Urs stepped out of the airport and hailed a cab to take him to the hotel where Jenny had already checked in to. They had agreed to meet in Rome because that was her favourite city to visit. Let’s hope this works out, he thought to himself.
When the cab pulled up at the entrance of Hotel Eden, he paid the driver and took his hand luggage. He was about to enter the hotel when a thought struck him. He looked around and found what he was looking for: a florist.
When Jenny opened the door, she was greeted by a big bouquet of roses, nicely arranged with baby-breaths in between the stalks. It brought a big smile to her face but as Urs stood waiting for a hug and a kiss, none came.
“Well, don’t I deserve a hug and a kiss for this?”
Without a word, she moved into his embrace and their lips locked and for a moment nothing else mattered, until when he tried to deepen his kiss, she pushed away from him.
“What’s the matter, sweetheart?” Urs asked, feeling slightly perplexed.
“Nothing. Just that we’re standing in the corridor.”
“Since when has that ever bothered you?” Somehow he could feel her uneasiness, but he didn’t probe any further, just closed the door and tried again to hold her in his arms. She turned away.
“You must be tired. I’ve prepared a hot bath for you.”
As he took his bath, he had so many questions running through his mind, but he knew he couldn’t just demand an explanation from Jenny. He had to be patient. Two years of living with her had taught him that she didn’t like to be rushed and he would be rewarded if he had given her more time and space to think over a question or suggestion. Being someone who hated being told what to do, he certainly could understand how she felt. They were in a way so alike, both needing lots of space for him or herself, which was probably why their relationship managed to last this long despite the differences in their various tastes and hobbies.
They spent the rest of the day sightseeing, having a simple lunch at one of the sidewalk cafes, and shopping. Urs was happy to have Jenny by his side but somehow he could feel that something was missing. Even though she chatted animatedly about many things, he noticed that she avoided looking into his eyes and she was less spontaneous than she used to be. This bothered him greatly so he decided to ask her if something was wrong; she denied. They continued their sightseeing until evening set in and then headed back to the hotel for dinner before retiring to their room.
Are you sure you’re alright, sweetheart?” Urs asked as he slipped his hands around her waist from behind and kissed the nape of her neck.
“Mmm, what could be wrong with you doing this to me?”
She turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck, caressing his hair and kissed him passionately. With a groan, he slowly moved towards the bed, carrying her with him. In the heat of their passion, they both fell onto the bed, frantically kissing and tearing at each other’s clothes. When the union came, it was sweet and glorious. And as their passion built to a crescendo, Urs heard himself calling out her name, before slumping against her with a satisfied smile on his face. Passion spent, they lay there touching each other, learning and re-learning each other’s little secrets.
“Come on the world tour with me, Jenny. It’s hard for me to leave you behind.”
“I know and it’s the same for me. But I can’t give up everything I worked so hard for even though I do love you. Besides, you know I never liked travelling.”
“What about if you join me for the first part of the tour?”
Jenny felt a lump in her throat as tears welled up in her eyes. Here was a man who loved her with all his heart and soul and she was going to leave him broken-hearted. Instead of ending it there and then, she leant over and gave him a kiss so tender and passionate; he gave in to her once more. This time, their union was bittersweet as somehow they both knew the ending was near.
Most of the remaining days of the week they spent locked up in their hotel room, trying their best to make the most of what little time they had left. The only time they left the room was to eat at the nearby restaurants. No one spoke about the tour, nor did they even discuss what they would do after the holiday. Their room was a mess every morning with their bedclothes and pillows strewn all over the floor, leaving the chambermaid clucking at the sight and wondering where they got their energy from.
When the day finally arrived, Urs woke up to an empty bed. His first instinct was to check the bathroom but deep down inside he knew she was gone. Instead of staying and watching the man she loved struggle and come to terms with their separation, she decided to leave him with a letter instead.
I am sorry for leaving you like this. It’s the most difficult decision I’ve had to make in my whole life. It hurts me more than you know but I think it is for the good of both of us. I love you since the first time I saw you at the concert. I knew it would be a difficult relationship since we both lead a very different life but I wanted to give it a try. And I did try, Urs. While you were away long stretches of time, I cried my heart out but I never told you about it. I didn’t want you to feel guilty.
Although you’ve asked me time and again to follow you around the world, I couldn’t as I’ve built up my career and I’m not ready to give it up yet. And I hate travelling, you knew that.
But I would never ask you to leave Il Divo for me, Urs, because I know that is what you’ve been dreaming of. You love to sing, to perform in front of an audience, and the audience loves you too. You’re made for this, and I am glad you followed your dream.
Promise me, Urs, don’t let our break-up keep you from loving someone else because you deserve so much more than I can give. You’ve given me your heart and soul, now I’m giving you back by setting you free. I LOVE YOU.
Tears were falling like little raindrops, smudging the letter that Jenny had spent the whole night writing through tears of her own. With an anguished cry, he swiped his hand across the dressing table where he found the letter, sending the contents on it flying across the room. As a glass hit the wall and broke into a thousand pieces, so did his heart. Feeling lost and defeated, he slumped to the floor and succumbed to the emotions that had been threatening to engulf him for the past few weeks.
When the plane took off late in the evening, Urs resolved never to return to Rome again, unless it was to perform with Il Divo.
Ginny stood and waited patiently for her turn to get the gown fitted for her. It was just days before the real thing, and she had been busy preparing for it. Besides countless rehearsals, she had to hit the gym to keep in shape and visit beauty salons to keep her skin and hair in beautiful condition.
This was her big break, and she wanted to make the most of it. Being a model wasn’t as easy as it seemed. She had been in the business for three years, and although she had strutted on the catwalks of some of the most prestigious fashion events, she was still considered a “nobody” as far as the modelling industry was concerned. It wasn’t that she lacked the looks or quality to be at the top; it was just that she wasn’t tenacious enough in her pursuit for fame and fortune.
Being brought up by very strict parents, Ginny had a very good upbringing. Despite being exposed to an environment where booze and drugs were readily available and parties would usually last throughout the night, she had managed to steer clear of all that and more. It was her unwillingness to mingle with the crowd that put her at a disadvantage. In fact, she would never have been selected for this project if one of the top models hadn’t backed out at the last minute, citing personal problems as reason.
When her turn came, she stood still and let the designer do the necessary adjustments to her gown. She smiled when one of the girls mentioned Il Divo, telling the other girls that they were going to perform three songs on the night.
“Do you think they will notice us?” one of them wanted to know. Another wanted to know if the guys would be invited to the after-show party. She was a Cutie and wanted to be with Carlos, the Spanish baritone. And another who was a Diva wanted to know if David was attached. It seemed that the more they talked about the guys, the more excited they became. Some of them even got jealous when they found out their divos were actually attached. And some were even bolder, saying they wouldn’t mind having just a one-night stand with their favourite divo.
Ginny was hard pressed not to laugh at their silliness as she was sure none of the guys would fool around like that. They were never known to create trouble or controversy and they had certainly never trashed a hotel room before. Well, except for one Divo, but Ginny needn’t know that.
As the date drew near, Sam found it difficult to contain her excitement. She had never attended any fashion events before, not to mention being invited backstage.
Ginny thought otherwise, that her friend’s excitement had nothing to do with the backstage invitation but everything to do with Urs Buhler as Sam had been talking a lot about him without realising it. But instead of teasing her mercilessly as she normally would, Ginny just kept quiet. She didn’t want to give Sam false hope. Being a big fan of Il Divo, she knew almost everything about them, including their partners if they had one.
The Il Divo guys arrived at the venue wearing their street clothes of jeans and t-shirts. They had a sound check to do before the real event the next day. They were true professionals, demanding perfection from themselves and as a result, from those working with them as well. Even the slightest glitch would make them start singing the song all over again. They never complained about the hard work; they knew what they had achieved since joining Il Divo was all a blessing.
As they stood on the stage testing the microphone and the sound system, the girls were backstage getting ready for a final rehearsal. Ginny was done with her make-up and dress, so she stood behind the stage to peep at the guys.
The four men were moving along the catwalk as they sang, and as Sebastien turned to head back to the centre of the stage, he saw her. Wearing a beautiful red gown with a train that swirled around her feet, she was a picture of elegance and glamour. He felt his heart skip a beat but in reality, he had skipped his line. The other Divos turned to look at him, and then followed his gaze to see the reason for his blunder. David was the first to speak up.
“Hey Buddy, are you coming or going?”
“Oh, yeah, now where were we?” Sebastien turned a little red in the face.
The other guys laughed and Urs gave him a pat on his back, telling him, “If I were you, I’ll go for it.” And he gave Sebastien a cheeky wink before going over to stand at his designated spot on the left side of the stage. By now Sebastien’s face was as red as the gown on Ginny’s beautiful body but he managed to mouth a “Hello” to her, causing the other girls looking on to turn green with envy. Ginny gave a small wave and a shy smile and then gave a thumbs-up, telling him they were superb.
The rest of the sound check went smoothly and the guys were pretty pleased with it. They couldn’t wait to perform, especially Sebastien.
The day couldn’t have arrived soon enough for Sam and Ginny who were both beside themselves with excitement. Ginny was excited about walking the big stage and possibly seeing Sebastien again. Sam was well, just excited. She couldn’t put a finger on her excitement so decided that it must be the new dress she had bought for the occasion. Even though she was only going to be backstage since Ginny didn’t manage to get her the ticket for the whole show, she was damned if she was going to turn up in her usual jeans and t-shirt. She thought about the beautiful people she was going to see and as she tried to pry open the butter cookie tin to get a bite, she thought she saw ‘Buhler’ Cookies written on the tin. She shook her head and looked again and gave herself a mental slap for behaving like a love-sick school girl.
For the first time in a long while, Sam took great pains with her hair and make-up. Then she donned her new dress. It was golden brown in colour with a thick sash which went very well with her hair colour. The dress had a low v-neckline with ruffles running along it, showing off her cleavage in a very enticing way. It had three-quarter length sleeves and the skirt stopped just short of her knees. The thick sash around her waist accentuated her feminine curves and as she slipped on her gold stilettos, she felt ready to conquer the world.
Urs was very quiet as he sat in the car that he shared with David. The other two Divos were in another vehicle. David felt the silence unbearable and after tapping his fingers on the door handle for a full two minutes, decided he had had enough.
“How are you holding up, Urs?”
“Hmmm?” Urs came out of his reverie and turned towards David.
“You and Jenny. You didn’t say a word about it since you got back from Rome. Is everything alright?”
Urs thought for a moment and decided that David and the other two Divos deserved to know what happened. “No. It’s over between us. I guess, like she said, it’s better this way.”
David didn’t know what to say so he just put a hand on his shoulder and told him, “Anytime you want to talk about it, I’m all ears.”
“Thanks, but I’m fine. Really.”
When all four Divos arrived at the scene and walked down the red carpet, they were greeted by a sea of fans. They stopped to sign autographs and chat with the fans and then posed for pictures for the photographers of the various magazines and tabloids.
Inside, the stage was set, seats were nicely arranged, and some guests had already started filling up the hall. Backstage, Sam stayed close to Ginny as she watched in amazement the flurry of activities that were going on around her. She caught sight of Mr Armani but had to skip aside as he made his way in her direction, shouting out instructions to his team of designers. She marvelled at his energy and was in awe of the confidence exuding from him. She contemplated getting his autograph but decided against it as she didn’t want to be shown the door.
Then she saw them. The members of Il Divo had made their way backstage and were heading towards their dressing room. However, they didn’t manage to get there because they were accosted by some of the models who were already dressed for the show. The girls gushed unabashedly at the guys, some finding excuses to touch them and some even made sly remarks about meeting for drinks after the show to which the guys just smiled their charming smiles. They were polite to the ladies despite the ladies making some unthinkable suggestions about how the guys should spend the rest of the evening with them. With great diplomacy, the guys managed to free themselves from the ladies and continued on to their dressing room.
Through it all Urs noticed someone standing alone in a corner, observing the activities around her. He thought she looked familiar but couldn’t figure out where they had met. Was she one of the models? She certainly had the looks, he thought. He finally dismissed her as just another fan whom he’d met on the street but deep down inside he had a feeling that she was much more than that.
Sebastien, on the other hand, had been looking around the backstage searching for a familiar face that would lit up his face. Disappointed that he didn’t get to see Ginny to wish her good luck, he went into his dressing room.
Later as Ginny and the other models stood in line at the back of the stage getting ready to present the collection of street wear, she caught sight of Sebastien looking at her. She gave him a quick wave and blew him a kiss. He smiled and returned the kiss. This brought a little warmth to her cheeks but she had no time to savour the moment; she had to be focused if she wanted to avoid falling flat on her face while on stage. Focus, she said to herself, but somehow Sebastien kept creeping into her mind, refusing to go away.
David noticed Sebastien staring at Ginny and gave him a little nudge. “Better not stare too much or you might just forget your line or cue later,” he said with a knowing smile.
Sebastien turned and looked annoyingly at him before replying, “I know what I’m doing. You mind your own business, Miller.” David, being ever so cheerful and easy-going, only threw back his head and laughed, leaving Carlos and Urs wondering what the exchange between the two men was.
The show got underway to big applause from the audience. Sam watched the proceedings from a tv monitor backstage. She was watching intently at Il Divo’s performance when she heard a commotion. She turned and saw one of the models arguing with a man. She could see the man was getting incensed as he raised his voice.
“You’re telling me it’s over? Why? Oh, I get it! You’re holding out for one of those four guys out there, aren’t you?”
“Oh stop it, Kelvin!” the model shouted back. “It’s nothing to do with any of the guys but everything to do with you. You know it, so let’s just move on.”
“No! You have his face pasted all over the apartment and you’ve been gushing about him ever since you got into this project; you’re telling me you’re not lusting over him? I bet you’d go to bed with him if he asked.”
Just then, Il Divo walked in from the stage. They had finished their performance and were heading for their dressing room. They looked happy and were chatting with each other. Carlos was particularly articulate, telling the guys about how a lady in the audience kept blowing him kisses.
When Kelvin saw them, he looked around and spotted a thick wooden stick. With nostrils flaring in anger, he picked it up and charged towards the guys. Sam saw him advancing in on Urs, who had his face turned away as he listened intently to Carlos who was still talking. In a split second, she got herself between Urs and the attacker, just in time to raise her hand to block the blow. A wave of excruciating pain coursed through her right arm but she gritted her teeth and raised her leg to kick the attacker in his abdomen, sending him crashing to the floor.
It all happened very fast. The Divos were stunned into silence. Then they saw Sam doubled over in pain, clutching her arm as tears welled up in her eyes. Urs was the first to react and held onto her in case she fell and David, sensing that the attacker was trying to get up, made sure he stayed down with a punch to his face. By now security personnel were alerted and soon, Kelvin was dragged away still semi-conscious.
“Are you alright?” Urs gently touched Sam on her arm.
“Ouch! That hurts.”
“I’m so sorry. Thanks for saving my life.”
“Guess we’re even now, huh?”
Urs was puzzled but not for long.
“Oh, you’re the lady cop who almost got run over by me twice! You just saved my life. Thank you so very much.” Urs looked at her with genuine gratitude and admiration in his eyes.
Carlos couldn’t believe this conversation was taking place when the situation backstage was akin to a battle ground with people scrambling around and talking loudly, trying to make sense of what just happened.
“Yes, yes, he now owes you his life. That can be sorted out after we get you to the hospital,” he said, clearly concerned about Sam, and tried to usher her towards the exit. Just then, they all heard a shout. It was Ginny calling out to Sam, running with the train of her gown trailing behind her. Sam was horrified as Ginny had her arms outstretched indicating a hug was coming. Sam didn’t want her arm crushed so with her good arm, she pulled the Divo nearest her and planted him in front of her. Ginny ended up hugging Sebastien instead.
Amused, Sebastien couldn’t hide the grin on his face. “Thanks, Ginny. How did you know I needed a hug?” he said with a cheeky grin.
Ginny was speechless as she pulled back and looked into the depth of green that was Sebastien’s eyes. This brought a fit of laughter from the guys and Sam, but she immediately regretted it as another wave of pain shot through her arm. Urs noticed her discomfort.
“We need to get you to the hospital now. Your arm must be hurting real bad because you’re turning pale.”
“Well, try hitting yourself with a stick like that and tell me it doesn’t hurt,” Sam retorted out of pain but when she saw Urs’s remorseful look, she immediately regretted the outburst. “I’m sorry, Urs, it’s just that you’re right, I’m really hurting.”
Immediately she was ushered out of the building through the back door and taken by one of Il Divo’s cars to the nearest hospital. Urs and Carlos accompanied her while David and Sebastien stayed behind to fill in the details of the attack for the police officers who had arrived to take the attacker away. Ginny had to stay back because she had to continue with the show even though she wanted badly to go with Sam.