More Precious than a Crown(8)

By: Carol Marinelli


Had she been willing that ash cloud to appear perhaps?

Of course she had.

Just a nice natural disaster where no one got hurt and one where it could be explained in the speeches that, though Trinity had done everything she possibly could to get there...

Boarding.

Trinity watched as the sign flicked over and dragged herself to the back of the line. Even as she took her seat on the aircraft she was hoping for a black miracle.

A flock of seagulls perhaps?

Yes, an aborted take-off seemed preferable to facing her family, or rather her aunt and her husband.

When Donald had called Trinity to tell her that he was marrying Yvette, though she had given her congratulations and said that, of course, she’d be thrilled to be there, inside her stomach had churned.

On concluding the call, Trinity had actually dashed to the toilet to be sick.

She felt sick now.

A harried mother and baby took the seat next to her.

Why, oh, why, hadn’t she used the money her father had given her to buy a business-class seat, Trinity thought as the baby told her with his big blue eyes that he was going to do everything in his power to scream all the way to Heathrow.

The take-off was impeccable, not a seagull to be found!

Then the captain came on and said that he would do his level best to make up lost time.

Trinity wished she could do the same—that she could push a few buttons and ride a tail wind if it meant that she could erase lost years. An ancient art history degree that she’d somehow obtained, as she’d struggled merely to operate, lay unused. Clubs, bars, dancing had been but a temporary escape from her pain and grief. California healing had beckoned, but neither reiki, nor chakra cleansing, nor the roar of the vast Pacific could replace what had been lost.

Her latest attempt to cure her repulsion to anything that hinted on sexual had been positive-reinforcement-based training.

Ha-ha.

Two thousand dollars later and several pounds heavier, Trinity had decided that no amount of chocolate or affirmations were going to cure her particular problem.

She loved herself?

Most of the time, yes.

She’d just prefer not to be touched.

The meals were served and Trinity just picked at hers and refused wine. Despite what the newspapers said, she really only drank at family things.

Which it soon would be.

No.

As the cabin lights were dimmed Trinity tried to doze but Harry, as it turned out the baby was called, had decided now that he liked her. He kept patting her cheeks with his little fat hands.

‘Sorry,’ his mum kept saying.

‘It’s not a problem.’

Trinity tried to doze some more.

It didn’t work.

The only consolation to attending the wedding was that she had just found out that, though at first he had declined, Zahid was going to be the best man.

She hadn’t seen him since that night ten years ago and Trinity wondered what he would be like now, if he even remembered that kiss in the woods.

If he’d ever given her a thought since then.

Trinity closed her eyes and briefly returned to the rapture of being in his arms and the bliss of his kiss, but her eyes suddenly snapped open for she could not even escape to the sanctuary of them without recalling what had happened later that night and in the months that had followed.

There was so much adrenaline in her legs that Trinity tried walking around the sleepy cabin, dreading what she must face later today. How she’d hoped her mother would tell her that Clive and Elaine hadn’t been invited, how she wished her father, or even her brother, would step in.

No one ever had.

Skeletons belonged in the closet. Dirty laundry belonged in a basket.

Clive was more prominent than her father.

Nothing could be gained by speaking out. It was easier to simply smile for the cameras.

It wasn’t, though.

All too soon the scent of breakfast came from the galley and, opening the shutter, she saw dawn.

The wedding day was here.

Trinity returned to her seat, where Harry was shrieking. ‘Would you mind?’ his mum asked. ‘I have to go to the restroom.’

‘Of course.’

Trinity held Harry, who stood on her thighs with his knees buckling as he screamed and screamed. ‘Go, Harry!’ Trinity smiled. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be as uninhibited as Harry, to simply scream out your pain and not care a jot what others thought?

She didn’t get to hold babies much. All her family was in the UK and none of her friends in LA had babies yet.

The sting of tears in her own eyes was terribly unwelcome and Trinity swallowed them back, telling herself she was being ridiculous. There was no comparison, Trinity told herself as she looked at Harry.

He was all big and chunky and wriggling.

Whereas she had been so tiny and so very still.

The sob that escaped Trinity’s lips came from somewhere so deep and buried that even Harry stopped his tirade.