Taking Chances: Chapter Forty Six.
Note: Thank you to each and every one of you for all of your patience with me while I take my time to write this.
I would like to note that I have kept the beginning of this chapter the same as what it was before but I have gone through and edited it; but the second part of this chapter has not been edited so please ignore that for now.
I hope that you enjoy chapter 46. Please let me know your thoughts as I worked extremely hard on this and forced myself through months and months of burnout and writer’s block.
P.S: Chapter 47 will be a continuation of where this chapter ends. I had a lot of things planned for the entirety of the trip to Cannes but because this chapter was becoming incredibly long, I decided that it would be best for me to split it up.
“Are you ok, deary?” The little old lady next to Nicola asked. Nicola slowly turned her head and shrugged.
“I’m not sure. I don’t know what to feel.” Nicola solemnly replied. How was she supposed to process the horrible news? She felt betrayed and enraged. She wanted to hit something or someone until they felt as bad as she did.
“You know, in my day, I was a good listener. Nowadays, I’m a little hard of hearing.” The lady said through a few slight chuckles. Nicola gave the woman a small smile. She appreciated the offer but she didn’t know where to begin with all of the turmoil she felt was sluggishly moving through every nook and cranny of her inner being.
“Thanks.” Nicola responded softly before turning to look out the window again. The elderly woman felt bad for Nicola. She wanted to help but she didn’t know how until an idea popped into her head. She pressed the call button for a flight attendant.
“How are you doing Edna?” The young bubbly brunette asked as she approached row 14.
“I think me and my new friend could use a good stiff drink and maybe a pack of peanuts each.” Edna said matter-of-factly.
“Edna, you know you're not supposed to drink alcohol with your medication but I can get you the peanuts.” The attendant said. Nicola let another small smile slip. She could definitely use a good stiff drink.
“Oh tosh. I’m no candyass. I’m a spring chicken.” Edna replied with a wink and sly smile. Both Nicola and the attendant chuckled.
“I like your spunk Edna but no alcohol. How about a couple of cokes instead.” The attendant suggested. Nicola nodded but Edna looked a tad defeated.
“That sounds perfect, thank you.” Nicola replied, giving Edna a very motherly glance. Edna playfully pouted.
“I’ll be right back with those.” The attendant said before leaving the two passengers.
“Daughter-in-laws. Puh!” Edna teased. Nicola shrugged.
“She seems nice.” Nicola replied. Edna nodded. She did love her family but she did hate it when they told her she couldn’t drink.
“Delany is such a sweet woman but oh lordy, does she have such an authoritative side to her personality.” Edna responded.
“It’s nice to hear that you have such a sweet family member.” Nicola said, hoping that she wasn’t giving anything away by her answer. Edna picked up on the hidden meaning though.
“Well my deary, now I have to have all the gossip.” Edna said as she laid her hand on Nicola’s. She felt how warm and strong Edna’s hand was. It brought her comfort and made her feel like she could trust this woman next to her. Maybe Edna was her guardian angel who knew just how much she was hurting.
The two women sat in a short silence before Delany came back with the sustenance she was asked for. Both women thanked Delany and started enjoying their snacks.
“Now, I know heartbreak when I see it so tell me everything.” Edna said as she sipped her fizzy drink through a straw.
“It’s a long story.” Nicola responded. Edna winked.
“Even better.” She replied.
“Alright, here goes nothing.” Nicola countered.
A few days had passed by since Taron had seen the picture from Nicola’s birthday last year and he’d be lying if he said that he hadn’t been thinking of her. He wondered what she was up to and how she was doing. Taron wanted to text her but remembered his mum’s words and thought better of it.
“Daddy, can you play Dinosaurs wif me?” Mikey asked one cozy evening, not looking up from his little figurines. Taron took a sip of coffee before answering.
“Sure, mate.” Taron replied, making his way over to where Mikey had set up his pterodactyls.
“You can be dis one.” Mikey said as he passed his father a brontosaurus. Taron took it and got comfortable.
The two boys sat and played with the figurines for a while before Taron’s brain pinged with an idea that hopefully Mikey would be on board with.
“Can I ask you something, son?” Taron questioned. Mikey nodded before making his T-Rex run into a pile of books that represented a volcano.
“You know how we are going on a plane?” The father asked.
“Yeah, I’m excited.” Mikey told Taron, making him chuckle.
“Me too, but what do you think about asking Nicola to come and join us?” Taron asked tentatively. Mikey looked at Taron and with the brightest and widest smile he could muster. If he thought he was excited before, he was ecstatic now.
“Yeah!” Mikey cheered. Taron had to admit that he rather liked the idea of Nicola joining them in Cannes as well.
“I can’t wait to see Jasmine.” Mikey added. Taron didn’t know how to respond to that. He only had Nicola in mind for the trip and not the girls.
“That’s not what-” Taron started before he realized that Mikey was focused on his dinosaurs again.
Maybe it was a good thing that Mikey mentioned Jasmine. The girls would be a good buffer of sorts. He now had a lot more to think about before talking to his team about his full guest list for the mass event.
“Right, what should we have for dinner?” Taron questioned as an attempt at clearing his head for the time being. Mikey barely looked up as he announced that he wanted to have meat for dinner just like his T-Rex. Taron nodded and got to work on grilling the steak and steaming the veggies.
Half an hour later, the food was all ready and Taron dished it up between the two of them, making sure to cut Mikey’s steak into chewable pieces for him.
“Are your dinosaurs sleeping now?” Taron asked as Mikey walked over to the kitchen so that he could wash his hands.
“No.” Mikey replied.
“If they’re not sleeping, what are they doing?” Taron asked again.
“Eating cake.” Mikey said. Taron raised his brow curiously.
“It’s Dot’s birfday.” Mikey told his father matter-of-factly.
“Who’s Dot?” Taron asked. He had never heard of this dinosaur before and was curious about Mikey's answer.
“She was just borned.” Mikey stated seriously.
“Oh, I see. Well I hope they have fun because it’s time for us to eat.” Taron responded with amusement. Mikey agreed and took his plate from Taron’s hands.
Tonight, they were going to eat their dinner while watching ‘A Bug's Life’. It was a film that both the father and son loved.
The next morning Taron got up to get himself ready for a day of interviews he had to do along with some of his co-stars. It wasn’t that he hated doing the interviews as he knew it came with his job, it was just that he hated being away from Mikey for so long.
Taron was glad to have Olivia’s help with Mikey during work hours but he wished that he could be home with his son to watch him discover new things and to see how his imagination ran wild with the coolest and unique ideas.
“Not hungry.” Mikey said rather harshly to his nanny. Olivia rolled her eyes. This was the fifth time he had told her that in the span of five minutes, despite Taron having told Mikey that he had to finish his breakfast.
“You need to eat Mikey. If you don’t, we can’t go to the park today.” Olivia said, meaning business this time.
Mikey simply glared at the woman in challenge. He was not going to eat his food and that was that. He wasn’t budging.
“Michael, are you giving Olivia a hard time?” Taron called from his bathroom.
“No.” Mikey answered back albeit snarkily. Taron sighed and rolled his eyes. He had no idea what had gotten into his son overnight but he was not about to let this slide.
Taron walked out of his bathroom and toward the kitchen where his son and nanny were standing. Olivia heard him and looked up, not expecting Taron to be wearing only sweatpants and shaving cream on his face. She tried to stifle a laugh but it was no use. At this, Mikey turned to look at his father.
“Daddy, you look funny.” Mikey said matter-of-factly.
“Gee, thanks.” Taron replied sarcastically. Mikey continued to examine his father making the situation rather comical as you could see the cogs turning in the little boy’s head.
“Why do you have that?” Mikey finally asked after a couple minutes of silence, pointing at Taron’s face for added effect.
“Because, I’m getting ready for work.” Taron answered but Mikey wasn’t satisfied.
“Why?” He asked again. Taron sighed again and looked at Olivia. She got the hint and went to the laundry room to tend to the folding.
“Michael, why are you being so difficult this morning?” Taron asked when Olivia was out of earshot.
“Wanna come wif you.” Mikey said in a pouting manner. Taron ruffled Mikey’s hair.
“I’m sorry mate, but you have to stay here with Olivia.” Taron said, making Mikey frown.
“No.” Mikey shouted defiantly and crossed his arms over his chest in protest.
“That’s enough, Michael. I don’t want to hear any more arguing coming from here. Go finish your breakfast please.” Taron warned sternly. Mikey stuck his tongue out at Taron, which earned him a tap on the shoulder and a warning glance. He knew he was going to be in trouble if he continued but he didn’t care.
“You can’t make me.” The little boy challenged, making Taron’s brows raise in surprise. Something had obviously happened to Mikey between now and last night that he wasn’t aware of.
Taron wanted to reply but he knew that if he did, Mikey would only become worse and he’d be late. Instead, Taron kept his mouth closed and mustered up the most fatherly warning look he could. At that, Mikey closed his lips and stomped his way back to the table to begrudgingly finish his eggs and peanut butter toast.
Once he was satisfied that his son was no longer being defiant, Taron went back to the bathroom to finish shaving and getting himself ready.
Later that day Taron was sitting at a lone table in a cafe for lunch when his phone rang. His first thought was that Mikey was being difficult again and was refusing to listen, so, without looking at the caller ID, he answered the call.
“What’s he done now?” Taron asked exasperatedly.
“Taron love, is everything ok?” Tina asked with worry and slight confusion. Taron pinched the bridge of his nose and tightly shut his eyes.
“Sorry mam. Mikey was being a bit difficult this morning with Olivia and I thought it was her on the phone.” Taron replied and Tina nodded.
“I see, well maybe check your caller ID before jumping to conclusions next time.” She advised. Taron hummed in agreement.
“How are you mam?” Taron asked after a minute.
“I’m alright but I’m calling to ask why Nicola seems to be in such a state.” She replied, knowing full well that her son was behind it. Taron bit his lower lip nervously.
“Taron, I know you’re still there and I expect an answer.” Tina warned. Taron knew that tone of voice and knew he had no choice but to come clean.
“I may or may not have texted her to ask if she’d come to Cannes with us.” Taron said quickly. Tina sighed. This is what she was afraid of.
“Taron, I specifically remember telling you to leave her be. You are forcing things again and it’s going to push her away if you are not careful. You are treading on extremely thin ice right now, boyo.” Tina said.
“It was an offer mam, not a marriage proposal.” Taron responded shortly.
“Well she may as well be seeing it as a marriage proposal. She’s not ready for commitment like that and you of all people should understand that.” Tina said, getting frustrated that Taron was not taking heed to what she told him.
“Please relax mam, this is an important moment for me and I want my friends and family there; and like it or not, Nicola is a part of that. She always will be.” Taron said, feeling his temper beginning to rise.
“I get that boy, but don’t you think you should listen more. She isn’t ready for a relationship yet and pushing her into one is going to make her run.” Tina countered.
Taron knew that she was right but that wasn’t what he was doing. He just wanted the most important people in his life to see how far he’d come in his career and for them to be there to support him. Couldn’t his mam see that?
“I’m not pushing anyone into anything. Both Mikey and I want her AND the girls to join us. They are part of our friend and family group. We just want them to be included in this because we love them. Being in a relationship with her is not in the forefront of my mind. Right now all I want is my son and his friend to be reunited and to not be lectured about something I’m not trying to push.” Taron seethed out. To say that Tina was taken back was an understatement.
“Well, she’s viewing it as you trying to worm your way in again.” Tina said a bit softer this time. Taron was livid now. He knew he had to go or else his temper would even worse.
“Whatever mam. I don’t have time for this. Everything about Nicola and I has always been full of raging anger and I’m done. All I want is for her to be there with the girls so that Mikey and Jasmine can spend time together and so I can spend time with my daughter; so that I can share this incredible moment with the people I love.” Taron said.
“What am I supposed to tell her if she asks me why you’re doing this, then?” Tina asked, curious of her son’s answer.
“I don’t really care what you tell her anymore. Tell her she’s friend zoned if that’s what she wants. I’m done trying to show her that I want her in my life. If she’s not going to accept that, then she’s lost me.” Taron said before hanging up on Tina. He was beyond angry and hurt right now but given the time that had passed, he was due back at the interviews.
Five hours away in Aber, Nicola was sitting at the kitchen table trying to get some work done while Luna napped and Jasmine was at school, when her phone rang. She picked it up and saw that it was Brenna calling her.
“Hi.” Nicola replied as she scrolled through her legal email document. Brenna tried not to laugh at how robotic her friend sounded.
“You sound so enthused. What are you up to?” Brenna asked.
“I’m going through legal shit and trying to figure out how the hell to change my name and Jasmine’s.” Nicola replied.
“I can tell that something else is bothering you. Want to tell me what it is?” Brenna questioned. Nicola grunted in annoyance.
“I know that grunt.” she said.
“Oh yeah. He’s being himself.” Nicola answered. She didn’t know how else to describe it.
“And by being himself, you mean what?” Brenna asked, wanting to hear her friend say it.
“He invited me to the Cannes festival.” Nicola said bluntly. Brenna’s eyebrows shot up in surprise.
“Are you serious? Do you know how fucking huge that is? Bloody hell!” Brenna rambled, gobsmacked.
“Tell me about it. I really don’t want to go.” Nicola said. Brenna remained silent for a minute.
“Why not? It’ll give you a chance to show him what he’s missing out on.” Brenna responded in a cheeky tone. Nicola smiled a little. She did love the idea of making Taron sweat a bit.
“I don’t know. I feel like he’s doing this as a way to get me to be with him. The necklace alone was enough to freak me the fuck out.” Nicola explained. Brenna nodded. She knew how much the necklace fiasco affected Nicola and how confused and scared she was by the gesture and Nicola was right, what if this was just another way to force her into something she wasn’t ready for. I mean, she had two kids she had to think about as well as herself.
“Have you tried talking to him? Maybe this isn’t like the necklace, maybe he just wants his friends and family there with him. Cannes is a big ass event, maybe he just needs support.” Brenna tried but Nicola rolled her eyes.
“Or maybe he just wants to show me off as his girlfriend.” Nicola said sarcastically. Brenna chuckled.
“Either way Nic, I’d talk to him and find out what he meant by inviting you. Maybe it’s not what you think at all.” Brenna said softly, making Nicola rethink her irrationality.
“I don’t want to talk to him because the last time we did, it ended up in a big fight and put emphasis on the fact that Luna was HIS daughter.” Nicola told her.
“Girl, you hold too many grudges. Yes ok, he shouldn’t have said that but at the same time, you two are clearly very hot for each other and you need to do something before the children start suffering again. It’s so hard on kids and Jasmine and Mikey have been through so much in the short time they’ve been on this planet. Do you really want Luna to go through that as well? That’s what you have to ask yourself.” Brenna explained. Nicola knew that Brenna was right but she wasn’t ready to let Taron back in yet.
“I don’t think I can let him in again.” Nicola replied quietly.
“That’s up to you but remember that he put your differences aside, long enough to invite Jasmine to New York for his birthday. He didn’t have to do that, nor did he have to give her the gift he did. That girl adores Taron and Luna needs her father. Both girls need him, Nic. If not for you, do it for them.” Brenna said very convincingly. Nicola playfully growled.
“I hate you.” Nicola said, making Brenna laugh.
“Oh don’t be silly, you love the shit out of me. Seriously though, at least call Tina and ask what Taron meant by all of this and please, consider going. Show him what he could have had.” Brenna concluded.
“Yeah, alright. I’ll let you know what happens.” Nicola said.
“Atta girl. You got this.” Brenna said one last time before she and Nicola bid their goodbyes and hung up.
The train ride to London was intense to the very least. No one ever tells you that traveling with a teething 6 month old would be like traveling with a tiny demon. Luna cried non-stop and was inconsolable. It was really starting to grind on Nicola’s nerves, especially since everyone was now at the airport waiting to board the plane to Cannes.
“Please stop, child. You’re driving me nuts.” Nicola whined. She was on the brink of tears. She felt frustrated as she had no idea how to help her baby. She had tried nursing Luna, bouncing her, rocking her, giving her her soother but nothing was working.
“Would you like me to take her?” Jack offered. Nicola nodded and passed the screaming baby to her uncle Jack.
Jack was amazing with kids and normally when he held a fussing Luna, she would stop and stare at him like he was the most interesting thing she had ever seen but this time was different, she wasn’t settling with him. Jack thought that maybe Bleddyn could calm the infant as he too was good with kids. Soon enough Luna was being passed around to everyone like a parcel at a birthday party which added to the irritation Luna.
By the time that Luna was beyond upset and her little face was so red, Jasmine had enough as well. No one was doing the right comforting method. She thought that Tina would pick up on it but nope, she didn’t. Luna was eventually placed back in her mother’s arms and that’s when Jasmine went over to defuse the situation.
“You’re doing it wrong.” She said loudly and exasperatedly, grabbing everyone’s attention, making them chuckle.
“Can you help me hold her?” Jasmine asked, feeling confident that she held the key to Luna’s happiness. Nicola looked at her sister unsure but shrugged and let Jasmine do her thing.
“Hi baby. I know you’re sad but it’s ok.” Jasmine said as she began gently stroking Luna’s tiny ear. Soon the baby’s cries waned off and Luna’s eyes began to droop with exhaustion. Everyone was gobsmacked. Jasmine really did know how to make Luna’s angry cries stop.
“It’s ok baby.” Jasmine said softly before humming (rather off key) ‘you are my sunshine’. Nicola teared up and couldn’t help but smile. She was in awe of how incredible Jasmine was. Yes, she knew that already but seeing her calm an irate baby was something magical she never thought she’d witness. Jasmine was amazing.
“I love you.” Jasmine whispered as she bent down and kissed a now sleeping Luna’s forehead.
“Ok, you can take her now but be careful not to wake her.” Jasmine warned as she locked eyes with her sister. Nicola nodded and secured Luna into the baby carrier.
“Flight BA1476 to Cannes is boarding now. Would all passengers with children please come forward as well as those that need assistance.” A voice over the overhead speaker said. Jasmine looked at Nicola and smiled brightly.
“I’m so excited.” She said with a giddy tone. Nicola chuckled and stood up, grabbing hold of Jasmine’s hand and her and Luna’s carry on bag.
“I’m glad, honey.” Nicola said as they made their way to the front desk to be boarded.
“I don’t see dem.” Mikey said as he continued jumping to try and see over the crowd of people. Taron had to laugh at his son. He was cute and was very hyped to see his family but most of all, he was hyped to see his best friend in the wholest and widest world.
“Hold on.” Taron said as he lifted the boy and placed him on his shoulders, making sure to hold his hands so Mikey wouldn’t fall.
“Better?” Taron asked. Mikey nodded.
“I can see everything.” Mikey exclaimed. Taron smiled and looked at the monitor to see if the plane had landed. It had and Taron’s heart was racing. He had no idea how Nicola was going to react but he had already made his mind up to just be civil and polite with her and not do anything to make her run as he really wanted her to be there with everyone.
“I see gramma Tina.” Mikey hollered as Tina came into view. Taron rolled his eyes. Recently Mikey had taken to calling Tina ‘gramma Tina’ and he wasn’t quite sure why but he let him do it as it made the kid happy and it wasn’t hurting anyone.
“Wave to her. See if she waves back.” Taron instructed, letting one of Mikey’s hands go so he could do so. Mikey did and waved very enthusiastically. Tina saw this and laughed before leading everyone to where the boys were standing.
“Daddy down.” Mikey said as he wriggled to climb down. Taron safely placed him on the ground and Mikey took off toward Tina, who welcomed him with open arms.
“Oh my boy, look how big you are.” Tina fawned as she squeezed the giggles out of the small child.
“I love you gramma Tina.” Mikey said through his laughter. Tina giggled as well but was surprised by the new title. She looked up at her son who shrugged at her.
“Hello mam.” Taron greeted as she stood and wrapped her arms around him in a warm embrace.
“How are you?” Tina asked, happy to see her eldest child. Taron smiled at her and kissed her cheek.
“Knackered, nervous and very happy.” He replied. Tina caressed his cheek and moved to gently stroke his ear. She stopped herself when she realized that Taron’s coping mechanism and Luna’s were identical. It made her smile brightly.
“What’s the matter?” Taron asked with worry. Tina kissed his cheek.
“I am so proud of you and how far you’ve come.” Tina said, quickly covering her actions. Don’t get her wrong, she was extremely proud of her son but she also didn’t want him to know what Jasmine had done for Luna as Jasmine asked if she could tell Taron.
“Thank you mam.” Taron said, hugging her again.
“Oi mate, some help would be great.” Jack grumbled as he tried to hold onto a hanging Mikey. Mikey was so excited to see his uncles and it was mainly because they let him hang all over them.
“Michael, let his leg go please. We’re in public.” Taron warned, feeling embarrassed. Mikey giggled and held onto Jack’s legs tighter.
“Mikey mate, your girlfriend’s here.” Bleddyn teased. Jasmine giggled as Mikey blushed and climbered off of Jack.
“Hi Mikey.” Jasmine said as she hugged him. Their little reunion made the adults smile and chuckle.
“Taron, a hand would be great.” Jack said. It was then that Taron realized Jack was holding Luna who was beaming at her father. Taron rushed forward and scooped the little girl into his arms and kissed her chubby cheeks.
“Oh my darling, look at you.” Taron cooed as the baby girl tried to grab his glasses from his face.
“Here’s the nappy bag. Nicola’s waiting for the luggage. I’m going to help.” Jack said. Taron took the bag and watched his friend disappear, giving him time to admire just how beautiful his daughter was.
At six months old, Luna’s hair had started growing in curly and as she beamed at her father with an open mouth, he was able to see that she had one tooth that had come in fully and the spot next to it was red and inflamed with another tooth growing. It made him think back to how Mikey really struggled with teething and his heart went out to Nicola and how tough it must be for her.
“Daddy missed you so much.” Taron said as he hugged Luna.
“How was she on the plane?” Taron asked no one in particular.
“She was ok when we were in the sky but waiting to board the plane, the take off and the landing were all very difficult as the little lady insisted on screaming and crying bloody murder.” Tom explained, sitting next to Taron. Jasmine’s ears perked up at this and she nodded in agreement.
“It was so loud.” Jasmine said, joining in the conversation.
“She seems fine now though.” Taron noted.
“Jasmine here was the only one that could calm her. It was quite something.” Tom replied, just as Luna sunk her sharp tooth into Taron’s forearm.
“Fucking hell.” Taron hollered, ripping his arm away and scaring his daughter half to death.
“What?” Tina asked as she hurried over.
“She bit me.” He complained, glancing at the mark on his forearm. Tina rolled her eyes.
“She’s teething Taron, babies will do that.” Tina told him as Jasmine picked up the bracelet on Taron’s wrist.
“I’m bleeding mam.” Taron whined. Tina sighed and shook her head.
“I think she wanted that.” Jasmine said, looking at him.
“It bloody hurts.” Taron replied. Jasmine rolled her eyes and sarcastically pat his arm.
“It’s going to be ok.” She sassed. Tom and Tina laughed until Luna tried to bite him again.
“‘Luna, no.” Jasmine said, pointing her finger and making her niece’s eyes well up with tears and her bottom lip to tremble. It didn’t take long for Luna to start crying and Nicola to groan to herself. She was thankful that she was wearing nursing pads because if she wasn’t, she’d not only be tired and annoyed, she’d be embarrassed and as red as a tomato by now.
“What’s going on with her now?” Nicola questioned as she approached the small group. Taron looked up and locked eyes with Nicola.
“She bloody bit me, that’s what.” Taron responded.
“Where did she bite you?” Nicola asked with slight amusement. At least he was getting a taste of his own medicine.
“My arm.” He said just like a small injured child. Nicola nodded and pursed her lips in an attempt to stifle a laugh.
“Well Taron, be thankful that she didn’t bite your nipple while you attempt to breastfeed her.” Nicola replied, feeling very satisfied when the grown man blushed a deeper shade of red than Mikey did when Bleddyn teased Mikey about Jasmine.
“Come on sweetheart. Daddy’s just being silly.” Nicola said as she took her daughter and rubbed her back. Jasmine looked at Nicola with a warning.
“Don’t be mean.” Jasmine said, pointing at Nicola the same way she did with Luna. Nicola’s brows raised.
“Since when did you become the boss?” Nicola asked.
“Since you’re being mean to Taron.” Jasmine answered unwavering in her warning.
“Oh, that doesn’t sound so bad.” Edna said, giving Nicola a small smile as their plane began its descent into the airport.
“Well not yet. I haven’t gotten to the juicy parts yet.” Nicola replied, giving the elderly woman a slight smirk. Edna grinned and playfully tapped Nicola's hand.
“Go on then.” Edna said. Nicola smiled and continued on with her story.
“I wasn’t being mean, thank you very much.” Nicola grumbled, making Jasmine look at her sister with disbelief. Jasmine knew that Nicola was on edge and was feeling nervous but did she really have to be so rude and horrible to everyone.
“Right, before this escalates any further, I would say it’s time to head to the hotel so that we can rest and freshen up.” Tina said.
“Good idea. I could use a drink or two.” Tom and Jack agreed, grabbing the luggage carts and heading for the exit where the cars were waiting to take the group to their accommodation.
Everyone else soon followed the two men, leaving Taron, Nicola and the kids standing there awkwardly, not knowing what to say.
“Why are we standing here?” Jasmine asked, getting annoyed with the fact that the supposed adults were being so immature.
“Yeah, let's go.” Mikey said, crossing his arms over his chest and rolling his eyes. Both of the kids appearing to act as the adults. Nicola and Taron smirked at the two kids and shook their heads. Who knew that a pair of 6 year olds could make a pair of 29 year olds feel like they were in trouble.
The car ride to the hotel was silent, apart from Mikey and Jasmine talking and laughing as kids do.
“Where are we going?” Jasmine asked Taron as she turned to face him. Taron smiled, winked and tapped the side of his nose.
“You can whisper it to me. I won’t say nothin.” Jasmine said, trying her best to get the information from him.
“You will find out soon. We’re almost there, missy.” He said, unknowingly making Nicola’s insides twist.
“How soon is almost. My ass is getting numb.” Nicola mumbled but Taron heard it and looked at her.
“Soon.” He somewhat snapped. Jasmine and Mikey looked at each other and let out a huff of air. They could tell that this was going to be a long vacation.
“Easy for you to fucking say, you haven’t been on a train and plane in one day with a child and screaming baby.” Nicola spat back. Taron rolled his eyes before looking out his window. He felt relief when he saw the hotel within view.
“We’re here.” Taron said, making sure to add a bit of bite to his words. Nicola shot him an angry glare and he knew to shut his mouth but he didn’t
“I thought your ass was numb, why are you still sitting there?” He questioned with an attitude.
“Look, can you just stop. I’ve traveled so many hours to be here and I’m tired.” Nicola said.
“It shows.” Taron quipped. Nicola wanted to hit him but she tried her best to hold back.
“Stop it, now.” Mikey said, having more than enough of the bickering that was going on in the car. Jasmine nodded in agreement and undid her seatbelt, ready to exit the car.
“That’s enough, thank you Michael.” Taron said as he helped the kids out of the car and grabbed the luggage out the back of the car.
Once the luggage had been taken out of the car and loaded onto a luggage cart, Taron, Mikey and the rest of their friend group walked inside and gaped at how lavish everything appeared. It was immaculate and Nicola once again felt very out of place.
Tina took notice of the timid expression on Nicola’s face and rubbed her back, letting her know that it would be ok. Nicola glanced at the other woman and gave her a small smile.
“Right, mam, this is your room.” Taron said as he unlocked the front door for his mam, Guy and little sisters.
“Oh Taron, you didn’t have to do this.” Tina gushed as she took in her surroundings. Taron smiled and shrugged. He wanted to treat them as they had done so much for him to get to where he was now.
“Yes, I did. Now, go and enjoy.” He told them. Tina nodded as she and Guy entered the room hand in hand; Rosie and Mari following closely behind. The atmosphere too exciting for them; they were practically bouncing off the walls.
“What bout us?” Jasmine asked, looking up at the man. Taron looked down at her and smiled.
“Shall we go have a look?” Taron asked. Jasmine nodded enthusiastically, making Nicola smile and chuckle a little. The sound of her chuckle was music to Taron’s ears, though he wouldn’t admit it to her at this point.
As they passed room after room, Nicola got more and more nervous. She had no idea where Taron was leading them and she was afraid that they’d be in the same room as him. However, that thought was quickly shattered when Mikey spoke up.
“Dat’s our house.” Mikey exclaimed as they passed a room. Jasmine giggled and Nicola let out a silent breath she’d been holding. She was relieved they weren’t sharing.
“And this, this is your room.” Taron said as he opened the door, letting the kids inside. Jasmine’s jaw dropped. Their room was as big as Aber, or so she thought. It even had a pool outside, making her want to have a swim in it.
“Can I go swimming?” Jasmine practically begged. Nicola smiled softly at her and shrugged.
“Once we get unpacked you can.” Nicola told her. Jasmine ran to her sister and hugged her legs. She was so happy to be here and have her friend back again.
“You know the best part of this room?” Taron asked, looking at Jasmine.
“What?” She replied.
Taron was about to reply when Luna took that opportunity to unload the loudest fart known to man. That of course, was accompanied by the rankest smell she’d ever released.
“Oh my days, Luna!” Taron said, waving his hand in front of his face. Nicola grew annoyed at the comment. She was a baby, obviously her poos would smell the worst.
Luna smiled cheekily.
“Here, change her.” Nicola said, handing Taron the baby and her change bag. He looked at Nicola with pleading in his eyes.
“Wanna bond with her, this is your chance.” She told him. He cleared his throat and nodded his head. He swallowed as he turned on his heel and walked toward the bathroom.
“Right, now that nincompoop is out of the room, why don’t I help you two unpack.” Nicola told the kids. They both cheered and raced toward a room that was designated for the little girl.
When they got to the room, Jasmine and Nicola’s jaws hit the floor. The room was bigger than they had ever seen and Jasmine felt like she was in heaven. Never before had she been given a humongous room to sleep in and the bed was a dream. She knew she’d have getting lost in the amount of covers there were on the king sized bed.
“Talk about spoiled.” Nicola commented under her breath as she scanned the room.
“Taron was right, I do have a tv in here.” Jasmine squealed. Nicola chuckled at the wonderment on Jasmine’s face and the thrill in her tone. Neither of them had seen such an opulent room before and this was something they’d remember for the rest of their lives.
“That doesn’t mean you get to stay up watching it all night.” Nicola warned her. Jasmin nodded but her face held a cheeky smirk.
“Is that mine too?” Jasmine asked, pointing to a mirrored door. Nicola shrugged and walked over to it.
She opened it and her jaw hit the floor again.
“Girl, you have a walkin closet.” Nicola announced. Jasmine gasped and ran to her sister. She peered inside and giggled. This was blowing her mind. There was so much to discover.
“Looks like you have lots of room for all of the clothes you insisted on bringing with you.” Nicola teased. Jasmine rolled her eyes.
“I needed them all.” Jasmine retorted. She had told Nicola that it was important to pack so many outfits because you never know what you might need. Nicola had to laugh at that. Her sister may be young but boy oh boy did she have a strong and sassy personality. She felt sorry for whoever Jasmine was going to end up with in the future.
“Alright, well, now you can unpack. I’ll find my room so if you need me for anything, just yell.” Nicola said, making her leave.
Exploring a little bit more, Nicola found a nespresso maker and she smiled to herself. That was going to be something that she’d desperately need during this trip. She also found a mini bar which she was going to take full advantage of once the girls were in bed for the night.
“Lina!” Jasmine called from her room. Nicola sighed and went back to her sister.
“Yes Jasmine?” Nicola replied.
“Help.” The girl said, trying to lift her suitcase and place it on the closet shelf. Nicola shook her head and was gobsmack when she saw the contents of Jasmine’s suitcase on the ground. The contents that she had taken a while to fold carefully and neatly before they left the U.K.
“Did you really need to do that?” Nicola grumbled. Jasmine and Mikey looked at the pile.
“I need hangers.” Jasmine said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Nicola sighed exasperatedly.
“Alright, fine.” Nicola said, removing the hangers and passing them to Jasmine and Mikey. The kids immediately put them on the bed so they wouldn’t lose them.
“You two wait for me, I’m going to che-” Nicola began before she was cut off.
“Fuck!” Mikey spoke. Nicola didn’t look pleased but Jasmine giggled. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world.
“Michael!” Nicola gasped, making Mikey burst into laughter as well.
“This isn’t funny. That was very naughty.” Nicola told the kids but aimed it toward the little boy. She couldn’t believe Mikey would say that word and even more, she wondered where he had heard that word before because as far as she knew, taron was careful about not swearing in front of Mikey.
“I don’t want to hear that word again. From either of you, understand?” Nicola warned. Both kids nodded despite their giggles still echoing through the room.
Nicola bent over to pick up the hanger that Mikey dropped and placed it on the bed. That’s when she heard Taron.
“Fuck!” He shouted, loud enough for everyone to hear. Nicola closed her eyes and grunted in annoyance. So he did swear in front of Mikey.
Mikey and Jasmine looked at Nicola and started giggling even more as Taron emerged from the bathroom with a newly changed Luna.
Nicola glared daggers at him.
“Taron.” Nicola growled. She was not at all impressed and Taron had no idea why.
“What?” He asked, somewhat annoyed.
“I just told your son off for swearing and here you do the same thing and in front of a baby who hasn’t even started speaking yet.” She said firmly. She was mad.
Taron knew that tone well and knew that she meant business. He sighed and looked closer at Nicola.
He could see past her pissed off and tired facade, seeing just how insecure she really was in that moment. He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t feeling the same way. He was still trying to get used to the fact that he was actually here in Cannes with his family, friends and co-stars to premiere the movie he had worked so hard on over the last however many months it had been.
“Michael, you can’t say that.” Taron said but it didn’t work because Mikey just smiled at him.
“You said it.” Mikey countered. Taron couldn’t argue with that because he knew Nicola was right. He swore in front of Mikey all the time but never did he think that his son would repeat those words. It made him wonder if Luna would pick the word up while they were in Cannes because guaranteed, he’d be swearing like a sailor for the rest of their stay.
“No more of that word. From now on, all swears are not allowed. Everyone understand?” Nicola warned. Yep, she was definitely raging at the thought of Luna being surrounded by rude words.
Taron and the older two kids nodded, despite having smiles on their faces.
Later that evening, Nicola, the girls and everyone else were sitting at a fancy restaurant catching up and having a wonderful dinner. Jasmine and Mikey were of course chatting amongst themselves and Rosie and Mari were focused on their niece who was currency trying to pull Rosie’s hair.
“Girls, that’s enough. Stop encouraging her.” Tina warned, taking notice of the louder giggles coming from her girls.
“But it’s fun.” Mari replied. Tina gave her a warning look before glancing at Nicola, seeing the woman barely touching her food.
“Mari Elizabeth, don’t test me. I mean it.” Tina said again. Both girls knew by her tone that there would be serious consequences if they didn’t listen so they stopped and went back to eating their food.
Tina was about to ask Nicola if she was ok when a waiter walked over to the table and asked if they were all ready for dessert. They of course nodded and ordered what they wanted.
“Lina, I need the toilet.” Jasmine whispered, leaning over to talk privately.
“Tina, can you keep an eye on Luna, Jazz needs a minute.” Nicola asked the woman sitting across from her. Tina smiled and nodded.
Nicola and Jasmine left the table, grabbing Taron’s attention.
“Everything alright mam?” Taron asked.
“All is well son.” Tina replied. Taron didn’t really look convinced but before he could say anything, the waiter came back with the desserts, followed by Elton and David.
“Hello dear boy.” Elton greeted, not paying any mind to all the eyes on him. He was used to it.
“Elton, David. How are you?” Taron asked as he stood to properly greet them.
“I hope we’re not interrupting anything.” David replied politely. Everyone shook their heads and Taron invited Elton and David to join them. The table was big enough after all.
“So, you must be excited for the big day.” Guy said, as calmly as he could. David, Elton and Taron all nodded in agreement.
“Having the support of our loved ones has made this process that much more special.” Elton replied.
“Speaking of which, Taron, why don’t you tell us who all these wonderful people are.” Elton concluded.
“Yes, of course.” Taron replied. He started with Mikey, who Elton already knew and then went round the table, ending at his daughter who yawned. She had well and truly had enough and was ready for bed.
“It’s lovely to meet you all and Michael, it’s lovely to see you again.” Elton spoke, earning a bright grin from the little boy.
Of course the lack of attention on her, made Luna kick up a fuss and begin to bang her spoon on the tray of her highchair. She wanted out and was determined to do anything to get someone to remove her from the entrapment she currently felt in that moment.
“Come on you.” Taron said as he stood and made his way over to rescue his daughter. He carefully hoisted her into his arms and as soon as she felt secure and satisfied, she let her head flop onto Taron’s shoulder.
“Awww sweet girl.” Guy cooed at the adorable scene before him.
“All better?” Taron asked as he sat back down with Luna. She lifted her head and gave him a look as if to say ‘about damn time you took me out of that horrible device.’
“Who’s that?” Jasmine asked as she and Nicola got back to the table. Nicola had been oblivious to the fact that two more people had joined their table.
“Hello darling.” David greeted warmly. Jasmine smiled at him and then looked at Elton.
“Hi.” She said, earning herself an Elton John smile and a sneaky wink.
“Elton, David, this is Jasmine. Jasmine, this is David and Elton.” Taron introduced. Jasmine waved and plopped back down in her chair, ready for her chocolate cake.
Taron chuckled at her enthusiasm before turning his attention to Nicola. His smile faltered slightly. He didn’t know what to label her as so he picked the first thing that came to his mind.
“And this is Luna’s mum, Nicola.” Taron said, motioning towards her. Nicola may have smiled at the men and greeted them warmly but deep down, her heart was breaking. Just Luna’s mum? That hurt her more than she thought it would and Elton could see it in her eyes. He knew that pain, he had been through it after all.
“It’s lovely to finally meet you. We’ve many a story about you.” David said, making Nicola blush.
“All good things I hope.” She said, looking at Taron, hoping that he’d pick up on the fact that he better not have told them everything they’d been through. Which he had in fact told Elton everything that morning he woke up with that hefty hangover
“I can assure you Nicola, Taron has had nothing but good things to say.” Elton said, even if he knew every single detail of her and Taron’s story.
“I’m glad.” She replied.
“Well, we should let you all enjoy the rest of your night. We have an early start tomorrow.” Elton said as he and David stood from the table and made their leave.
“Bye.” Jasmine said, taking it upon herself to speak for everyone. Elton turned back and smiled at the girl one last time.
“I like them.” Jasmine announced before shoving a piece of chocolate cake into her mouth. Mikey nodded in agreement.
“Me too.” He declared. Nicola smiled at them and tried to not let Taron’s words affect her as much as they were.