After spending a wonderful day with my family, I wish everyone a happy mother's day!
Here's the rest of chapter 2.
It would be great to go out tonight. Should I come over at 8? I canceled our reservations, so we’ll just have to figure things out when I get there.
I had four hours to kill before Jack came over. I laced up my running shoes. On the elevator, I put on my earphones. As I ran down 86th street to Central Park, I psyched myself up by listening to some Donna Summers.
“I’m coming out.
I want the world to know.
Got to let it show.
I’m coming out,” Diana Ross and I sang, as I ran towards the park. I felt myself snapping my fingers and shaking my hips. I had a love-drunk, perma-smile on my face. I’m sure I looked like a fool, but I didn’t care. My heart was light and full of happy possibilities and it was OK if everyone knew it. Neil Diamond came on and I picked up my pace.
“She got the way to move me, Cherry
She got the way to groove me
She got the way to move me
She got the way to groove me”
By the time I finished two loops of the reservoir; my heart was pounding. I felt alive and in charge.
When I got home I scanned my apartment. It was neat; it usually was as long as you don’t mind dust. New York City produces an insane amount of dust, but I made peace with it, because that was better than dusting. However, Opu’s hair was a different story. My ninety-five pound black labrador retriever preferred the couch to running in the park and produced basketball size clumps of hair that gathered in the corners of my aparement. I walked over to the clumps and picked them up and threw them away. Done, I thought; now the apartment is clean enough.
I walked into the bedroom, slid open the closet doors and blankly stared at the clothes. It was easy and impossible to figure out what to wear. I knew I was going to wear my black, suede Tod’s that had red stitches. They had three and a half inch heels and were still really comfortable. My desinger Gap jeans were also a must. I don’t know when I fell in love with Gap jeans, but I did. I loved that for $25 (always bought them on sale) I could buy comfortable jeans that made me feel good. Plus, it freed up money for me to buy ridiculously expensive shoes. What to wear on top?
I stripped out of my runnng clothes and walked into the bathroom. I’ll wear my black, stretchy, turtle-neck sweather, I thought and I smoothed conditioner through my hair. It’s form fitting and warm. Maybe the high neck will make me look like a nun. No, I want something sexy. The sheer black sweater with a camisole underneath would be good. I finished up my shower and grabbed my towel. Back in the bedroom and stairing at the closet, I decided that I didn’t want to wear the sheer sweater. I grabbed my Theory, black silk shirt that had red and navy designs that the cuffs and v-neck and slid it over my head. This should work and I walked back into the bathroom to put on make-up.
“Hey Jack, come in.” He glided in and casually leaned on my kitchen counter. His camel coat was unbuttoned and his blue shirt was neatly tucked into his flat-front, black trousers.
“You look great.” I said and I twirled the stem of my wine glass in my hands.
“Thanks. You look nice too,” he said. He took a few steps towards me.
“I decided to curl my hair. I wasn’t sure if it turned out all right,” I said and almost dropped my glass, because I spun it in my hand too fast. “Would you like something to drink?” Jack took another step closer. The wine in my glass started splashing up the sides.
“Yes, I’d love a bourbon and coke.” He touched my shoulder with his shoulder. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath in hopes of calming my thundering heart. It was a mistake. Jack smelled better than chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven. God, I love chocolate chip cookies. : )
“Umm…that’s a problem. I should have told you your choices. I have um milk, Diet Coke, and some pinot grigio.”
“Wine would be nice.” He leaned in.
I grabbed the pinot grigio out of the fridge and poured him a glass of wine. “Here….”
He gently caressed my lips with his. My heart jumped.
“Wow!” I said.
“Oh you liked that.” Jack’s face blushed.
Crap, crap, crap, crap. “No, no it was ok. I was just trying to flatter you.”
We left my apartment and grabbed a taxi down to Pastis. Jack’s hand was on my thigh the entire ride. It was hot. I was hot. His kiss was sweet. I was in trouble.
I had the best weekend. I need to tell you about it.
Hope you had a great weekend too,
I sent the email the moment I entered the office. I hadn’t even opened my Diet Coke yet.
With their coffees in their hands, they each leaned on my file cabinets for our usual morning meeting.
“What’s up?” Sarah took off her mink swing coat, it was an early Christmas present from Gil, and gently folded it over the back of the chair.
“Spill,” Sam said. She was still wearing her rain boots with her pants tucked in them. I guess she wasn’t worried about wrinkling her pants. love
“Ok, so I ended up emailing Jack on Saturday and we went out,” I confessed and slowly looked up from the spreadsheet on my desk.
“Why?” Sarah asked.
“I think it’s good. Why play games?” Sam placed her coffee down on papers that were piled on the corner of my desk.
I glanced over at the papers on top and breathed easier seeing that they were drafts. “It was by far the best date I’ve ever had.” My ears slid back on my head, my grin was so big.
“Really, didn’t you go to France on a date?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah. Remember Janes, Mr. Investment Bank. He constantly complained about work and that he wanted to find balance. However, he only worked longer and longer hours. France was fun, but a relationship isn’t built on one weekend out of fifty-two, so… I might have had more exotic dates, but definitely not better ones. I felt like Jack and I were in a movie. It was the two of us and blurry extras.”
“What’d you do?” Sarah asked.
“He came over to my place and then we went down to the meatpacking district for dinner.”
“That sounds like a typical date,” Sarah said.
“Well, dates are only as good as the person you are with,” I said, “I couldn’t have been with anyone better.”
“You are so whipped,” Sam said.
“I want more details,” Sarah said and she tapped her coffee cup.
“What restaurant did you go to? Sam asked.
“It’s hard to get reservations there. He tried to impress you,“ Sarah raised an eyebrow.
“He could have taken me to McDonalds and I still would have considered it my best date ever,” I said and leaned back in my chair and looked up at the ceiling. With no chance of seeing Brian, I was back in my comfy, black pants, a shirt and a v-neck sweater.
“I don’t understand; what was so great about it?” Sarah said and she looked right at me.
“I guess it was just the conversation; the way he caressed my back; I don’t know. The way he made me feel like I was the only person in the room.”
“You are in love,” Sam said and she smiled, a knowing smile.
“No, definitely not love. He’s scary,” I said. Do I tell them that he’s so scary, because the chemistry is so strong? He makes my heart flutter just when I think about him. I bet that he could Mac-truck my heart and it’d be hard to scrape the pieces back together again.
Sam held her hands by her face and pretended she was a monster. “What do you mean? Does he have fangs?” We laughed.
“No, he just seems too perfect. Not necessarily that he is perfect, but that our chemistry is perfect. He makes my toes curl when he kisses me.”
“Oh my God, what is wrong with you?” Sarah said and smirked.
“You definitely are in looove,” Sam said and crossed her arms against her heart.
“No, I’m so NOT in love. We just had our second date. But maybe I could love him someday.” I could definitely fall hard for Jack, I thought, but didn’t dare voice to Sarah and Sam.
“The two of you are ridiculous,” Sarah said and took a long sip of her coffee. “Wait, didn’t you go out with Mr. Gold on Sunday?”
“Yup.” I grinned. It felt nice to date two guys at the same time. I never did that before, but I knew that I would need to choose between the two soon. My conscious wouldn’t allow me to string one of them along.
“And how was that date?” Sam asked.
“It was a very nice date. I only called him Jack once.”
Jack and I were both very busy over the Christmas holidays, so we decided to go out to dinner on New Year’s Day. We met at The Hudson Grill near my apartment on Columbus in the 80s. what kind of restaurant?
Jack lounged in the booth, “What did you do last night?”
“I went to a party at Bruce and Elana’s apartment. It was mainly just our running group,” I said and craddled Diet Coke in my hands. “What did you do?”
“I went to a bar in Midtown East with my buddies. It was pretty casual.” He took a drink of his bourbon and Coke.
“Yeah, my night was very relaxed. It almost didn’t seem like New Year’s Eve,” I said and took a bite of my mushroom ravioli. I can’t believe that I used to hate mushrooms. The combination of mushroom and slippery pasta pleased my tongue.
“I was outside and this girl kept showing me her arm.” He casually lifted his fork to his mouth and stuffed in a large chunk of filet mignon.
I choked. He didn’t notice.
“She was so cold that she had chicken skin. I never saw anything like it before.” He picked up his steak knife and sawed off another ounce of filet.
I took a deep breath. “Oh, that’s pretty common if you’re really cold.” This means nothing, I kept telling myself.
“Yeah, I guess,” and he shoved more filet mignon down his throat.
“What were you doing outside?” I looked down at my plate and moved the ravioli a little bit. He’s not as into me as I thought.
“Oh, we were smoking,” and he took some fries and smashed them into his mouth.
“I didn’t know you smoked.”
“Just socially,” he said.
“Oh,” and I felt my heart crash to the floor. Sirens went off on my head. A smoker, I can’t date a smoker. Seriously, I don’t care how much money you have or how drop-dead gorgeous. I will not date a guy who smells like death. After decades of dealing with my mother smoking, I’m not dating a smoker. I hated sitting in the smoking section of an airplane where there would be toxic clouds inside, corrupting the beauty outside. As the youngest, I was forced to sit next to her at restaurants, so my dinner tasted like an ashtray. I am not going to voluntarily sign up for a life ruled by someone’s desire to destroy his lungs and those around him. “Just socially,” he said and took a fistful of French fries and stuffed them into his mouth.
“Oh,” and I felt my heart crash to the floor.
After our date, I learned that not only did he smoke, but he also was dating other women. Ok, I didn’t know that he was definitely dating other women, but it seemed like he was definitely open to it.
On Monday, I was in my office, blankly staring at the Chrysler building, when Sarah walked in.
“I have some news for you,” Sarah stated and held out her left hand. Right there smack dab in the middle of her ring finger was the largest diamond that I had ever seen.
“Congratulations,” I sang and embraced Sarah in a big hug. “It’s about time – seven years?”
“Yes, it took way too much pressure on my part. I told him that he had to propose by Christmas. He didn’t, so I told him that he had until New Year’s Eve. He proposed on New Year’s Day,” Sarah said and gazed down at her rock.
“Well, who cares what it took for Gil to finally propose. I’m so happy for you,” I said with my stomach all in knots. There was something about Gil that rubbed me wrong. It was just a feeling, but a pretty strong one at that.
“How are things going with Jack?”
“Ugh…I think it’s over.”
“I’m sorry. What happened?”
“He smokes,” I said.
“And…” Sarah took a sip of her coffee and looked me directly in my eyes.
“He’s also dating someone else. Clearly, he doesn’t think I’m that special,” I said and took a bite my bagel and stared at my computer monitor.
Sarah grinned. “Aren’t you also dating Mr. Gold?”
“It doesn’t count,” I said. “I’m allowed to be dating as many men as I’d like.”
“That’s fair,” Sarah and Sam said in unison. Sam strolled in and sat down in the chair opposite me.
“What’d I miss,” Sam said.
“I think it’s over with Jack. He smokes and is dating someone else. Someone who he took on a date on New Year’s Eve.” I took another bite of my bagel and stared at my Diet Coke.
“Are you sure he is dating someone else?” Sam said. “I felt so good about him.”
“No, I’m not 100% positive, but I don’t want to date a smoker anyway. Besides remember that he told me he bought an apartment on the Upper East Side. Well…he still hasn’t moved in. He told me that he was moving in December. He’s lying about that too, right?” I questioned.
“Guys are so full of shit in New York. In any other city, we would have met nice guys by now, but no…guys in New York think that they can dick around with women’s lives,” Sam said.
Sarah believed that Jack was actually buying an apartment when I first told her. However, now that Jack seemed to be dating multiple women and messed up our second date, Sarah was changing her tune. “Laura, I know you thought that he was special. But considering that he smokes, is dating other women and may or may not own an apartment in the city, I think you’re best off continuing to date Mr. Gold.”