Fine.’ Sloane shakes off their concerns. ‘Sorted. Now I have to go, because I’m so late for everything today and I wasn’t even banging my husband.’
‘Sucker!’ Parker laughs.
‘Hang on, before you go, I have something to tell you guys.’ Bella stops her sisters before they disconnect the call.
‘There is no easy way to say this so I’m just going to say it.’
‘Bells what’s going on?’ Sloane is immediately concerned, as are the others.
Bella sighs, this is the craziest thing she has ever done. ‘Um…so I got married last night. Bye.’ Dial tone.
‘What the fuck!’
‘Did she just- Bella!’
But the third eldest Rhodes daughter had dropped her bomb, and left her sisters hanging.
It was a sentiment shared by all three.
(images- Liberty London Christmas windows)