Chapter One – The announcement
The day that Hiroyuki Tokumori proposed to Yukari Hayasaka and she said yes was a joyful day for everyone in their acquaintance. Yukari's mother was ecstatic that her only daughter had snagged a successful doctor for a husband and her father was happy because his wife was. Miwako and Arashi were both overjoyed that their best friends had found happiness. Everyone raved about how perfect their romance was, from a first crush to true love they were truly meant to be together. Yukari and Hiro however, knew differently. Yes they loved each other but it wasn't true love both had lost the people they loved the most but together they were happy and that was what mattered. Of course neither would admit this to the other.
George Koizumi was sat in the bright light of his Parisian Studio working on his latest designs. His blue eyes were trained on the paper in front of him where he could let his creativity flow with ease. His trance like state was interrupted by Isabella bustling in and proclaiming that it was well past lunch time and that he should come down for something to eat. George's cross dressing companion hadn't dulled in the slightest since their move to Paris all those years ago, today she seemed to be re-embracing her Japanese heritage by wearing a brightly coloured silk Kimono.
George reluctantly dragged himself away from the desk and down the stairs to the living area where Isabella had already laid out a delicious looking meal for the two of them. George didn't know what he would have done without Isabella around to look out for him, he tended to throw himself so fully into his work that he would barely eat or sleep until he was reminded to do so. It had paid off however, his career as a designer was a huge success and he hadn't had to compromise his visions like others had told him he would. Koizumi designs had become hugely popular for their unique style and intricate craftsmanship.
Sitting across from his friend they both began to dig into the meal, George had forgotten how hungry he was until then. There was little talk between the two of them except for the usual updates about the progress of the collection and the appointments that they had to attend to. Once they were both finished with their food Isabella got up and began to clear away the plates. George took this opportunity to try and get back upstairs before Isabella made him get some rest but she caught him without even turning around.
"I got an interesting phone call this morning." George paused with his foot halfway up the step, he turned to regard his friends back. There was something in her voice that put George on edge, quirking an eyebrow and turning back to the table he motioned for Isabella to continue. She seemed rather hesitant however, keeping her back to him as she washed the plates.
"Was it from a client?" George waited for the answer with baited breath but put on the outward appearance of being perfectly at ease.
"No it wasn't a client, it was Carrie." Carrie, Caroline… Yukari. George's heart beat slightly faster thinking about the girl who he had left behind, the only girl he had ever wanted to come with him to live his dream. It had been a long time since he had seen or spoken to Yukari, nine long years but he'd made sure to get every magazine she had ever been featured in. Her career had been just as much of a success as his own, she'd made the right choice but he still wondered what it would of been like if she'd come to Paris with him.
"Is she…alright?" Georges voice had a slight edge to it when he spoke, betraying the calm way that he leaned against the wall and watched Isabella for her answer, trying to see in her countenance what she could possibly have to tell him.
"Oh! Yes Carrie is very well George. She just had some news to share." Isabella finally turned to face and looked him straight in the eye as she imparted the news. "Hiroyuki proposed… and Carrie has accepted him. She's getting married in nine months time." George felt frozen, he must have misheard her there was just no way that Yukari would…would what? Move on after almost a decade of not seeing or hearing from him? Of course she would he was surprised it had taken her so long. She could be a strong woman but she wasn't a solitary creature he knew that more than most.
Isabella was looking at him worriedly. Why was she staring at him like that? Oh yes she must have waiting for him to say something…nothing came to mind except perhaps the urge to scream and break something.
"Give her my congratulations next time you speak to her." That would do that was a perfectly normal thing to say in a situation like that, it didn't betray his inner turmoil. Somehow it felt like she was even further away from him than ever before, she wouldn't be his Yukari anymore, she'd be wearing someone else's ring on her finger and belong to another man forever. It felt wrong, he'd never stopped thinking of her as his even though he knew it was selfish of him.
"Carrie said that we are both welcome to attend the wedding but she understands if we cannot for any reason. I'd like to go." She wanted him at her wedding? Was the woman mad? People didn't really do that did they, invite their ex's to their wedding. He had the image in his head of her walking down an aisle dressed in purest white, of her walking past him and into the arms of another man. George shook the thought away, painful as it was he took some small comfort that she wouldn't really be wearing white, after all he had seen to that.
"I'll probably be busy preparing for the summer collection but you're of course free to attend Isabella you can congratulate her in person for the both of us. Of course you'll have to take a suitable gift." That brought back memories of the other gifts he had given her all those years ago, what could he possibly give her now? He had given her everything of any importance. He saw her again a vision in a white dress and then he knew exactly what he could give her. George turned on his heel and began taking the steps up to his studio two at a time.
"George?!" he heard Isabella shout from below him but the door to his studio was already closing behind him. "Well that went about as well as I thought it would." Isabella muttered to herself and continued to clean up the dishes from their lunch. She knew that George still cared deeply for Caroline, if only he would admit it and do something about it then maybe everything would work out. She sighed if only things were that simple but George was never simple and if Caroline was happy then she had no right to try and ruin that even if it was for the happiness of her most beloved friend.
Upstairs George feverishly set to work on the most beautiful dress of his career, the first and last wedding dress that he would ever make.