Cold

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Rosabella:
Rose pulled her coat tighter around herself, she could hear the sound of her own teeth rattling and shivering in the cold. Snow flakes twirled in circles gracefully as they fell from the clouds. Rose clung to her backpack strip, gripping it tightly to fight the anxiety welling up in her.
"Where the fuck is he?" She thought.
People in big fur coats, warm boots and colorful scars and beanies walked past her. Rose looked down at her own clothes, a sky blue sweater, plain black jeans, brown boots that had worn out paired with an old brown coat and a brown beanie. Her clothes were simple, cheap and unadorned. Her coat was at least four years old by now, its sleeves were tearing and the fur around her neck and sleeves was starting to fall out. The worn out fabrics were failing to fight the cold away from her body. But it was all she could afford, she needed money for better things.
She sighed, hopefully someday she could buy something that could keep her warm. She wished she could buy a cup of warm coffee, something to wash down the rock of ice stuck in her throat.
Rose scanned the different heads and faces passing by her for him but he was nowhere to be found. Rose was starting to get worried. In this cold, roads maybe frozen over.
Was he okay?
Did he get hurt on the way?
"Rose!"
All her worry was replaced with immediate relief.
His voice chased all her demons away, made the pain she had been crying out from for so long disappear.
Rose ran across the crowd and threw herself into his arms, her legs gave off as he lifted her up, twirling her around as she placed kisses on his cheek.
"I've missed you so much!" Rose chirped as he finally set her down.
He looked into her eyes, his smile growing even bigger.
"I can't even begin to describe how much I've missed you, Darling." He answered.
"That's nice, Lucas, and we can kiss all we want later." Rose said immediately in a shiver, "But can we get home before I turn into an ice sculpture?"
Lucas laughed and ran a hand through his golden hair, fixing his green eyes on her.
"You won't be a bad sculpture to look at." He said in a small voice.
Rose felt her cheeks flush flaming red with embarrassment, her words were stuck in a knot of embrassment and flatter. She stepped on his foot and tried to giggle it off.
"Only if flat trees turn you on." She said.
Lucas took her backpack from her and threw it across his shoulder, wrapping his left arm around her waist.
"Let's go home then?" He asked.
Rose nodded.
If only he knew how badly she wanted to get to somewhere warm. But how would he understand? He was wearing a long and warm black coat with a white sweater underneath and a black scarf around his neck.
He lead her out of the airport, a man dressed in a neat black suit was waiting with a black Range Rover outside for them. The man opened the backseat door for them.
"After you, my queen." He said, bowing.
"Thank you, peasant." Rose said with a wink and climbed in.
She saw Lucas roll his eyes and climb in, the man closed the door behind him and got into the driver's seat.
Inside the car was clean, the beige seats were spotless and the air conditioner had already warmed the car for them. As they began to drive off, Lucas wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer to himself, Rose cuddled up against his deep chest.
"Damn I've missed your scent." He said, inhaling the scent of her hair.
"How are the others?" She asked.
Although Rose expected him to answer immediately, it was an easy question afterall, he didn't. Lucas hesitated.
The pause created a knot in Rose's stomach. Was something wrong? Was someone hurt? It was as if Lucas sensed the fear in her because he immediately smiled and pushed a strand of her blond hair behind her ear and said, "they're great. Pregnancy is taking its toll on Alissa but they're all great."
Rose sighed but she didn't believe him. She knew Lucas, and she knew he wouldn't hesitate if everything was "great".
"How much longer are you gonna stay here?" Lucas asked.
"As long as you all do."
"Chanel calls the shot on how long we'regonna be staying."
Rose stared at Lucas in confusion, "Chanel? I thought you were going to stay until Alissa gives birth."
"Yeah, but Chanel knows the family that'll adopt the baby so she knows how much longer it'll take." Lucas answered, "how was everything going back home?"
Rose shrugged, "Micah's gone back to Iraq for a while. Ashley's in Melbourne with Asher and Luna's...a bit busy."
"Yeah, Chanel talked about it. She's trying out for-"
"She already did." Rose interrupted.
"She did?"
Rose nodded, "She got accepted."
"Wow. I didn't think she'd be accepted after she just got accept into the CIA."
Rose sighed and shook her head, "It's a shock. She's so stubborn. Out of all things, she just had to set her eyes on an FBI agent. It just had to be that."
"Luna's strong, Rose, and if this is what she wants then we can't do anything about it." Lucas said.
"Fuck what she wants!" Rose snapped, "agents are in constant danger. Does it look like I can handle having one of my best friends be shot in the head?"
"She's twenty, Rose, she's a legal adult. We can't really do anything about it." Lucas reminded her.
"That's the problem! I can't do anything and I can't convince her." Rose said.
"She can't hide her shit from the CIA forever." Lucas asked.
"Oh trust me, she can. Luna can be deceptional."
"Anyway," Lucas said, changing the subject, "how's Jack?"
"I barely get to see much of him," Rose replied, "he's almost always working. Setting up the foundations for the businesses and shit."
"Chanel's always on the phone with him. I didn't expect them to start this early."
"I don't blame them. Chanel always said she wanted to start early. I honestly expect them to start when we first moved to Sydney."
"They barely had enough money to live on after buying the house, cars and student bills." Lucas said, "Chanel's been working the entire time we've been here."
"Her pathology professor said that her grades are beginning to fall."
Lucas bit his lip, "she's a little tired."
Rose sighed and stayed silent.
She looked out the window at the snow falling down on the roads that were as white as a clean sheet of paper. Lucas planted a kiss on her head, he was trying to comfort the fears and suspicions in her mind.
The rest of the long ride drove them out of the peaceful and gorgeous city of Stockholm and stopped a few miles out of the city.
The gardens surrounding the mansion were covered in white snow but there were green spots of grass here and there. The white mansion blend well with the snow but rose high above their heads.
"To think I thought your mansion in Sydney was big." Rose murmered.
Lucas laughed and grabbed her backpack as he got out of the car.
Rose followed him down the stone pathway that lead lead to the house, his hand locked in hers. Anxiety was eating away at the anticipation
Rose coulx finally see her friends again. Part of her wanted to turn back and leave, another part wanted to run through the door and throw herself at her friends.
She missed them, she wanted them, she needed them!
Rose fidgeted with a piece of tissue in her coat's pocket while Lucas turned the key unbearably slowly. The door opened with a click, Lucas led Rose inside.
Her breath was taken away, her boots echoed clicks as she walked over the light blue marble floors. Brown patterns of smudges and lines adorned the marble under her feet, two large flights of white stairs twirled down on either side, a large white chandelier brightened up the entire house. Rose could see white doors upstairs, bedrooms she assumed. Hallways and open glass doors lead to the central part of the mansion, each dimly lit with calming blue lights.
"Wow..." Rose breathed.
"Alissa will be over the moon to see you." Lucas said, pulling her into a large living room.
The living room barely had any walls except for large glass windows covered in pulled back brown silk curtains giving Rose a great view of the snowy paradise outside. The floor of the living room was made of smooth and spotless spruce wooden planks. Yet another chandelier hung above their heads.
Alissa was sitting by one of the windows, her phone in her hand, her beautiful voice sang a tune that ran through the entire room. Rose smiled, she didn't want to disturb the peace she seemed to have.
"Wow, you're caught up in some daydream." Lucas said.
Alissa smiled with a sigh, putting her phone down and turning around. Rose smiled, waiting for her reaction. Alissa froze, a large grin covered her face from ear to ear and her big green eyes lit up. She ran to Rose and threw her arms around her, Rose hugged her back, being careful to not hurt her large baby bump.
"I can't believe you're here!" Alissa beamed, "God, I've missed you so much, you little whore!"
Rose chuckled, "I've missed you too, slut."
Rose pulled away and took a look at Alissa. Her big brown curls were tied up in a large bun on her head, her pink lips were curved in a large grin but exhaustion was still evident in her asian features. Her large baby bump was pushing through her short blue dress. Rose put her hands on Alissa's stomach carefully.
"Your little one has grown so much." Rose said, a smile curving her lips.
"I'm nine months through, Rose, of course she'd be big." Alissa answered with a slight laugh.
Rose's eyes met Alissa's, and Rose felt something she hadn't felt in months.
Joy.
"She?" Rose asked.
Alissa nodded, "it's a girl."
Rose hugged her, "that's so amazing!"
Alissa shrugged indifferently.
"Amazing for whoever wants her."
"What a nice reunion, huh?" Lucas cut in.
"You little ugly skunk!" Alissa joked and threw her arms around his neck, having to stand on her toes to reach him.
Rose scanned the living room and the rest of the house.
"Where's Chanel?" She asked.
Alissa's face went pale, she suddenly became very uneasy.
"She's in her room." Alissa said, her voice that was so loud and cheerful a few seconds ago now became rough and as small as a whisper.
"I-is something wrong?" Rose asked.
After one glance at Lucas, Alissa put on a fake smile and shook her head, "nope! She's just a little tired."
Lucas took Rose's hand back in his and met her hazel eyes.
"But seeing you here will make everything better for her," he said, "let's go!"
He pulled Rose out of the living room and up the stairs.
Down the blue hallways, Rose saw paintings of wars, of landscapes in the bright sun and of the ocean roaring on the walls. She never knew that Lucas liked art in any way. She followed him down the hallway but he stopped by one of the doors.
"You should go in alone." He said.
"What? why?" She asked, "Lucas, is something wrong that you're not telling me?"
Lucas only smiled and pressed his lips against her forehead.
"No, sweetheart, nothing's wrong. Chanel's just a bit tired and I don't want to disturb your little girls' reunion."
Rose nodded.
There was something off about his tone but rise just couldn't put her finger on it. Lucas gave her one last smile before going downstairs. Rose stared at the white door and took a deep breath.
Why was she so nervous?
She couldn't find the answer but she couldn't help the feeling that something was wrong. Why were they all so uneasy? Rose shook her head and pushed herself to knock.
Knock, knock, knock.
She pursed her lips and stopped after three steady knocks. There was a long pause before Rose finally heard Chanel's firm voice say, "come in."
          Rose opened the door and the only light that was in the room was the light that emerged when she opepened the door. Chanel was sitting on the balcony, the cold Swedish wind was blowing into the room. Rose swallowed, now she knew that something was defiantly wrong.
Chanel didn't get up or move at all. She had her back to Rose and couldn't see her. Rose hesitated, what should she say?
Rose cursed internally at herself. How could she be nervous around her best friend? Why would she be nervous around her best friend?
Rose stepped inside the dark room, two black jackets were tossed on the bed, a white dress was crumbled on the floor by her feet.
"What's with the darkness in here? Are you emo or something now?" Rose said with a chuckle.
Chanel didn't turn around and didn't move. Rose's stomach took a twist, she walked over to her but Chanel still didn't turn around even when she knew she could feel her towering above her.
"When did you get here, Rosie?" She asked.
"Wow, that's how you greet your best friend after seven months, Coco?" Rose said.
Chanel flinched when Rose called her Coco. As if she was uncomfortable.
But Rose didn't understand why it would make her uncomfortable. They had been calling her Coco ever since they were little because she was a fan of Coco Chanel. After a pause, Chanel got up and slowly wrapped her arms around Rose, pulling her into a hug.
"Thank God you're here." Chanel said, "I missed you so much."
"That's better." Rose joked.
Chanel pulled away and started for the other side of the room.
As she switched on the lights, Rose got a better look at her. Her short brown hair fell limply on her shoulders, in the freezing cold, all she was wearing was a large hoodie dress that reached slightly below her thighs. She was exhausted, her brown eyes were hindered with large eye bags and black circles of exhaustion highlighting her eyes. Rose was horrified, Lucas and Alissa were not joking when they said she was tired.
"Sorry I've just been a little short on time lately," Chanel said, picking up the dress and tossing it on the bed, "Lucas didn't tell me you were coming this early."
"He wanted to surprise you." Rose said, helping Chanel hang the dress and jackets in her closet.
"Did you see Alissa yet?" Chanel asked.
"Yeah, I talked to her before I got up here. She's gotten so big!"
Chanel shrugged and sat down on her bed, "how's Jack?"
"I should be asking you. You talk to him more than I do when you're eighty-five hundred miles away."
Chanel forced a smile, "yeah but we usually only discuss business and work."
"I'm so proud of you by the way. I know it may be hard now but all successful businesses have rough starts."
Chanel nodded and got up,
let's go downstairs." She said, suddenly turning energetic.
"But I have to unpack." Rose said.
"The maids can do it for you." Chanel replied, starting for the door.
"Maids?" Rose asked as she followed Chanel down the hallway.
"Your idiot of a boyfriend is a big celeb unless you haven't noticed." Chanel answered, opening the door to another room, "it's not like he can't afford it."
As Chanel switched on the lights, Rose's breath was taken away yet again.
The bedroom was larger than their living room back home. A rich, round green carpet was spread across the floor, the bed stand and closet were adorned with lights and small crystals. The large white bed was covered with soft blue sheets and four large white pillows. Lucas had left Rose's backpack on the bed.
Through the window, Rose could see that sun had already began to set, the sky had become a pleasing mixture of maroon and orange but the darkness of the night could still be seen in the horizon, waiting to engulf the twilight sky into night.
"That's your room, Rosabella." Chanel said, "if you don't like it, you can move to another room. Lucas's got plenty of those."
"No, no, it's great." Rose said quickly, "I'm hungry."
Chanel laughed, putting her hands in her pockets as they walked down the twirling stairs.
"Alissa's always hungry and now I have you to deal with as well?" Chanel said.
"That's right, you and Lucas are gonna have to starve." Rose replied.
"The maids have probably already prepared dinner."
Alissa got to her feet as they came into the dinning room.
A long table was covered by plates of salads, bottles of wine, bowls of soup, plates of meat, rice and pasta. A large chandlier hung above the table and twelve white chairs surrounded the table. An old woman with grey hair pulled back and wearing a black dress was pouring bowls of soup. She looked up at Chanel and Rose with her patient blue eyes, giving them a sweet smile.
"Hey, Ullla. Damn that smells good." Chanel said, returning the old woman's smile.
"Yes, Miss Henesse-" the old woman started.
"Alissa." Chanel corrected her.
The old lady nodded.
"Alissa said she was craving lentil soup earlier this morning." She said, her English had a heavy Swedish accent, pronouncing every consonant as heavily as possible.
"Lord I swear one day Alissa's pregnancy cravings will make us eat bats someday." Chanel said.
The three of them cracked up into laughter as Alissa rolled her eyes in annoyance.
"Dang, Ulla, what's that amazing smell?" Lucas asked. He wrapped his arm around Rose's shoulder, planting a quick kiss on the side of her head. Ulla was staring adoringly with signs of nostalgia in her watery blue eyes.
"You are beautiful couple, darlings." She said in her someway broken English, "Lucas, girl is beautiful. I hope to see baby one day."
Rose's cheeks flushed red in embrassment, "uh! B-baby? No way! Not now! Maybe in ten years or something."
"What? Why?" Ulla asked, "Lucas twenty-three. And you are?"
"U-uh, I'm twenty..." Rose coaxed.
"Perfect!" Ulla beamed, almost dropping the large spoon, "same age as Chanel and Alissa! Perfect age for baby!"
"Perfect? Far from it, Ulla." Chanel said.
"I tell you, Miss Miller, in my time, all girl have baby before twenty. Sometime fifteen or sixteen." She said to Chanel.
"Your time was different, Ulla. But don't worry, we'll have a few babies in ten years," Lucas said as he sat down, "as for now, let's have something to eat."
"Ah, children these days never listen," Ulla murmered to herself, stretching her hand out for Lucas's bowl, "but okay. We have lentil soup for tonight."
She poured some of it into Lucas's bowl and handed it to him.
"I think I'll stick with the pasta." Chanel said as she sat down across from Lucas.
"Whatever you need, Astrid is in kitchen." Ulla said, dusting her dress as if she was ready to leave.
"Won't you have dinner with us, Ulla?" Rose asked.
"No, darling. I have to go back home." Ulla answered.
"Ulla has a sick baby grandson so she has to leave early." Alissa explained in arabic, drinking down a glass of orange juice.
Rose suddenly felt very nauseous. She hated the idea of babies or children being sick in any way. They are only sinless children, she though the, what have they done to deserve that? Why can't they just have a peaceful childhood?
"Oh my god," Rose said, "I'm so sorry."
"No, he is getting better." Ulla replied, her sweet face wrinkled as she smiled, "thanks to Lucas."
Rose glanced at Lucas and gave him a smile of pride. He returned a quick grin and continued on his food.
"I didn't do anything, Ulla." He said, twisting the spaghetti around his fork.
Ulla put her hand on his shoulder, "you paid for many treatment, son, that means world to me."
Lucas patted her hand and grinned at her.
"I'm glad he's getting better."
"Thank you, Lucas," Ulla replied, she started out of the room, "see you tomorrow."
"No, Ulla, wait!" Chanel called out.
She got out of her chair and ran to Ulla. She picked something out of her pocket and handed it to Ulla who was startled and confused.
"Chanel, my dear, I can't take this." Ulla said, looking down at her hand.
"Please, Ulla, don't turn me down." Chanel pleaded with a smile.
"Chanel, you barely have enough to support yourself. You can't-"
Chanel took the cash from her hand and put it in Ulla's pocket.
"I can live, Ulla, no objections please." Chanel said, "now go before you get late. The chauffeur is waiting outside for you."
Ulla embraced Chanel, there were tears of gratitude in her blue eyes.
"Thank you, dear, you are destined for greatness, Chanel Miller." Ulla said.
Chanel patted her shoulder and returned to her seat.
  Ulla nodded with a smile once more before she left. Rose stared at Chanel pouring herself a glass of wine. Pride built up in her heart, knowing that her eyes were radiating some of that pride. She sighed and began to eat in the same silence as everyone else.
"When are you due?" Rose asked Alissa, breaking the silence.
"Nine weeks." Alissa replied, refilling her plate with some salad.
"Put that down!" Lucas bellowed suddenly.
At first, Rose thought he was talking to her so she looked around herself in confusion. But when Chanel stuck her glass down angerily, Rose understood who he was talking to.
"Can you ever mind your own business?" Chanel complained.
"What's the problem with one glass, Lucas?" Rose asked.
"She'll worsen Alissa's alcohol cravings," Lucas answered, putting the bottle of wine away from Chanel and taking her glass away, "and she's gone a bit overboard the past few months."
"Shut the actual fuck up and give me that glass." Chanel demanded.
Lucas shook his head and continued to eat calmly.
"I agree with him, Coco," Alissa said, "you know how alcohol fucks you over."
Chanel opened her mouth to protest but her phone ringing stopped her. Chanel looked at her phone and got up, sighing with exhaustion.
"You guys go in without me." She said.
She answered the call and left the room without wasting another moment.
Lucas threw his fork on the table and put his hand over his mouth, staring at the bottle. Rose lost her appetite and watched Lucas's mind mind wander off as Alissa continued to eat. A flat silence blew through the room for what seemed like a lifetime.
After a long time, Chanel came back into the room. She was wearing a long beige coat and knee high beige boots. She was fixing a black scarf around her neck with panic.
"I have to go," she said in a hurry, "don't wait up for me."
Lucas didn't move for a while but after a pause, he looked up at her.
"Where are you going?" He asked.
Chanel rolled her eyes, "work, Dad."
"It's a little late, Coco," Rose said slowly, "and you can't speak Swedish, maybe it's smarter to-"
"I'll see you later." Chanel said, brushing her away.
She left the room, already dialing someone on her phone. The room was so silent that Rose heard Chanel drive away.
"That's what she's been doing for months now, huh?" Rose asked.
Lucas shook his head and sighed, "she hasn't slept in three days."
"Leave her alone," Alissa cut in as she looked up at them with her mouth full, "she needs the money."
"She needs her health." Rose said sternly.
Alissa didn't respond and continued to eat in silence. Lucas was just staring at the bottle, he hadn't moved a single inch and Rose knew that his mind was well out of this world.
Awkwardness hit Rose and she slacked back into her chair. She forced a few forkfuls of spaghetti into her mouth but she had long lost her appetite. Lucas's phone rang, making him sigh and stand up.
"I have to take this," he said.
Rose's mind was too exhausted, she barely even heard him but she nodded anyway. Lucas kissed the top of her head and left, picking up the call.
Rose continued to watch Alissa eat in silence for a while. She tried to contemplate Chanel's state. What wrong with her? She defiantly was not normal at all. Of course she had been battling major issues back in Sydney as well but she had gotten so much worse now that it was no longer reasonable. Why was she so closed off? Why did she look so...broken?
Rose had been so caught up in her thoughts that she hadn't noticed the time ticking by or Alissa staring at her.
"What are you thinking of, Aristotle?" Alissa said mockingly.
Rose snapped out of her thoughts.
"huh? What?"
Alissa laughed, "what are you thinking of?"
Rose sighed and began fidgeting with a lock of her blond waves, "what could I be thinking of?"
Alissa's smile disappeared.
She may have not wanted rose to notice that but she did. And to her, that was a red flag telling her that something was wrong. But what could it be? Alissa was an open book and Rose wanted to use that for her advantage. Maybe she knows what's wrong?
"I was thinking of what the actual fuck is going on with Chanel." Rose said.
Alissa bit her lip, "what's different about her? She's always been a workaholic. And now with the business thing, she needs more money to invest and live on."
"Do I look stupid to you?" Rose asked, she sounded a little angrier, "what did Lucas mean when he said that she had gone overboard with alcohol?"
Alissa shrugged, "she just had a few drunken nights."
"That's it? A few drunken nights?" Rose asked suspiciously, "I doubt that's it. Lucas wouldn't just forbid her from alcohol entirely if all that happened was a few drunken nights."
Alissa sighed and got up. She looked rather annoyed.
"Maybe you should be worrying about your boyfriend instead of interrogating me like a damn police officer."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Rose asked, she was beginning to lose her patience.
What was all this supposed to mean? What was happening and why were they leaving her in the dark? Was someone hurt? Had she done something? Rose noticed Alissa fidgeting with the hem of her blue dress.
"N-nothing," Alissa answered anxiously, "he's just exhausted-"
"That's it?" Rose yelled, "oh they're exhausted that's your excuse for everything for both of them!"
"N-no, he's been lonely and tired. He just needs someone I guess and now that you're here I was thinking maybe you can help with that."
Rose shook her head and walked out of the room without giving Alissa a second glance.


Alright here's my new version.
I know I've been updating and changing this book a lot and I'm very sorry for that.
I promise to get my head around it soon and present a stable storyline.
As for now please bear with me.
Thank you all for reading!

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