The Big I Am supplied weekends in the city, expensive hotels, Vip tickets to night clubs – a taxi on account: to take a princess out, to bring her home – a fistful of money was pressed into her smaller, eager hand. Champagne lifestyle.
Bella loved this lifestyle. Oh did she love it.
She did not see the champagne lifestyle as a ploy: to snare and nail her heart. Did not know women before, women who followed, enjoyed the same. Bella thought herself to be the one.
Both daughters were to be married, now only one. Bella was chief bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding. She smiled for the camera, stood in line when asked. But her face, her demeanour? Not happy. She drank wine at the head table, not too much to my relief.
The Big I Am attended the wedding. He arrived in his flash car, wearing a designer suit, a gold watch. He would not mingle or raise a glass. He encouraged Bella to leave the celebrations, leave before the cake was cut, retire to hotel suite.
We thought we understood: difficult for Bella who lost her wedding six months ago.
We understood nothing.
The Big I Am had a distaste for our way of life, the close bond we shared with our daughters.
He had a plan to break that bond.
A plan in action to isolate her.