Excerpt from Yorgos Ntovas book, Claire – Erica – Cleo
…The time finally passed and they went to prepare themselves in the bedroom. When they would be ready, they would go down the stairs one by one. Kostas had his camera ready to capture them. He had set the video camera to record the whole procedure and he would take pictures with his digital camera.
Cleo came down first. Her dress was amazing and extremely daring. Elegantly daring and provoking but not slutty. It made a perfect contrast to her lovely blonde hair. She was wearing the ring and earrings that Erica and Claire had bought for her and her feet were decorated by the golden high-heeled stiletto sandals. She was a provoking vision. She couldn’t be any better. It was exactly the way she wanted it to be. She was holding a small envelop-shaped purse made of black silk.
Erica came down next. She looked sexy and innocent at the same time. Her white silk dress was revealing and highlighting her voluminous bust. As for the four-karat brilliant necklace that Claire had bought for her, she would wear it on the ceremony. She was wearing the matching pair of earrings, though. The Swarovski stiletto sandals were deco-rating her feet. Kostas was holding the famous pink diamond ring and would give it to her during the engagement.
Last but not least, Claire came down. She was the ultimate female. Her collectible dress with the hundred diamonds and rubies was shining stunningly. The big six rubies earrings were hanging from her ears. On her finger she was only wearing the heart-shaped ring Kostas had gifted her and on her feet she was also wearing the identical Swarovski stiletto sandals.
Claire had sent a press bulletin to the media informing them what they would be wearing. She had also given specific details about the dresses and jewelry. That woman would leave nothing to luck.
He asked them to pose on the staircase and took some pictures of them.
“Come on, go get ready yourself,” Claire told him. “We will depart shortly.”
They had already picked the clothes he would be wearing. He took a shower, perfumed, shaved and put on his white silk shirt, no tie, his belt and trousers. The ladies went upstairs to add the final touch and apply some makeup on him. Claire was very familiar with the art of makeup.
When he was ready, he grabbed his jacket and they all went downstairs. They made a final check in case they had forgotten something. Everything was ok. Claire contacted Mrs. Anna to find out what was going on in the Nautical Club. She informed her that everything was going according to plan. One-third of the guests have already arrived. The channels, the magazines and the paparazzi were there as well as the guards, the Police and the Security. A meticulous investigation has taken place in the early afternoon from the Embassies for fear of a terrorist action. The VIP would arrive after a quarter to nine according to the protocol. Claire would be there to welcome them with Cleo by her side. She would introduce her by her name only and if someone would ask about her status they would answer “International Business.” Erica and Kostas would depart as soon as Claire would call them. She wanted to make sure everyone else would be there first, at least the more important ones.
Everything was ready. They all went down to the garage and wished them good luck. Claire and Cleo left. One of the patrol cars followed them. Erica and Kostas went back up-stairs and waited.
“Honey, I’m so touched!” Erica told him. “Our day has finally arrived!”
“Me too, darling. This is our second day to be precise. Don’t forget about Mykonos!”
“I couldn’t possibly forget about Mykonos. What was I planning though, huh?”
“You are so cunning!” he told her and blew her a kiss in the wind.
“I hope your feelings of affection won’t become determining if you know what I mean!”
“No, you don’t have to worry about it. I’m very happy. These are tears of joy. I’m not going to ruin my makeup, I promise!”
His cell phone rang.
“Good evening, Mr. Alexiou and congratulations on your engagement. I’m the security manager from the reception at the Nautical Club. I’m terribly sorry for the inconvenience but there is something I have to tell you. I’m trying to contact Dr. Anagnostou but she is welcoming the guests and isn’t answering her phone.”
“Please, you can tell me. Is there something wrong?”
“No, nothing to worry about. I just wanted to inform you that, five minutes ago, Mr. Polychroniou showed up on the parking space demanding to allow him to enter. According to your orders, we prevented it. He went out of his car and threatened that he would make a scene, talk to the reporters and the like. Before he was seen, the Police manager approached him and tried to talk him out of it. However, Mr. Polychroniou insisted and the police officers were forced to carry him away. The most important part and mainly the reason why I called you was that while he was leaving, he said that he would go to Kavouri and trash everything.”
“I see. Where is Mr. Polychroniou now?”
“I think he is still in the patrol car. I reckon they will let him go as soon as he calms down.”
“Could you get across my words to the police manager? If he has any questions or needs a confirmation, please ask him to communicate with me.”
“There is no need. We are old acquaintances and we have an excellent communication. Go on, please.”
“Mrs. Renieri, my fiancé, lives in Megalo Kavouri at Aristotelous street. This is where Mr. Polychroniou intends to go. Tell the manager to send a police force to watch over the house first and then let him go. If he tries to break in and enter Mrs. Renieri’s residence illegally, you are free to arrest him. Bear in mind that the house has an alarm system and video cameras that record everything.”
“You do know that if he gets arrested while he is committing the crime, it is considered a flagrant crime procedure regardless if you press charges or not.”
“I know and this is why I asked you to watch over the house discreetly. He shouldn’t become aware of your presence. My fiancé isn’t going to press charges.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of the matter right away and keep you posted. We’ll send one of our cars. Apologies, again.”
“What’s wrong?” Erica asked him when he hung up.
“No big deal. Just your dear cousin!”
He recounted everything that was told on the phone call. Erica smiled.
“You are devious,” she said. “But he is asking for it if he attempts something like this!”
It was nine o’clock. His phone rang at five past nine. It was Claire.
“Everything is fine,” she replied. “You may depart in five minutes from now and drive slowly. I found a call on my cell from an unknown number. Do you know anything about that?”
“They called me too. Don’t bother, I took care of it. We’ll talk when I get there. How are things? Big fuss?”
“You can’t imagine. Such buzz! As if we’re at the Oscars. One more thing. You will pass by the parking and park on the right of the main entrance, next to the SLK. You will lock up the Lamborghini and take the key with you, ok?”
“Ok. I never intended to give it back anyway!”
“How is Erica?”
“She is great!”
“Ok. Kisses for now, I’ll see you later!”
He ended the call and turned to Erica:
“We’re leaving in five minutes!”
They went down to the garage, entered the silver Lamborghini Huracan and departed. Erica was very fascinated by the car.
“Honey, I can’t show you the car’s potential today but I will another day. Now tell me, what do you feel?”
“Affection mostly. Happiness too, I’d say. I’m really happy for being with you. We are only together for ten days and my whole world has changed!”
“Despite me being old and fat?” he asked, smiling.
“Short too, don’t forget!” she replied, laughing. “You haven’t mentioned that for some time now!”
“How do you feel about the reception?”
“I had some hesitations initially. All these unknown people coming to see us. Then I thought this is a good thing. So many people wishing us the best. It’s good after all so I decided to relax and enjoy the moment. How about you?”
“Me too. This is our night. We have to enjoy it and have a great time. However, I’m afraid some certain ladies will steal all the glory and attention!”
“You mean Claire and Cleo, I guess!”
“That’s ok. It’s better this way. Cleo deserves it. She didn’t have many opportunities to be noticed and sometimes she is really working hard to achieve it!”
“You have figured that out too, right?”
“Of course. I’m not blind. In any case, this dress will catch everyone’s eye tonight. There is only one thing I’m afraid of.”
“She may receive bad criticism and the media will maul her. If something similar happens, it will take a toll on her and she’ll get hurt!”
“Don’t worry about that at all. Claire is on it. She has al-ready sent a press bulletin. The important and mass media are being controlled and we don’t care much about the rest. There will probably be someone who will say something nasty. There will always be bad people and there is nothing we can do about it. We must learn to live with that.”
“You are right, so it is. Sometimes, bad people can even be part of our family. Anyway, I think we are almost there!”
They had passed the turn for Nautical Club and “Asteras” and were approaching. There was indeed an overcrowding. Parked cars, patrol cars, security guards and a throng of people who have gathered to see what was going on.
They almost reached the Nautical Club. Claire was right. You didn’t expect a crowd like this even in Hollywood’s Oscar ceremony.
Cameras, photographers, police officers and so many people. Erica was astonished.
“What is happening?” she asked. “Have all these people come for us?”
“Yes darling, but the lucky ones are not the ones out here but the three-hundred people inside. Bear in mind we are celebrities now. Let the show begin. Now, remember what celebrities do when they appear in similar events. They always smile. You are happy and you show it. Make it an honest smile and not a forced one. We are not afraid of the crowd. We love it, we control it. So, we smile. We are the honorees, after all!”
“Yes, love, we smile!”
He had almost stopped. The policemen were trying to dismiss the crowd from the entrance to let him pass. The parking was circular and had space for very few cars. The entrance to the restaurant was in the background on the right. He barely managed to reach the point Claire had indicated. The security guards were trying to guide him through. He parked his car next to Claire’s SLK.
They went out of the car and there was a total blast. The flashes from all the pictures and the projectors of the cam-eras. Kostas came out first and opened the door for Erica. She came out carefully, looked at him then looked at the cameras. She had a wonderful, sweet smile and she was stunning! He felt so lucky at that moment. He held her hand, closed the car’s door, locked it up and they walked towards the restaurant’s entrance, a few meters ahead.
Claire and Cleo were waiting for them. The sight was indeed glorious. It was the only word that crossed his mind when he saw what he saw. The dress and Claire were literal-ly glowing under the bright lights. Cleo’s dress was almost invisible. He could see every detail of her flawless body. Her perfect, voluminous breasts. Her black panties. Her endless legs.
They approached the entrance. Claire welcomed them. She hugged and kissed Erica and then him. Cleo did the same and they entered the hall.
Everyone was standing and applauding. Claire led them to their table to the back. There was a four-layer cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Claire took the microphone and spoke:
“My dear friends. First, I would like to thank you all for Erica’s and Kostas’s behalf as well as me personally for honoring us with your presence tonight. We are here to celebrate the engagement of my very close friend, Erica with my also very close friend, Kostas. I know them both for years and I believe they are a very matching couple. They have a strong and deep relationship which I literally envy in a good way, of course. I have to say and I’m quite impressed that during my professional career as a clinical psychiatrist and curative psychologist I have never encountered such a strong and bonded relationship and I cannot describe my happiness for seeing them formalizing it today. I’m also very proud for being asked to marry them and become their maid of honor. It’s my turn to surprise them now. I would like to suggest, if they have no objection of course, to marry them together with my very good friend, Cleo!”
At this point, Erica gasped in surprise and instead of answering, she left her seat and hugged both Claire and Cleo. Tears were not avoided, of course. Thankfully, they were expecting that and wore waterproof makeup. It was Kostas’s turn to hug and kiss them.
Much to their surprise, Erica got the microphone from Claire’s hands and prepared to speak. It was something that they hadn’t planned since they didn’t think Erica would want to do something like that.
“Thank you everyone!” she began, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I want to thank you all for honoring us today with your presence!”
Claire leaned discreetly to Kostas’s ear and whispered:
“We hadn’t planned it, it was a thought on the spur of the moment!”
“Erica is doing great!”
“It is true,” Erica went on, “that since I’ve lost my father two years ago, I turned in upon myself. My acquaintanceship and relationship with Kostas were the best things that have ever happened to me. He literally turned my world upside down. Our relationship is very deep. We are a perfect match and I thank him for that. He is making me really happy. I also want to thank Claire, our maid of honor for everything that she has done for me. Finally, I want to thank my best friend and partner, Cleo. Something you certainly were not aware of is that I’ve known Cleo for ten years. She has been a great help and support and is always by my side. She was and I still consider her as the mother I never had since I lost my mother when I was very young. She was always by my side in my darkest hours twenty-four hours a day, literally. I thank her, I’m grateful and I’ll be thrilled to see her as my second maid of honor as Claire suggested. Ladies, you’ve deeply affected me!” She hugged Cleo and then Claire once again. “It is an honor to have my two best friends as my maids of honor not to mention two of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. Don’t you agree?”
Everyone was applauding, touched by her wonderful words. Most women were wiping the tears from their eyes.
“Thank you, everyone!” Erica repeated and handed the microphone to Kostas.
“Before thanking you all from the bottom of my heart, I’d like to say that my wife has covered everything. Today, to my pleasant surprise, I discovered some of her other abilities besides those I knew she already had. She is a wonderful person. She is sweet, sensitive and adorable but also -he paused- vigorous and decisive if needed. I reckon the genes of the Renieri family are responsible for that. I never had the honor of meeting her father but I believe his daughter has inherited all his skills. I also believe that if he was alive today, he would be really proud of her!”
At this point, Erica hugged, kissed him and told him:
“Thank you. You have no idea what this means to me!”
He kissed her too and went on:
“As for Claire’s suggestion, what could I possibly answer other than YES? Who wouldn’t want to have such a beautiful maid of honor, after all?”
He approached Cleo with the intention to hug her but she was faster than him. She hugged him first and kissed his lips passionately. As soon as she finished, Kostas, pretending to look dazed from her kiss, he went on:
“Wow, where was I? I want to thank my women, Erica, Claire and Cleo and I want to thank you all for being here with us today. I wish you all the best!”
He passed the microphone to Cleo. She looked at him surprised but took it since she couldn’t do differently and clearly touched she began:
“It is my turn to thank you all. I will ask you to forgive me as I’m very moved and not good at words like the ones before me. Me and Erica have a strong bond as if we were sisters for ten years now. She is the best person I know. She has gone through a lot of ugly situations in her life and it is time for her to start being happy. Her relationship with Kostas is the best thing that could happen to her. I’m very happy for both of them. Thank you again but I’m way too moved to say more.”
She was on the verge of crying. Erica hugged her and wiped away her tears. Kostas applauded and everyone did the same. Claire took the microphone again.
“Enough with the emotional part, though. Aren’t they amazing?” she asked the crowd.
“Time for the happy part. We are gathered here to formalize the relationship of Erica and Kostas. Please approach!”
She gave Kostas’s wedding ring to Erica. Erica chanted her vows:
“Darling, this ring represents my eternal love, loyalty, devotion and respect. In good and bad, in sickness and in health. You will always have my love!”
Claire and Cleo took Erica’s hand and wore the ring on Kostas’s fourth finger then kissed his lips one by one. He heard someone from a nearby table saying: “What a lucky man.” And he was, indeed.
Claire wore the four-karat brilliant necklace on Erica’s neck. More applause. It was Kostas’s turn now. Claire gave him Erica’s ring.
“My love, with this ring I bond with you forever. My love, appreciation, devotion and loyalty to you and your abilities are endless. I’ll be always by your side, in sickness and in health, in fun times and in hard times!”
Claire and Cleo took his hand and wore the ring on Erica’s fourth finger of her left hand. They all kissed again. Then, he produced the famous pink diamond ring and wore it on her right hand’s middle finger.
Erica raised her hand and showed it. The ring was al-ready famous. The photographers and cameramen moved forward to capture this special jewel. The wild enthusiasm lasted for several minutes. When it subsided, it was finally time to cut the cake. All four of them grabbed the knife and cut the first piece. Kostas took the bottle of champagne from the table, opened it and poured some in their glasses. They all raised their glasses, wished them their best and drank. The girls were glowing with happiness and he was equally happy. They returned to their table. The waiters were serving the first appetizers.
“Did you like our surprise?” Claire asked.
“It was great!” Erica replied. “When did you think of that?”
“Only a few minutes before you arrived. Basically, it was the beauty’s idea,” she announced, pointing at Cleo. “At some point, she said “I’d love to be a maid of honor too,” and I’ve thought why not but didn’t say a thing!”
“So, it was a surprise for you too?” Erica asked Cleo.
“Why do you think I couldn’t talk? Girls, I’m so happy, so blissful!”
At that point, the security manager who had talked with Kostas on the phone earlier approached them.
“Apologies, Mr. Alexiou and congratulations again, I’m the security manager. We have talked on the phone earlier. Could I have a word with you?”
“Certainly. I’ll be at the entrance in five minutes.”
He turned to Claire who was sitting to his left and told her:
“I need to inform you about something.”
He recounted the incident with Dimitris. Claire had the same reaction as Erica. She smiled and replied:
“You set him up, huh? Good. He had it coming. I admire you for thinking something like that at this hour. Let’s see what happened!”
They stood up. Erica looked at them and asked:
“We are going to find out what happened to you dear cousin!” Kostas replied, smiling.
“Oh, I see.”
They headed to the restaurant’s entrance where the security manager and the chief of the police were waiting for them. After their wishes, they informed them about the incident. Following Kostas’s instructions, they had sent police and security forces to watch over the house then set Dimitris free. He went straight to Erica’s house. At first, he tried to unlock with his keys. When he realized they had changed the locks he started kicking the door and tried to climb the wall. Then, the alarm went off and the security stepped in. Before arresting him and while he was climbing the wall, they took a picture of him. In the meantime, the alarm company had arrived and verified that Dimitris was not on the list of the people who had access. They led him to the Police department at Voula and contacted the district attorney who indicted him and set his trial for Monday morning. Until then, they would keep him in the department’s holding cell.
“Serves him right!” Claire said.
The police manager asked them if Erica wished to press charges. Kostas said that he has informed her and she is not willing to do so. The police manager assumed that since it was a flagrant crime they would probably sentence him to seven months jail time on probation and they would set him free. It was highly likely that he would appeal. They thanked the police manager and returned to their table to inform Erica and Cleo about the incident.
“That’s alright!” Erica said. “Two nights in a holding cell will teach him a lesson. Honey, your idea of changing the locks was brilliant!”
“I don’t think he’ll give up so easily. We need to be careful.”
The night was very joyful. Public relations, many acquaintanceships and lots of wishes. Erica and Cleo met Maria who was also invited. Claire had lectured her perfectly. They left from the reception at around one after midnight. Most of the guests have left too. The reception would officially end at two after midnight.
They left exactly as they had arrived. Claire with Cleo and Kostas with Erica. They had agreed to go to Kostas’s place to continue the party. They didn’t want this night to end. They left their cars in the garage and went upstairs. Claire went to the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of champagne and a couple of glasses and motioned them all to follow her. They went upstairs to the main bedroom. Claire opened the champagne, poured some in the glasses, offered them one and they all drank to their happiness.
“I think,” she began, “that it’s about time and we are all ready to bring our relationship to the next level!”…