Monday, December 16, 2013

December 28.

I had a realization today. There are only nine - count them NINE - days until Christmas. This means I need to begin a balancing act between hurrying up and slowing down. First, I need to hurry up and finish my Christmas shopping. It's all planned out but there are still a few things I need to get. Then, I need to slow down and make sure I enjoy every moment of the season. I love this time of year so much I need to soak up every bit of it. And in the midst of getting through my last three days of work before vacation,and then wrapping presents, enjoying holiday parties and baking and marveling at the snow while listening to holiday music, I must, of course, continue to write. So far so good...

It's date three for Holli!

If this is your first time visiting, don't miss the beginning! Head here for the start of the story.

Sunday, December 28

I wanted to drown in my coffee. I don’t mean that in a delightful “this is so amazing I want to sink in its taste” sort of way, but more of an “I’d rather end my life in this Black Gold (which is a delicious cup of coffee, Triple Sec, Amaretto, Irish cream, hazelnut liqueur and cinnamon Schnapps) than listen to this guy talk about himself for another minute." I nodded and smiled as he rambled on, hoping I was managing to look interested.
“…they hired me right after graduation, but I knew I could get a higher salary elsewhere so I left. They didn’t think I’d do it. I mean, it’s my father’s company for fuck’s sake!” He laughed heartily at his own story and I cringed inwardly. “My dad was pissed, but I know what I’m worth.”
He leaned back in his chair and grinned broadly at me, his overly whitened teeth were practically fluorescent. My last two dates were semi-successes compared to this guy, in spite of the fact Tyler’s heart belonged to someone else and Harry, while nice, didn’t really do anything for me spark-wise.
“Of course, then they offering me more, so I stayed on. I’m practically indispensable now and making a pretty penny. I wish you’d let me pick you up. I’m sure you’d love my Maserati.”
I had no idea what allowing him to pick me up had to do with Jewish soup but I was glad I’d decided to meet him here. It left the option open for a quick escape... or was I thinking of Matzo? Either way, I’m pretty sure this guy’s not even Jewish.
“So what about you babe?”
Another cringe. Babe. I hate that. How any woman could consider being called the same name as a famous pig endearing was beyond me.
“What is it you said you do for work?” he continued before I even answered. “Of course, you know, I don’t think women should work.”
I nearly choked on the coffee I’d just taken a sip of.
“Well, I mean, they shouldn’t have to work. I can’t really say they shouldn’t work because of those feminists, you know?”
He laughed again and took a sip of his medium extra something with something else which would be more appropriate if this were Starbucks, but it wasn’t.”
“Wait. You’re not a feminist, are you?”
I shook my head.
“Phew, great. I thought I was in trouble for a second there.”
You were in trouble way before that, pal.
“I work at a travel agency. So I…”
“Really? That’s ironic. I love to travel. I love Italy. I plan on taking plenty of vacations there in the near future, although I’ve already been quite a few times. I’ve just been in the “work hard” phase of my “work hard, play harder” motto. That’s the motto I live by!
Yeah. It’s also the motto of just about every other douche bag guy out there who likes to talk about how hard he works and then talk about how he balances that by throwing money all over the place and calling it fun.
“Maybe we should think about taking a trip together.” He winked at me, and it took everything I had not to roll my eyes at him.
I looked longingly out the window at the fading light of day. Please, please, please just let this date be over so I can find a way to end the weekend on a high note.
As if in answer to my silent prayer, the phone he’d set on the corner of the table – naturally - began to ring. He picked it up instantly.
Rude. At least Tyler had a sense of remorse about using his phone and Harry… well, Harry kept his attached to his head but he hadn’t picked it up during dinner.
“Jonathan Bradley Pierson speaking.”
Are you kidding me? He answers the phone with his entire name? Yep, I wanted to drown in my coffee.
“What! That’s unacceptable. I’ll be right there. No! No. Don’t do anything until I arrive.” He hung up his phone and let out an aggravated sigh. “Some people are just incapable of getting things done right. Sorry babe, I’ve gotta run.”
I thought about being polite and going on about how unfortunate it was that he had to leave, but lying is wrong.
Jonathan Bradley Pierson stood up and pulled a twenty out of his wallet. He looked around the room and whistled as he caught sight of a young blonde server. She hurried over and he handed her the bill.
“Keep the change, babe.”
           Aha! So he called everyone babe. Even though I hated the term, the tiny – very, very, very tiny – bit of me that liked the fact he’d decided to call me something "special" suddenly felt dejected. He slipped on his black wool overcoat and stepped over to me. I stood up and smiled. He wrapped an arm around me, then leaned in and kissed me lightly on the lips.
Way to ask, you jerk.
 …well, at least he could get points for being a decent kisser. And wearing nice cologne too, I added, as I noticed his scent. He stepped away and smiled that fluorescent smile. At that moment, it seemed to suggest he knew what I’d just thought. If a smile could talk I imagine his would say “I told you - I know my own worth.”
“Remind me to tell Kimberly thanks for setting us up.” He winked at me again. “I’ll call you later.” And then he strode out the door, blatantly staring at a blonde sitting by herself at a table near the exit. Clearly he had a thing for blondes.
Ugh. Remind me to kill Kimberly, I thought to myself.
I let out a sigh and put on my jacket. Well we can just put that date into the “Horrible First Date Hall of Fame.” I pushed open the door to the coffee shop and stepped outside into the evening light. I inhaled a cool breath of winter air and slipped on my gloves. I’ve decided my friends, as much as I love them, are terrible matchmakers. Now both Chloe and Kimberly had made an attempt to set me up and I was going to be able to assure them with the utmost certainty neither date would be followed up with a second. You’d think after knowing me for so long they’d have a clue what I was looking for or attracted to.
I set off down the street at a leisurely pace, enjoying the feel of the crisp air against my cheeks. Then again, I’m not entirely sure I know what I’m looking for or interested in. But I’m pretty sure it’s not Jonathan Bradley Pierson. It’s not anyone who doesn’t have a heart to fully call their own either. Nor is it someone who likes breaking up with people during the holidays. As far as Harry, well, honestly I’d yet to fully make up my mind. A second date was needed to assess the situation, and I found it funny the only date that had gone alright was one set up by a friend of my sister’s. Maybe close friends over think things when they set up a friend and that scrutiny ends up backfiring. Or maybe they don’t think things through because they feel they know the person well enough to pinpoint a match on the street with just a single glance. Whatever the route, at least in my case it didn’t look like the road would lead to a castle that promised happily ever after. If I wanted to pursue things with Jonathan there was a big chance I’d end up in a castle, sure, but the chances were slim to none happily ever after would come with it - I don’t care how much money he has to throw around.
I reached into my purse and pulled out my phone – which I’d turned on silent and put away to be polite, unlike my date. I turned the ringer back on and looked at the notifications. Mom had called, and I had two messages. Both were from Kimberly.
“Well?!?!??” read the first. “How was it? And DON’T BE VAGUE!!” read the second, hinting at my usual tendency to keep my personal matters personal. I dropped the phone back into my bag and continued walking. I was in no mood to humor her, especially since I was still contemplating ending her life.
Once again I was grateful the coffee shop was such a short distance from my home. First date’s tended to leave me exhausted, and this one was no exception. All those fake smiles and the pretend interest – it felt like I’d just finished performing during opening night of a new play. I walked up the stone steps to my building and unlocked the door. My phone chimed as I began taking the stairs to my third floor apartment and I took it out again, wondering why I hadn’t just left it on silent.
“Sorry to leave, babe. Dinner next week? JBP”
Doubtful, JBP. Doubtful. I put the phone away once more and let myself into the apartment.
“Time to salvage the night” I said aloud to no one but Pepper who was sleeping somewhere among the rooms. I kicked off my shoes, dropped my things and hurried into my room to change from the pretty sweater dress I’d donned to sweats and a tee-shirt, stripping off my stockings and replacing them with fuzzy pink socks.
I piled the mass of black hair I’d carefully styled before the date into a messy bun and secured it as I walked into the kitchen. Wine was first on my list. I uncorked a bottle and poured a generous glass, taking a sip and savoring the taste while I opened the fridge and stared at the contents. I contemplated hummus. Hummus would be good, and I knew I’d find carrot sticks and celery in one of the drawers. Nice and heathy. Hah! Yeah right. This was not a hummus kind of night. I pushed aside some leftover takeout and reached for the golden box of Godiva chocolates sitting behind them.
“That’s more like it,” I said aloud, this time garnering a response in the form of a tiny meow from Pepper, who’d decided to say hello.
“Come on Pepper, let’s go snuggle.”
I brought my treats to the living room and set them on the coffee table, taking a match to the holiday scented candle I’d bought last week to get myself in the spirit – it hadn’t worked very well. I settled on the sofa, covered myself with a pretty white throw my mom had given me, and reached for the remote and my wine. I turned on the TV and flipped to Lifetime just as Pepper jumped up and began searching for a comfy place to lie.
“This. This is my high note. It isn’t so bad, is it?” I asked the cat as I picked up one of the chocolates and took a bite. She chose to refrain from comment and I had a feeling she, like my family and friends, was starting to think my lifestyle simply would not do.
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           To learn more about my full length novel, Reaching Riverdale (an excellent Christmas gift if I do say so myself), click here

1 comment:

Felicia Jane said...

Where did the rest of it go?