Chapter 3

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Somewhere on the other side of the world on an island of Portsea, United Kingdom...

"The large crowd outside with eager fans queuing for me, I am a celebrity, where my desperate screaming for being alone has no place amongst the audience which cheers on, oblivious to my anguish"... This is my Life.

Enrique Ziakas, famous singer from UK.

This is again one of those mornings where Enrique's dreams take the shape of a nightmare and haunt him till he wakes up violently with anger and rage inside him. He has been up since four in the morning when even after a long, exhausting run was not able to calm him down he took his brush to distract himself. His canvas standing next to the ocean where the dominant sound was the lap of the sea on the shore, and every other sound seems to be a distant hum for him.

"My Life... Solitary confinement", I exclaimed to myself as an emptiness ebbed away inside of me. I had paid my price to be here. The sacrificial lamb, if you will.

Temper moved inside me in the throes, just as the ocean was driven by its waves. I splashed hues of orange and red on a blank canvas more so in a bid to relieve the pent-up anger... And people called this art and gave me their love in return – the naivety of this world that the pain in my eyes that no one could see. Or, were they merely oblivious and indifferent? I used to Love painting, writing stories & poetry, singing the most soulful songs, and clicking photos to capture a memory, I was a creative person, and I still am, but my inspiration has been lost few years ago. I like to do anything which comes from my heart and not from my mind, but my heart had been broken, and I don't believe that I even own one now.

Fury, defiance, and guilt poured out through my nostrils and my fingers onto the canvas. One of the few places, it felt, where I could express myself. I look away from my painting. Living by the ocean had its perks. For one, the sea is always alive. The waves still at my beck and call, like an expensive butler. Always willing to listen to my story... Like a good bartender...

Two slender hands wrap around my bare chest like a snake around a tree. I know its Alesha with her signature perfume choking my nostrils and her dainty fingernails clawing into my chest.

"I woke up cold," she said in her heavy accent and nuzzled her cheek between my neck and my shoulder.

What began weeks ago as another tryst in my garden of loveless Eden had now unfolded itself into another episode of rather bland lovemaking and little else? Only now this girl felt like she had the right to demand my time and my attention besides the money. Money was usually no problem. It was an unspoken agreement of sorts. But, my time... And my focus, amongst other things, has never been up for negotiation. Or, for that matter, my painting skills.

"Paint me..." She whispered as she kissed my ear. I distanced myself.

"No. I don't do Portraits anymore", I said without turning to face her. I was emotionless. I could see her put on a show of a frown.

"Why not?" She asked me.

"You ask too many questions, and every question doesn't have an answer," I said while taking a step towards going back to the mansion.

"Maybe you want to take an exception for me." She said while running behind to catch up with my pace.

Irritated with her persistence and the mentioning of the word 'portrait' I think to myself that her time seems to be almost up. I told Alesha to get ready for breakfast and will join you in a few minutes. I walked inside my mansion and greeted by my manager.

"Enrique there you are, the most famous Singer in Europe!" Said my manager who had just let himself in. Of course, it was not a Sunday.

"I have great news. We got a call from Lucas Cardelli, the Hollywood director who just picked up the Emmys last month. He wants to work with you. He wants to feature you in your latest song in his movie. He even asked if you would like to play a lead role in the movie with your good looks and popularity. What do you say? It will be a great opportunity for us." He said enthusiastically.

"Decline the offer" I replied, pouring coffee in my cup.

"What?!" Ronald reacted.

"I said decline the offer," I repeated while taking a sip from my black coffee.

"But it will make you more famous outside Europe, and he is ready to pay any price that we ask of him" he blurted.

"Why is everyone testing my patience today?" I said, annoyed.

Alesha appeared from the kitchen listening in on my words, but finding Ronald in the room, tiptoed across the hall with her mug of coffee.

"I work on my terms. I don't need to explain myself to anyone, Ronald" I exclaimed."As your manager and a long-time friend, I have a right to ask you this, why are you throwing away a lifetime opportunity like it doesn't even matter."

I looked at Ronald and then replied "Of all the people Ronald you know money was never my priority in life and neither being famous. I already have more than I ever wanted. What I need is some peace of mind."

"Well, I shall call you tomorrow to see if you have changed your mind" and with that, he pulled out some paperwork from his briefcase and left it on the coffee table.

I had to go out for a drive. I dropped a note for Alesha that 'I won't be around for a while and decided to drive out.' I turned on the ignition and heard the engine roar to life.

"If diamonds are a girl's best friend then a Bentley is a man's."

I could feel the powerful engine and let lose the monster I take my Bentley for a long drive. On my way, I came across to a point where I had to slow down to cross the village market. I saw a sight in the park opposite the shops, which made me stop and step out. I saw a family enjoying a picnic on this beautiful sunny day. A pretty girl wrapped in her husband's arm sitting on some inexpensive checked picnic blanket, her husband dropping whispers of kisses on her forehead while she looked over her 3 maybe 4-year-old daughter a little image of her mother with the same hair and creamy complexion, picking flowers in her tiny basket. They seem happy together — the man was sitting there with calmness in his heart and a smile on his face. And for a few seconds, I imagined myself to be that man with the same expression on my face and when I turn to look at the girl beside him...I know that beautiful face, I know those shining eyes, I remember those lips I have tasted them and still craves for them..., And when she holds my hand and smile back at me everything seems to be in place... I envied the man sitting there since he had something I did not.

I fetched my aviators from the glove box before anyone could see that rich men too could cry. A layer of dust left behind by the Bentley settled eventually. However, my heart did not.

"I hate her, we could have had this," I said to myself. As Enrique drove on...

"Thanks, Everyone for your appreciation. This time I have changed my writing style to accommodate the thoughts of the new character. Please let me know through your comments how do you find it. Any suggestions/feedback are more than welcome."

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