It was such a very trying 5 years for me since I reunited with Charlie. He never recovered from his selective amnesia, he remembered well how to run his empire and how to dance but he never remembered who I am. He never accepted and treated me as his wife nor friend, whenever I am around he would be so irritable and annoyed, he often show despise and distraught, I could not believe that this is my Charlie, my husband. But all those five years I never showed him that it bothered me, I showed more love and affection. My patience was always being tried. I did everything that we usually enjoyed before, breakfast in the garden, I would play the pianoforte, I would take him to The Crypt with me at nights and dance for a couple of hours. I would even serve him his favorite meal everyday. I can see all the servants and security aids pitying me especially Bruce who always was at my side giving me hope each day and strength with his encouraging words of wisdom. One day I just received a message from Charlie’s lawyer asking for an audience. He gave the news to me straight and hard when I met him, “Please sign this Madame Graham, Mr. Graham is filing for a divorce, he could not continue living with a woman whom he claims to be a stranger. He also will take care of the 7 years that you spent married to him with monetary consolation and your favorite resort in Hawaii. He also ask that you not fight his request anymore for both party’s benefit. The private jet will take you straight to France where your entourage will be waiting your personal things are taken cared of as we speak and will be sent to your villa by tomorrow morning.I deeply regret to be the bearer of these news Valerie, I know how you suffered all these years and how you truly cared for Charles.” I signed the papers, left the package of consolation and shook the lawyer’s hand and left without a word.
The gravity of my divorce only hit me when I arrive that noon at the château, “home sweet home” I exhaled. I went straight to ask the chef of the main house for his best bottle of red wine and took a glass with me, started drinking in solitary confinement of the Blue Rose garden. It was close to eleven that evening when I turned around and saw Alec staring at me from the opening of the maze. “It’s such a pity for a lady to finish a bottle of the best alone. The servants told me you’ve been out here since noon and haven’t touched your food yet that’s your second bottle.” He close in the distance and gave me a gentle kiss on the cheek, “How are you cheri? I am so sorry for not being the one to welcome you back, I finished most of the week’s transaction reports on Le Blanc so I could spend this week with you.” He gently took the empty bottle of my hand and led me to the secret path through my villa. “Cheri I believe you need to rest now and tomorrow we will have a very busy day. But if you want to talk about “it” I’d be willing to listen.” I guess it’s the influence of the alcohol in my blood, I just decided to drag Alec at the back of the villa to the gazebo. “Dance with me Monsieur Mowatt, tonight we will relive our days at The Crypt, remember the music that we danced to when we won the contest? I can hear the music playing now Alec, my body is aching for the old times. Feel the music at it moves your body Alec…” We dance that instant in unison, the same Argentine Tango that we danced at The Crypt on the night of the contest. We won that night, it was my first. Alec and I danced as if it was just yesterday, flawless and the intense feeling still there. The ending was a dip and after that was supposedly a deep passionate kiss, but unexpectedly I passed out. Alec carried me to my room and put me to bed. He was about to kiss me on the lips when he heard me murmured “I love you, Charlie” and tears escaped my eyes. He wiped those tears and kissed my forehead instead and left me.
True to his word Alec spent the week with me, entertaining me taking me to museums, restaurants, plays and concerts. I momentarily felt so relieved but on the seventh night I had a very brief and sincere talk with Alec pouring out my feelings yet I am now resolved and will start moving on. I will now also start helping Alec running Le Blanc.
The next couple of months passed quickly with Alec keeping me in tow, we would visit all the partners and branches, within France and abroad. He also helped me arranged a meeting with Charlie’s lawyer, I returned the monetary consolation and the deed of the resort at Hawaii that they sent together with my luggage. I was enjoying the business world now, Alec taught me everything I need to know. It was sooner than I’ve expected when Alec reintroduced me in the empire, gathered all the new board of directors, CEOs, partners and managers under Le Blanc empire. He then turned over everything to my care but still under his supervision. My world now was the empire and it kept me busy enough to think of my past I was enjoying every single day of it, yet from time to time Alec would update me with the outside world and drag me out of my office and take me to an amusement park or museum or the beach for me to relax and loosen up a bit.
On my 30th birthday he took me to Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand. I get to buy my first set of ski, the experience was so magnificent, I never wanted to leave that place. It was a very nice winter get-away/ birthday present to receive from Alec. We were check in at Bayview Chateau Tongariro, dined at their restaurant and had a night-cap at our adjoining suites. We were drinking wine and sharing old stories of childhood when I remembered my surprise gift. I stood up went to my bedside table and grabbed a wooden box. “This is my very belated birthday gift for you, Happy 30th birthday! I’m really sorry for being so late, I did not forget your birthday but I was so engrossed with work I never stepped out of the office to buy your gift. I hope you like it.” Alec opened the box and was smiling when he took out the gold-plated pocket watch with a matching 24k gold chain, he read the inscription out loud, “to my mentor, hero and mon ami…toujours Valerie“. He was now teary eyed, embraced me and said “merci, merci cheri”. “Why are you frowning Alec, are you upset? I thought you’d like it, do you want to change it?” Alec took my hand and said”It’s not that cheri, I love this, I’m honored as well.” I tilted Alec’s face so I can see well into his eyes, “And what’s the matter, can’t you tell me?” He fished for something in his jacket and sat beside me. “Since the day we met I knew I felt something special for you Valerie, but we both detest match-makings that is why we acted indifferently towards each other since that day. Then I met Claudette and married her, I thought the feelings would’ve died by then, but it was just slumbering. Then all of those incidents in the past, the circumstances that developed , I thought fate was playing with me, I was being painfully led towards you, and these past months I know that my feelings for you since that first time I saw you grew even more. I planned to propose to you tonight. Hence, this black diamond ring, I love you so much Valerie, but I don’t want to lose you. If proposing to you means losing our friendship then I’d rather be your friend and companion forever and run the empire with you.” He took the ring out of the box and put it in my finger, “This is your birthday gift cheri, mon ami toujours! ” then kissed my cheek. I instinctively held kiss face and kissed both his cheeks a couple of times being so grateful that he understands me. Then Alec got carrier away, he began kissing me with warmth and passion, I returned the kisses and when we broke off I said to him in a gentle tone,”Thank you for understanding me Alec, you really are a true friend. Yes, we love each other very much but both on different levels. The respect you have given me since the first day we met up until now is unwavering and I am grateful for that. I will cherish this ring and you, Monsieur Christian Alexander Mowatt forever. ”