Didn’t We Almost Have It All? ∣ Isabelle & Augustin

The scent of the city was as overwhelming as it was every other time she came back. There was something about the absence of fresh bread, pasta cooking somewhere hidden down an alleyway behind the restaurants, and the occasional cobblestone backstreet that just made Isabelle hate coming to New York. It always meant work, whether Kyle needed her help forming a defence for someone who was so obviously guilty, or being at Victoria’s beck-and-call—something that had become increasingly more obvious as Isabelle stopped running to get her coffees, and started running a magazine instead. But New York was where everyone else seemed content, and the thought of her godchildren growing up as the New Yorkers they were becoming made Isabelle’s stomach churn. The two were unnervingly content with drinking Starbucks… they just weren’t allowed to when Isabelle was in the city.

Isabelle stumbled slightly, her heels only just allowing her to stay upright when Oscar stopped in front of her. Disgruntled noises of distaste and teenage mothers met Isabelle’s ear, but with one look of her scathering glare, any thoughts about what Oscar just did seemed to evaporate completely. “Um… do you want a coffee, Aunt Isabelle?” His cheek was so similar to Kyle’s it was hard not to snap at her nephew as she would to his uncle. They always called her Aunt, and she hated it. It made her feel old, washed out and dried up, with no future in sight. Though she had one. No, she had two. The love that she felt for the fashion industry even after what Caine had told her could never really die. And yet she’d worked so hard for something that more people obtained. Hell, even Kyle had managed it.

With a sigh, Isabelle handed over a crisp bill, watching the boy that she’d held in her arms so comfortably, hold the door open for a moody teenager that looked like she thought she was far too important than she was. Poppy was chattering beside her, hands laced together and while Isabelle—usually a very intolerant person—tried to keep up with everything her young niece was saying, the fact that she was back in New York, jet lagged and barely upright was making it hard to focus on anything o there than the fact she needed to get to work at some stage tomorrow. “Poppy,” Isabelle started, glancing down at her delicate watch before gesturing to the town car that met her wherever she asked it to. “Why don’t you wait in the car, I’ll have to leave you two in the hands of Günther, I’m afraid.” Her niece looked all but completely deflated, and while she’d just spent the morning with two people she’d wanted to see most in New York, the jetlag was starting to make that hard to prioritise anything but herself. Old habits die hard. 

She took the coffee her nephew handed her, not bothering to fight with him for the extensive change Isabelle knew Tyler would have given him without a thought (and probably the only reason Oscar had gone into the cafe for a coffee for her anyway), and closed the door of the town car behind him after demanding a kiss. It was so similar yet different to how she’d grown up; while her large house had been within walking distance of almost everything, and the rest of the world only a few phone calls to buy a ticket, of expensive clothes due to lack of having much else to spend it on, and private schools was just something she’d expected for herself and everyone she knew, the world of town cars was a completely different concept that she was still trying to get used to. It was obvious at why Tyler was so adamant about having his own car, if only just to have something to do on the sometimes long drives from Manhattan to Brooklyn. 

With a silent sigh, encouraging her forward while also reminding her she wanted to go backwards, Isabelle started walking down Third, her heels clacking against the pavement obnoxiously, blending in with those others clad in similar shoes, relishing in the fact that at least the coffee managed to taste like liquid gold.