Friday, May 11, 2012

1st 1/2 of Chapter 2

I hope everyone is having a Happy Friday and an early start to the Mother's Day weekend.  I just returned from Costco and bought some hot Italian sausage to grill on Sunday.  I won't eat it, but having a happy husband and father will make me happy too!

As you'll see, the second chapter in my book is back-story.  It goes back in time to where my husband and I first met.  You might also notice that I am calling him Jack (real name Brian), because if my book actually gets published, I know that he would not want his name out there.  Most of the other names in my book have been changed as well.

Here is the next section.  Please let me know what you think.

Chapter Two

November 2004

“Yes, the P/E ratio is at the high end of its ten year historic range,” I said to the hedge fund associate on the phone.  It baffled me that he didn’t know about the bank’s price to equity ratio.  It was easy to find on Yahoo!Finance; he did work for a hedge fund after all.
“Yup, I totally agree.  However, if you look at the charge-off ratio and loan write-offs, I think you’ll agree that those are both incredibly low.”
“That’s true.  Listen, I have to run to a dinner meeting.  Can we talk in the morning?” I said, knowing that he’d call at 7:30 he did every morning.
“Well, yes, it is possible that the banks can still perform better; I don’t know how much money I would invest in them right now.”  The banks were performing the best they had in decades.  Loan volume soared higher each month and loan and credit card defaults were at an all-time low.
“Ok, true.  Listen, I’m running late now.  I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Terrific, thanks.  Have a good night.”  I couldn’t believe I got him off the phone.  I wish I never had to take his calls, but our bosses took the seaplane from the East River to the Hamptons together on the weekends.  I had to curtsey whenever he called.
I hung up the phone and logged out of my computer.  ‘Bull Stein Excellence in Equity Research’ crawled across my screen.  Four years prior, I was so excited to work for BS.  That feeling is now corrupted by fifteen hour days, twelve, if I was lucky.  I tried to play the game to get ahead, but ultimately knew that I would never sacrifice meeting a husband and having children for money or career prestige.  To get to the next level on Wall Street, I would need to commit every waking hour to Bull Stein, which conflicted with my dream.  I didn’t necessarily need the white picket fence, but I wanted everything else.  A tall, handsome husband and 2.2 children – more if I was lucky.
The cold night air hit my bare legs and I shivered.  I wondered what I was thinking for wearing a short Ellie Taharai skirt suit.  I knew my legs were my best feature, but it was freezing and running or even walking fast wasn’t possible in my three and a half inch heels.  Thankfully, the distance between the Bull Stein office and Hotel X (can we name the real hotel for detail and establishing place? wasn’t that far.
“Yes, I’d like a glass of Pinot Grigio,” I said.  I handed the bartender money and grabbed my drink.  I really wanted a hot tea.  My fingers were stiff from the frosting on my gloves and occasionally my teeth still chattered.  A nice glass of wine should do the trick, but an earl grey would have been better.
I snuck around the lobby, checking out any man in his early 30s.  I wondered if I gave Jack a good enough description of myself.  In my profile, I correctly stated that I was five-nine, but with my heels, I definitely was over six feet.  I didn’t see anyone who resembled him. Maybe he wasn’t coming?
I leaned my back on the bar and tried to look relaxed.  I was halfway done with my second glass of wine when I saw him.  Jack walked in all six feet two inches and looked to be in charge.  He’s sexy, I thought.  He wore a camel coat with a wool scarf flung around his neck.  His crystal, blue eyes caught my gaze and swallowed me in their whirpool of promise.
“Hi Laura.” Jack said.
Your voice is as sexy as you look, I said to myself as my heart fluttered.  “It’s nice to meet you Jack,” I said holding out my hand.  Jack took my hand and pulled me closer and gave me a kiss on the cheek.  Bells rang in my head.  You’re in trouble.  He’s a player.
“Would you like another glass of wine?” His voice was as smooth as the best wine I ever had.
“Yes, that would be nice, a Pinot Grigio, please.”
“Ok, any specific one?” Jack asked.
“I don’t know what I’m drinking, house, I guess.”  I wish I read up on wines, so I didn’t sound so ignorant.
Jack handed me a glass and we moved to a vacated spot on a couch. I had to concentrate on each step.  The stairs were a bit harder.  Thankfully, Jack gave me his arm and helped me navigate the three stairs.
We sat down and after some small talk, Jack asked, “Do you want to get married someday?”
“Yeah, I guess, I really just want a sex slave.”  That’s such a loaded question.  Unfortunately, my mouth shot words like speeding bullets that were headed nowhere good.
“What?” His eyes widened.
“Seriously, I’d really like to have kids, but I’m tired of dating and trying to find the right guy.”  Please know this is the truth, I willed with my eyes.
“I’d like to have a family, two or three kids,” Jack said.
“Yes, but do you really want one or are you just smart enough to say what you think most girls want to hear?”
“No, I really do want a wife and kids.”
“It’s hard to believe you.  Do you know how many times I’ve heard stuff like that and then it’s obvious that it isn’t true? That’s why I figure that I’m going to play the game.”
“What game?”  he said as if he didn’t know.  Yeah right, I thought.  It was well known that most men, single or married, used the online dating sites to find one night stands.  I knew that, but between the free dinners and my undying hope that I would find love, I continued to use them.
“Nope, I definitely do not want kids.  I want no attachments whatsoever and I definitely want to work the rest of my life.  I honestly just want a sex slave.”
“Yeah, I get it.  I could be your slave!” and his eyes twinkled.
“I’m sure you could.  I bet most men in here would agree to be my slave for one night, at least.”
“No, I’m sure all of them would want to be with you.”
“That’s probably true, but did you see how that woman was staring at you.  I bet you could get all the women in here,” I said.  We went back and forth like this for most of the rest of the date.  It was fun, exciting.  It was better than trying to prove whose resume was better.  I was hooked.  
“I’m going to have to go home soon,” I said.  It was ten o’clock and on most nights, I was asleep by now.
Jack put his hand on me knee. I felt the warmth of his smile on my thigh.  He looked into my eyes, leaned in and kissed me.  “Do you have to leave?” he asked.
Words were lost in my head.  He chuckled.  I hated him.  “Yes, I need to go now.”  I got up and sat back down again.  Jack laughed.
“It looks like you are going to need a little help.”
“Well, if you weren’t late, I wouldn’t have had that extra glass of wine.”
“I realize it’s my fault.  That’s why I offered my help.”
I firmly grabbed Jack’s arm and let him guide me outside and into a taxi.  “Thank you for a nice evening.”
“I had a great time too.  Let’s go out next weekend,” he said and gently kissed my leathered hand.
“Yes, that would be great,” I said and shut the taxi door.

“So have you heard from Jack?” Sam asked and she walked into my office and plopped down in the chair opposite my desk.  She put her coffee down on the papers stacked in the corner, oblivious that it was a presentation for a client meeting that afternoon.  
Sam has to be one of the prettiest women I have ever met that has absolutely no idea how gorgeous she is.  Of course, it only makes her that much more attractive.  Her shiny, black hair fell in waves to her sholder.  It perfectly accentuated her heart shaped face and Asian-American chocolate eyes.  However, it was her quick to laugh personality that notched up her beauty, if that was even possible.  Sam grew up and went to college in San Francisco.  By the way she dressed, earthy, most people knew that she was not a native New Yorker or trying to be one.
“No, I don’t know what’s going on,” I said and carefully slid my report out from under her coffee cup.
“Well, I hate to be the one to say it, but it seems like he’s blowing you off,” Sam said.  “Oh, I spilled some coffee on your papers.  I hope you don’t need those?”
“No, no, I don’t need those.” I routinely pile garbage on the corner of my desk and those coasters, you see, are just for decoration.  “He’s totally flaking on me.  I can’t believe it.  I thought chemistry was mutual.  If you felt it then so did the other person.”
Sarah walked into my office and casually leaned across the file cabinets.  “What’s going on?”
“Laura and Jack are suppose to have a date on Saturday, but Jack hasn’t emailed or called since Monday,” Sam said.
“Sorry, Laura, he probably decided to go out with someone else,” Sarah said.
Sarah and I worked on the same hallway for the last five years and shared too many dinners while leaning over spreadsheets.  Sarah analyzes retailers and I study banks.  By looking at Sarah with her long, flowing mane of chestnut brown hair pulled back by her Chanel sunglasses and glossy, black Jimmy Choo boots that cover her legs up to the knees and me with my Bass loafers, non-descript black slacks topped with a feminized version of a man’s oxford shirt, it is obvious who covered which sector.   
“Yeah, that totally sucks,” Sam said.
“Oh well, at least I had one nice date,” I said.
“You seem to go on a lot of dates, you’ll find someone else,” Sam said with soft eyes.
“Yeah, it’s not hard to find guys to go on dates with, but it’s hard to find someone that you click with. I think I made some relationships work when there wasn’t anything there,” I said.
“Oh, I definitely did that with Rajit,” Sam said.  “I don’t know how many times he told me that his parents were going to arrange his marriage in India, but I insisted on trying to make it work.”
Sarah and I eyed each other.  “Sam, it seemed like he really did love you, though,” Sarah said. 
“Well, it was nice dating him rather than nobody,” Sam said.  Sarah rolled her eyes. 
“Sam next time, don’t date someone for three years who tells you that he’ll never marry you after the second date,” Sarah said.  With seven years dating the same man, Sam and I looked up to Sarah as a relationship Goddess.
“I didn’t know he was so serious,” Sam said and slowly blinked. 
I could see the wetness lining her eyes, but my brain had already thrown words out of my mouth.  “Didn’t he tell you that a few times,” I said and closed my eyes and shifted in my chair.  I’m such a jerk, I thought, but it killed me to see her make the same mistake with Rajit that she did with Hikam.  I did that too, though.  I made the same mistakes with men time and time again.  Am I just like Sam, I thought.  Destined to keep making the same mistakes.
“He told me that every time I asked.  I still didn’t think he was being serious. I just thought that he didn’t want to get married yet,” she said and put her head in her hands.
Sarah offered Sam a tissue, while Sarah throttled me with a look.  “Sam, you did have fun dating Rajit and that’s what’s most important.  Don’t listen to us.  What do we know?” Sarah said.
“I’m sorry.  I’m the last person who should give out dating advice.  Well, maybe I could give advice for how to have a smashing first date, but then have him blow you off for a second,” I said and looked up at Sam from under my glasses.  Sam nodded and forgave me faster than I forgave myself.
“I think I might email Mr. Gold and see what he’s doing on Saturday night.”
“Um, I thought you told him that you were busy,” Sarah said.
“Can’t I just tell him that my plans changed?” I shrugged my shoulders and half smiled, but I really felt deflated inside.  Jack doesn’t want me, I thought.
“I don’t know; doesn’t that sound funny.  It’s already Friday,” Sam said, because she already had her social calendar filled for the next two months.
“Yes, but my plans did change.  It’s the truth.”  I clicked my mouse to create a new email.
“Aren’t you going to see Mr. Gold on Sunday?  Why not just stay home?” Sam said, which was funny, because Sam never stayed home on the weekends.  She went to brunches, lunches, cocktail parties, dinners and then late night clubbing.   She sobered up Monday through Wednesday, just to start her partying again Thursday night.
“Yeah, so?” I didn’t mind staying in for the night.  I’d curl up on the couch and read books that I was supposed to read in high school.  However, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that Jack was blowing me off.  I’d spend the night wondering whom Jack was kissing. 
“Oh, email him and see what he says,” Sam said. 
“I guess it can’t hurt.” Sarah shifted her weight and reached in her purse for her vibrating cell phone.  She waved her hand in front of her face and answered.  She spun on her patent-leather red-soled stilettos and scampered down the hall to her office.
“I wonder what that’s about?” Sam said. 
My computer started to ping, “The New York Time is reporting that there retail sales took a nose-dive.”
“Poor Sarah. I wonder how many angry clients are going to be mad that she didn’t predict this?”
I nodded.  “I’m glad I’m not her, but back to Jack.  I hate to say this, but you’re probably right.  I’ll just stay in tomorrow night and then go out with Mr. Gold on Sunday.” 
“I’m sure you’ll hear from Jack.  Just keep busy and the day will fly.”  Sam stood and picked up her coffee, which left a big ring on my desk.
“Sorry,” she said and watched me clean up the mess before she headed back to her office.
The rest of the workday was filled with boring, financial modeling and more longing for Jack.  It wasn’t until I finished merging two one-thousand-lined financial models together that I heard the familiar ping of my computer, clicked on my Outlook and smiled.  I forwarded the email to Sarah and Sam and within seconds they were in my office.
“Oh my gosh, what are you going to do?” Sam said between deep breaths.  She lowered into my spare chair and leaned forward on my desk.
“I don’t know.  What should I do?”  I should respond to Jack’s email and tell him that I was looking forward to going out with him again.
“So typical, I can’t believe that Jack emails you at 4:30 on Friday, expecting you to still be free on Saturday night?” who said this? Sarah took a couple more steps into my office and leaned her back against the file cabinets that lined the wall.
“What was he thinking?” Sam said.
“My guess is that he wasn’t thinking,” I said.  “Do you think that he was trying to go out with someone else instead?  That I was his back-up plan.”
“Sorry, but it seems that way to me,” Sarah said, not looking up from her coffee.
“No, no way.  From everything you’ve said, he doesn’t seem to be that type of guy,” Sam said.
“Really, Sam, you believe that Jack really likes Laura and just forgot about her until now?” Sarah said.
“Why not?” Sam said.
“Because he’s a player,” Sarah said.
“I don’t think he’s a player.  Couldn’t he have just forgotten?” I said. Wanting more than anything to believe the words that were coming out of my mouth.
“No, save yourself some heartache now and tell him you’re busy,” Sarah said.
“Ok, so I’ll tell him that because I hadn’t heard from him since Monday that I thought he was blowing me off, so I made other plans.”
“No, don’t tell him that you thought he was blowing you off.  That will show him that you care.  Just tell him that you made other plans.”
“I don’t know Laura, he really could just have gotten busy,” Sam said.  I love that Sam believes in the inherent good of people; I wish I could.
I tended to side with Sarah when it came to dating advice, so I sent an email to Jack telling him that I had made other plans. 
However, when Saturday arrived, I thought that I had made a mistake. Finally, at four o’clock, I convinced myself that I wouldn’t look too desparate if I sent Jack an email.

My plans for tonight fell through.  If you haven’t made other plans, then I’d love to go out.
I hope you are having a good day,
I hit send and immediately started to regret it. I no longer looked strong.  He was going to know that I was playing games.  Within two minutes, I got an email from Jack and breathed.  I guess he didn’t care about how he looked either.

Here are other chapters:

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