Chapter 25- Haven
*Three Months later*
It’s been three months since I left Noah. When I got back to Waterston, I went out of my way to steer clear of Noah. I had already quit the bar, so I went to town and got a job as a decorator at Monique West Events, a wedding planning company. The owner, Monique West was delighted with my background in interior design for decorating the reception halls. We have been making great business since it’s spring, the start of the wedding season. Ironically, I’m working at a wedding planning company, in the midst of a divorce.
After my trip to New York, Benjamin kept me updated. I spent the holidays dealing with the divorce and trying to build my life back up. It was two weeks after my trip that Charlie got served. Ben said, he was able to keep my location under wraps, but he wasn’t sure it could stay that way because Charlie was angry about the filing. I had to go to New York a couple of weeks ago to finalize the paperwork. Benjamin was so helpful, that he was able to do a separate signing of the papers. We just faxed over my signature to Charlie’s lawyers. I just got notice yesterday that everything was finalized. No matter what there was a nagging feeling that something was going to happen, but I pushed it down.
I hear a ding from my phone. I reach over and grab it off of a client’s folder. I already know who it is, Noah. He never fails to text me every morning and every night letting me know that he misses me, loves me, and how he will wait as long as he needed to. I throw my head back against the pillow and sigh. I miss him. My heart aches every time I thought of him. When I left New York, it was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I still stand by my decision. My life was just affecting Noah’s too much. I know he was dealing with trust issues from his past and he did his best to be there for me, but I just didn’t feel it was fair to be tied to Charlie while being with Noah. I look at the text he sent me this morning:
Noah: Good Morning beautiful! I hope you woke up with a smile on your face. I love you so much and I miss you terribly, but I’ll wait for you baby, when you’re ready. Be safe.
I toss my phone to the side of my desk and focus on my work. I hear the chimes of the door ringing. I look up and I see Monique in all her fabulousness walk through the French Doors and past my office. I stand up grabbing the client file I was working on from my desk and follow her to her office that was right next to mine, straight ahead from the entrance.
I loved our office. It was modern and chic, perfect for a planner because it didn’t feel like an office. When the client first walks in the first thing they see is a large white table against the corner wall by the window. It sat in front of a bench seat that had pastel pink and white pillows. On the other side of the table sat two pastel pink dining chairs. On the table we always kept bridal brochures that had several companies we worked with. Venues, floral arrangements, bakeries, wedding dresses. Anything that the bride to be wanted, we had the information for it.
Inside Monique’s office, she has a simple rectangle glass desk that had her desktop on one end, a large calendar and a cute pink orchid on the other end. Her modern desk chair was also white. Her office was decorated simple with a white bookshelf behind her and pink file folders. She also had some albums to show new clients. My office was similar but instead of white, my chairs were black as well as my shelving.
Taking me out of my thoughts, she takes off her shades, along with her tan pea coat that went beautifully against her tawny skin, her long tight coily hair lay loose in a side part, beating against her back with every step she took. When she goes inside her office, she hits the lights on and opens her jacket, revealing her black, sleeveless jumpsuit. She hasn’t seen me yet, so I lightly knock on the door French door behind her. She turns and puts her hand on her chest, taken aback by my appearance.
“Oh Haven, I didn’t see you. You will not believe the morning I’ve had,” I take a seat in one of the two plush white chairs. I look at her, smiling. “I’m getting ready for work and I realized my damn Michael Kors bag had a huge scratch on it, then I left my wallet when I started driving off,” she brings her hand to her forehead in frustration, “so much running around. But I made it. Anyway,” she looks back up me, “how was your morning? Any news?” I smirk at her and get up leaving her office, to my own. I grab the two iced coffees I picked up this morning and walk back to her office. When her brown deep-set eyes land on me, a bright smile grows on her face and she squeals. “Ahh, you’re so amazing. I have no idea how I survived without you.”
“Oh stop, I had a gut feeling we’d be needing this today,” I say, placing the drink on her desk and taking my seat again. She takes a sip, rolling her eyes back in satisfaction. I giggle setting my drink down on her desk as well. I bring the file to my lap. “Now as for news in the office, the Wu Wedding is coming close to completion. I finalized all the reservations and Steven Wu, the hubby to be, sent the last round of checks today. All they have left to do get married.” She smiles, bringing her hands together and up to her lips.
“You are an angel sent from Heaven,” she stands up from her seat. “By the way, I saw the floral arrangements you ordered for them, absolutely stunning.”
“Thank you, that wasn’t even the hard part, it was the center pieces for the tables that the bride was killing me with,” I brush a strand of hair behind my ear, shaking my head in disbelief. Monique smiles wide, revealing her pearly whites.
“Well, everything is coming together beautifully, and I have only you to thank for that,” she begins typing on her desktop. I take out of the folder, a notepad, for today’s agenda. “So, for today, I got a phone call yesterday with a new client. She’ll be coming in, in about an hour. I, on the other hand, have to go meet a client. We’re venue shopping. But that’s it for today. I really stopped by to grab my clients file.” She stands up, turning around in her shelf and looking for the file she needs. She grabs her belonging, walking out of the office with me behind.
“So, I will email you the updates of the client meeting today, since I won’t see you later. Do you have their names?” We stop walking as she puts on her shades.
“Ah, no, not off the top of my head. I just remember she said, she had a previous wedding planner, but they were giving her a hard time for some reason. Anyway, you know how we do things just see what her date in mind is, get some general ideas and plan a venue viewing day if she doesn’t already have one in mind. Yada yada yada.”
“Got it, enjoy your day Monique,” I say nodding towards her. She smiles, blowing a kiss in my direction and walking out of the store.
An hour later, I hear the chimes again, and I get up to face the new customer. I grab a clipboard, for our new clients and go to greet the new bride to be. Once I reach the entry way, my breath catches in my throat. I see her. Olivia. She stops in the doorway, smiling, pretending. Her hair, pin straight. She had on a long deep brown Sherpa jacket, under it I can see she’s wearing a grey wool turtleneck dress and knee-high boots She gives me a soft smile.
“Hi, I’m here to see Monique?” she says, sticking her hands in her jacket pocket, looking straight at me. I plaster on my fake smile.
“Actually, she had other obligations, so it’ll be you and me. Let’s go in my office,” I say gesturing in the direction I just came from. I don’t wait for her to respond; I just walk inside the room and go around my glass desk. I hear the clicking of her heels behind me. I take a seat, facing her as she sits in one of the black leather chairs, facing me. She settles in her seat, taking off her jacket. “I’m Haven, by the way. One of the newer additions to Monique’s Company.” She nods, giving me a tight smile. I cough to break up the tension. The air is so thick you can cut it with a knife. I turn to my desktop, logging in, to pull up the new client checklist. I fold my hands over and look back to Olivia. “So,” I begin, taking out some of the brochures in my desk drawer to hand to Olivia. “Here are some brochures to get your ideas rolling. I guess we should start with a date. Do you have one in mind?” She takes the brochures, flipping through them. She looks back up at me, blankly.
“Uh, yeah. May 8th.” I nod my head.
“Okay, and how about venues?” She continues to look at me with a blank stare. I begin to fidget around with things on my desk, moving pens, aligning my paper straight, moving the mouse to the center of the pad. Once I’ve had enough of the daunting silence, I clear my throat once again and say, “Olivia?” She shakes her head and scoffs. I look at her curiously. “Did I do something?” I ask hesitantly.
“Can we not play pretend right now,” she responds. I look at her shocked because of her outburst. “Look, this is the last event planner in town that’ll work with me and I really don’t need you to ruin my wedding day because you’re dating Noah. I’d much rather reschedule with Monique and not risk my day for pettiness.” I sat back, smiling as she gets up from her seat, point her finger at me, accusingly.
“Sit down, Olivia,” I say gently. She’s stunned by my reaction and squints her eyes while returning to her seat. I fold my arms across my chest and smile, as I sit back in the chair. “Now first off, I am a professional. This is my career and I have no intention of losing my job because you have a past with my boyfriend. Which brings me to my second point, your past with Noah, is your past with Noah, not mine. I’m sorry you’ve had some bad experiences in town but here at Monique West Events, we are professional and do things gracefully. Now if you don’t want to conduct your business here, by all means, I won’t stop you, but it won’t be because I can’t handle planning your wedding. It will be on you. So, if you want to continue this meeting just tell me a venue you had in mind or I will appoint a day we can venue shop together. All on you Olivia.” I lean forward, going back into the desktop, waiting for Olivia to respond.
“Waterston Acres is what we wanted,” she says quietly, almost as though she was stunned. I nod and put it into the system. Luckily there’s a match for her day and I let her know the news. We continue the meeting, brainstorming ideas, making appointments to see the florist, caterer and bakery. I take note of everything she wants on her special day. Once we’re done, I stand up and close my notepad. She stands up as well.
“Okay, I will get Monique to look at everything and let you know the appointment dates the day before, so you don’t forget. That’s all for today, pleasure meeting you,” I say extending my hand out to her. She lightly touches my hand and then pulls away grabbing her bag from the chair and walking to the front with me. I open the main door and as she walks out, she stops in front of me. Her green eyes piercing mine.
“I still love him you know,” I look at her quizzically, “Noah,” she says, clarifying her statement. I look down, pulling my lips in and then look back to her. She’s an inch taller. She’s so close that every freckle is prominent on her face.
“And yet, here you are planning a wedding with someone that’s not him,” she’s taken aback by my statement and looks down. When she looks back to me, her face is sullen, filled with irritation. Before she responds I say, “It’s not a jab, Olivia. It’s just a fact. If you don’t recognize what you have now, you’re just going to keep losing the men you love. You’re never going to be happy, if you don’t let him go.” With that she huffs and walks onto the street, leaving the store. I close the door behind her and go back into my office, finishing up my to-do list for the day. I send the email update to Monique and close up the store and head home.