Michelle picked up her cell phone to check if she has a message, none. She sighed and put the phone down. “You stupid girl” she says, when are you going to wake up.
She turned her laptop off and collected her stuff, it’s only 5pm but she has to go. She’s the boss anyway, she can leave whenever she wants. At 32 years old she is already an assistant vice president and the head of a department at a well known bank. She’s got her own house at a private village and a brand new car. She has traveled around the world and at one point got herself involved with a not-so-famous but very handsome actor whom she dated for exactly 2 weeks. She’s living ‘the life’, or so they say.
She heads to the parking area and got in her car. She should go home, she’s been putting off her laundry for 2 days already. Though she has money to pay someone to do her laundry she insists on doing it herself. Most of her office attire was bought out of the country and with delicate material. She could not bear the thought of a ruined dress, like the plaid blouse she bought in Croatia which the household help accidentally ripped. She almost had a heart attack when she saw it and contemplated on murdering the poor girl.
She shook her head and started the car. “I should go home, but, I can’t”.
She parked her car in front of the restaurant. She put on her lipstick and looked at herself in the mirror for a while. “What are you doing Michelle?” She put her lipstick back in the bag and finally got out of the car.
The restaurant is almost empty, only one customer. It’s only 5:45pm after all. She went to her usual spot at the bar and smiled at the man behind. “Hi Paul, the usual please” she orders.
“He’s not coming today beautiful” says a familiar voice from behind.
She turns around and saw her friend Alex. “Hi, Mr. Manager” and she lets out a fake smile. “Who says I’m looking for him?”
“I’m sorry Michelle, Mark is on a convention, and he won’t be back until next week.”
She lets out a sigh and turned to her drink.
“Have you eaten anything?”
She shook her head and smiled. She wanted to cry.
“Let’s eat dinner, I’m starving.” He went to a nearby table and gestured for her to follow.
Michelle smiled and took her drink. She sat opposite Alex and watched him order the food from the waiter.
“You know you’re really stubborn, I told you to stop this nonsense. Mark is my friend, so I know how he thinks. Stop pushing yourself to a guy who doesn’t even know your last name!”
“I knoooooow, but…” she said desperately.
It has been a month since that first date. She was attracted to Mark the moment he walked in the room. Imagine her delight when he approached her and asked if she was Michelle. It was a blind date set up by her friends. She was reluctant but all that faded away when she saw Mark. They spent the night talking about themselves and about their work. She thought they connected.
He asked for her number just before they parted ways, she couldn’t wait to give it. They said their goodbye’s and she went to her car. Inside, she waited, she locked the doors but did not start the car. She can’t wipe the smile off her face.
Ring ring ring…..
Just as she expected, she looked at an unfamiliar number and pressed the answer button.
“Hello?” she says.
“Hi Michelle, its Mark, save my number okay?”
“Okay, take care Mark.”
“Drive safe, talk to you later.”
She hangs up.
They talked for 5 hours that night, as if the hours spent at the restaurant were not enough.
The weekend after their first date, they spent the whole day watching movies and playing games at his apartment.
They kissed, passionately, almost feverishly. Both were on the couch and as the kiss progressed, she pushed him back. “Stop,” Michelle said. “Let’s eat dinner!” She hid her embarrassment with a big smile and hurried to get her bag. Mark watched her with a confused look and got up to get his wallet.
After that night, he never talked to her again. Always busy and always hanging up the phone.
Michelle has been waiting for a single text for 3 weeks.
“I should find you another date,” says Alex.
“Hah! Good luck with that! It seems that I’m a complete sucker for these things.”
“I’ll help you, call me Hitch.” He was laughing.
“What should I do? Why do guys hate me?”
“They don’t hate you, they’re just playing around that’s all. You have to keep a guy interested so he would want to get to know you better.”
“So I’m not interesting? Uggggghhh..” She said, frustrated.
“Don’t try too hard, just be yourself.”
“I am myself and look at me now,” she said as she emptied her Margarita.
He took the empty glass from her hands, “this will not help you.”
“I just want to be happy, Alex. Why is it so hard?”
He stood up and took Michelle’s hand, “I’ll walk you to your car okay.”
“Tell you what, “he says, “The next time you go on a date call me!”
She went home confused that night. She lay on her bed and checked her phone, just in case.
Ring ring ring.
“Michelle?” Alex answered.
“Hey, Alex, I am on a date right now,” Michelle was whispering.
“Why are you calling me? Go back to your date!”
“You told me to call you on my next date! What should I do, the guy is cute.”
“So talk to him, don’t give him your number unless he asks!”
“He wants me to go to his condo after our dinner.”
“What? NO! Go home, now. Tell him something came up.”
“Are you insane? I can’t just leave him we’re on a date.”
“Yes you can, go there now while I’m on the phone tell him there’s an emergency at home, do it.”
“Okay okay, here I go.”
Michelle went back to the table and told the guy about the ‘emergency’ at home.
“I can’t believe I just did that,” she told Alex while getting in her car.
“You’ll thank me later, bye!”
“Who is that?”
“Oh that, Michelle, she’s a friend, she needs my expert advice,” said Alex with grin.
He turned his cell phone off and returned to kissing the girl.
Michelle went back to her usual routine, which is basically go to work at 9AM and go home at 6PM. She was cleaning the dishes when her cell phone rang. It was Mark.
“Hi, Michelle, what’s up?”
“Nothing much, umm, why did you call, Mark?”
“Whoah, you sound so serious, let’s go grab some coffee and catch up!”
“I don’t, ummmm, sure, where?”
“Let’s meet at the Starbucks near your place.”
“Okay, see you.”
Michelle stared into nothingness for what seems like an eternity.
“Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!” she shouted, and then ran to the shower as fast as she can.
Half an hour later she was waiting at Starbucks. I don’t know what I’m doing, she says to herself. Please, I just want to be happy.
She was surprised to see Alex walking towards her.
“What are you doing here?”
“Mark called me and told me to meet you instead, something came up.”
“What? I was talking to him just an hour ago? What happened?”
“I don’t know, he called me and I’m in the vicinity so I dropped by, sorry Michelle.”
“Don’t be, I’m sorry for the trouble, were you on a date?” She was trying her best to cheer up.
He laughed. “That’s fine, I can get another one if I want too.”
“Really now, good for you.” She let out a sigh and turned to her coffee.
“Look, don’t be sad, it’s classic Mark, don’t think about it too much okay?”
“What’s wrong with me Alex?”
“Hey hey, cheer up, you’re going to find Mr. Right, I know it.”
“I have a lot of love to give Alex, I just want to be happy.” Then she smiled.
Alex has never seen her smile like that before. There is something about her eyes, the sadness and the longing yet delicate and full of hope, that makes him want to know her more.
“Excuse me, Alex, I have to go now. Thanks again.”
He watched her as she went out of the coffee shop. As he went back to his car he can’t help but think of that smile.
When he got into his apartment, he opened his laptop and logged in his Facebook account. He started to read the profile of Michelle and found himself laughing at some of her posts. The girl is funny, he thought. He logged off and shook his head.
After a week, Alex was surprised to see Michelle come in the restaurant with a big group.
“Alex! Hello! We’re celebrating tonight.”
“Hi Michelle, I didn’t know you have friends,” he said jokingly.
“I just met them on my way here Alex, now we’re like this close,” she gestured with her fingers.
Alex laughed at her joke and welcomed them in. He can’t understand why he feels so nervous all of a sudden.
He was watching Michelle from the corner of the restaurant, pretending to do something with papers. She seems like she’s having a lot of fun with her friends. She was quite the talker too. Seeing her laugh makes his heart jump a little bit. His eyes locked for a fraction of a second with Michelle’s wide dark brown eyes set in her heart shaped face.
He looked away, embarrassed at being caught looking. He pretended to call a waiter to bark some orders.
Michelle stood up and heads for the comfort room. Alex felt a strange impulse to follow her and just ask about food, or whatever. He just wants to get close to her, any way that he can.
“Sir, the delivery is here.” It was Paul, the bar tender, interrupting his thoughts.
He stood up with a sense of relief. This new development is very strange to him. He does not usually go with the ‘Michelle’ types. He goes for the modern, high fashioned, basically sexy kind of girls.
He went out to oversee the delivery. When he went back to his table at the restaurant he noticed that Michelle is not on her table. After another 5 minutes, he stood up and scanned the restaurant for her. He went out and there she was. Michelle stood with her back pressed against the wall beside the door, she was clutching her cell phone in her hand.
He hesitated a little but proceeded to walk towards her.
“Hi, is there something wrong?” He was nervous.
“Oh, it’s nothing, some guy I dated wants to meet up later, what do you think Mr. Hitch?” She was smiling.
“Wow, umm, well, what do you think?” That smile.
“I don’t know, maybe I’ll show up for a bit then I’ll go. It’s a Friday night anyway.” She was walking for the door to go back in.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Date written: 14 September 2014