"Grief is like the ocean. It comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it's overwhelming. All we can learn to do is swim."
There was sand clinging to her legs and in her hair. The long strands had long since dried but were sticking up in a wild disarray, giving the girl an almost wild, exotic look. Her skin had turned a soft golden brown during the hours she had spent lounging under the warmth of the Greek sun. It was rare for Arabella to take an entire day for herself. The young female inherited her father's need to work and spent the majority of her time doing exactly that. Between running the bar and acting as a liaison for her parents in New York and the rest of the cartel here in Greece she had very little time for herself. Others used to tease her that she was all work and no play. But she was happiest when she was busy. Things with the bar were running smoothly and business with the cartel couldn't have been better. She had really stepped up, proven herself to be a real player and not the little princess she had been while growing up.
A lazy smile curved her lips as she stepped through the doors Day Of The Dead, the name a call out to her father's favorite holiday from back in Mexico. It was packed with people and all of them instantly recognizable to her. She had been a permanent fixture in the place while her father had been working to get established. Her easy going nature and charming smile drew people in. Her father used to tell her she was responsible for half of the people that came in. On nights when she was singing there wasn't any room available. Cool air kissed her sun warmed skin as she swung into the back and jogged up the stairs to their managers office. Her hand was closing over the knob just as the phone rang. She pushed the door open and tugged her phone free from the pocket of her jean skirt, a smile lighting up her face when she saw her father's name on the display. "Hola papá. Estarás orgulloso de mi. Pasé todo el día en la playa, solo siendo una chica normal."
The voice that greeted her wasn't familiar. It wasn't the deep baritone voice of her father. Instead it was someone she didn't know and without knowing why, sliver of fear raced up her spine. "Ms.Costas? Arabella Costas?" She swallowed hard, frozen in the doorway of the manager's office. Marcel was staring at her, concern etched into the wrinkles in his face. He had been with them since her father had opened the doors. He was a kind man, one that was as fond of her parents as everyone else. When they had made the choice to move to New York, he had promised her father that he would keep an eye on her. Though she was a full grown woman capable of taking care of herself she knew that it gave her parents peace of mind knowing that someone was looking out for her. She cleared her throat and forced words out in a voice that was suddenly shaking. "Yes, this is she. Can I help you?" There was a pause on the other end of the line, followed by a slow exhale. Whatever was coming wasn't good.
She gripped the wooden edge of the doorway, her nails digging in roughly. "This is Detective Curtis Shepard with the NYPD. I...f*** I hate this part." The last part was mumbled but Arabella heard him loud and clear. Her legs buckled and only her sheer force of will kept her on her feet. "I'm sorry to inform you Ms.Costas that your parents died this morning." Silence. Complete and total silence. Then suddenly a strange wheezing, gasping noise filled the air. It took her several long seconds to realize the noise was coming from her. Marcel was on his feet and across the office but it was too late. Force of will wasn't keeping her up anymore. Her legs folded beneath her and she hit the ground hard, her gasping sobs getting louder. Distantly she heard the voice on the other end of the phone, calling her name at the same time Marcel was. Her grip on the phone tightened, and she was sure she heard a crack. "Are you...are you sure? This isn't… I can't… I don't…. I don't understand."
The voice went on and with every word that came out of his mouth another part of the ground beneath her feet shattered and broke away. Her parents were dead. Gone. Shot, according to the detective. Forcing herself to think clearly, for just a moment, she mumbled a thank you for the information and promised she would be in touch in a few hours. Then she hit the end button and slumped against the wall. The silky material of her tank top slid along the wall and her along with it until she was laying in a heap, a tangle of arms and legs. There were three beats of silence and then the sobs burst out. Large, gulping sobs that shook her petite frame. Marcel's gentle voice barely cut through the fog of grief that was suddenly clouding her brain. He called her name and she blinked, finally raising her eyes to meet his concerned gaze. "Bella...what is it?" She blinked once, twice, a third time. And then finally… "They're gone."