I am Starting to Hate Surprises
It is hard to concentrate on work with the “mini-break bag” staring at me.
“Why can’t you just give in to this and enjoy it for what it is or is not?” Sylvia breaks my trance.
“Because I am still heartbroken over the fact that Tommy didn’t love me enough to chase after me. It’s not fair to any man to even bother right now, my heart isn’t available for the taking.”
“Tommy may not have chased after you but Jake is chasing hard. All he is asking is for a chance. It’s his heart that will get broken or fulfilled, he is a grown man. And he is a very persistent man.”
“They always give their best in the beginning. What is that saying? If it’s too good to be true? I am finally good on my own. I love my job and my life. A man will just take time away from me and pour it into a tall drink to refresh himself.”
“My mum used to say if we were meant to be alone in this world a God wouldn’t have made billions of us. Plus he seems to want to be adding to your life, not taking away from it.”
“Okay, I thought you weren’t a fan of mushy love shit? And will your mum fly to New York City to heal my heart when he breaks it?”
“That’s what Sister Sylvia and Tequila is for!”
“And own your shit sister, don’t get it mixed up, you left Tommy not because he stopped loving and spoiling you, you left because it all moved too fast and you realized you weren’t ready for the life he was moving you towards." I hate when I have to own my shit.
"Men are simple creatures, it’s finding the one that is meant for you that is hard. But how do you even know if you don’t try? I may not be a fan of relationships but I don’t run from all these amazing suiters either.”
“So there is a romantic side to you.” Trying to turn this conversation to Sylvia's heart and off mine.
“We Brits don’t focus on forever after like you silly Americans brainwashed by Disney Princesses are. Our history is built on marriages for the sake of the Kingdom, not the individual. We are cynical that way.”
Our conversation is interrupted by a delivery man carrying in another box with a very big bow.
“This is mad!” Sylvia squealed in excitement.
The note read:
Please wear me and meet me at 175 Greenwich Street, hand this note to the doorman.
I immediately email Jake, “I already agreed to the weekend, this is overboard and now creepy!”
“Sorry to sound confused but I am not sure what you are referring to,” Jake replies.
“I am referring to the big white box with a large baby blue bow on it sitting in front of me with a note to wear it and meet you at the address on the note.”
“Well my first instinct would be to be impressed, however since I did not send it, I find myself rather jealous and concerned that I am not the only man that has been courting you?”
There is a calm, yet very sharp edge to his tone. Oh dear, he must think all the times I am not with him, that I am seeing someone else.
“Since you are the ONLY man in my life,” I reassure Jake, “this has to be from you?”
I call him at this point because this is not something to discuss over a computer screen. I need to assure him that I am not playing him, or with anyone else.
“Jake,” I say as he answers.
“Are you messing with me? This has to be from you.”
“It sadly is not.”
“Then it must be a mistake. Maybe it was delivered to me by accident.”
“You are the only Valentina in the office, possibly in New York City, and it’s not a name that is easily mistaken. That’s why it was so easy for me to find you.”
“Then I have no idea who this could be from.”
“Did you say the first night we met that you wished Tommy had been more romantic? You said that you want a man that wants you so badly he will pull every ‘sweep me off my feet’ move to win me. How do you think I know so well how to reach your soft spots?”
“Yes, and you listened, Tommy never did.”
“Please remember that when you see him tonight.”
“Jake, this can’t be happening.”
Only to run up against radio silence. He has every right to be upset, but this isn’t my fault. And could he be right? Could Tommy have done this? This has got to be a bad joke.
“Jake, you don’t have to respond to me, you can hang up if this is not a conversation you want to be having right now. Just don’t let your mind get ahead of itself. I will not do anything to hurt you.”
“Have a good night Valentina,” Then he hangs up the phone.
“Sylvia! Please tell me this is a bad joke you and Angel thought up.”
“Nope. Looks more like your dreams come true.”
“If this is what I think it is, a dream come true it is not.”
“Channel your inner Scarlett O’Hare and Bridget Jones. Every woman deserves two men at one time. At least!”
I stare at my screen knowing I should send Jake an email reassuring him of my growing feelings towards him. But that’s not what he needs to hear. He wants to hear that I am not going tonight. He needs to hear that nothing is going to happen tonight and if this is from Tommy and he has come fighting for me, that I cannot promise.
“We need to be on our way to our meeting with the tech team to go over our next move with our App,” Sylvia once again snaps me back to reality.
My email to Jake will have to wait. It’s not something I can draft in a rush. He deserves better. How will I be able to concentrate? Thank the Gods for Sylvia, she has the memory of an elephant and is obsessed with meeting re-cap emails.
We walk into the conference room to see one of the guys’ fingers moving frantically along the keyboard. The guys around him are talking over each other. We have just sent the App out to our beta testers and are getting a lot of feedback. I remember when it came to organization, it was always the women in the class, like Jodi and me, to keep our project teams organized and focus. I should have been the first in the conference room, looking at all this feedback and organizing a new punch list. Instead its utter chaos and ego boxing.
“See, distraction fallout!”
I whisper a strong statement to Sylvia. Instead of receiving surprises in my office, I should have been more on top of this. Giving myself a pep talk, ”take a deep breath and focus. You are batting a strike, two more strikes and you are out.”
“Everyone take a breather and sit a minute.” Whenever things get crazy I always remind myself, “back to the basics.”
I kindly excuse Stan from his seat in front of the computer. And I turn on robot Val. No time for emotional matters and dwelling daydreams. As my fingers move along the keyboard and I verbalize every move that I am making, Sylvia is drafting a punch list. The team gathers around me and we walk through the feedbacks, one by one. Finding minute errors in the coding and correcting them as we go. Hours move along easily. This is my meditation.
“You have to go,” Sylvia interrupts my keystrokes.
“I am almost done here.”
“It’s 6 o’clock and you need to change still and get downtown. It’s rush hour. I can finish here.”
“Sorry boys, I will be right back,” Sylvia drags me from my seat and escorts me to my office.
She shuts my blinds and my door so I can change.
“Holy Shit, it’s a Dior! What did you say your ex does for a living?” Popping in to zip me and walk me to the elevator.
“We don’t know this is from Tommy.”
“Who else can it be from. You said Jake didn’t react well and we know Nate can’t afford Dior.”
“Sylvia, this conversation isn’t helping.” She zips me and exits the room so I could touch up make-up.
Unsure for whom am I making myself up for.
“Your car is downstairs. The driver has the address. Here is your little black bag with your keys, money, and THE notecard. I will deliver the rest of your things to your apartment on my way home. Have fun!! Or at least try to; if not for you, for me. And if it doesn’t work out, can I have the dress?”
All I heard was blah blah blah as my brain is trying to shift from coding to the idea of seeing Tommy.
As the car moves down the West Side highway it starts to hit me that I am heading to see the once love of my life that let me leave. Worse, I didn’t email Jake. “Shit!”
“Excuse me, sir, you wouldn’t have a phone on you, would you? I need to call my office.”
The driver handed me his phone, thank the Gods I remember the office number. Since cell phones entered my life I have been rather bad about remembering phone numbers. Not such a bad thing as you can’t drunk dial a number you don’t remember. Sylvia wouldn’t let me bring my mobile or laptop because she did not want me to be able to distract myself from the evening.
“Sylvia, please email Jake that I am sorry and I will call him as soon as I can. Ask him to not give up on me.”
Sylvia is great at checking her voicemail every hour, it’s a bit obsessive but tonight I am grateful.
Now I only have to deal with Tommy, because as much as I hate to admit it, it can only be Tommy. My body starts to shake as we draw closer to the address. A part of me has been grateful that Tommy gave up after many failed attempts at calling and emailing. It is easier for me to avoid my personal problems versus confronting them. I am good at “out of sight out of mind.”
The doorman greets me by my name as I enter the building and hands me a set of keys to the penthouse. What is it with the men in my life sporting penthouses and I barely live in a shoebox where my view is the wall of the neighboring building?
As I open the door to a spacious furnished loft, I see framed photos of Tommy and my life spread throughout the living area. Along with many vases of peonies on various surface areas of the apartment. Feeling a bit dizzy I move towards the couch. Then I see him and freeze. My Gods, I forgot how breathtaking he can be. Before I could open my mouth to greets him, he speaks first.
“You used to say the most romantic passage to you was from Erica Jong...the yearning for dry champagne and wet kisses, for the smell of peonies in a penthouse on a June night, for the light at the end of the pier in Gatsby, in that quote alone you told me all that makes you happy and I never listened.”
Tommy stands in the doorway to the balcony holding two glasses of champagne. As he walks towards me I find myself unable to move. I can say I have dreamt of this day, but that would be a lie. In some silly way, I just left all things “Tommy” in San Francisco. The last thing I expect to find is Tommy playing house in Manhattan.
“You won’t believe how many times I said that passage aloud so that it would come out impressive and correct, you have always been the literary one, not me. To you!”
He hands me a flute and clinks his to mine. Habitually I down the first flute. The feel of the chill and bubbles down my throat is always exactly what I need.
“Is this okay? Say something?” Tommy refills my glass and spins around the room; showing me the span of it with his arms.
“Why are you here?”
“I miss you too?”
“What am I supposed to say, Tommy? You can’t just pop into my life like this!”
“Val, please, let’s sit down to dinner. That is all I am asking for.”
As he points towards the balcony, what is it with my men and meals outdoors? This has to be a scene from a movie, I look around for cameras, waiting for all to be revealed that I am on Candid Camera. Reaching for my hands, leading a very robotic me to my seat.
“You look more beautiful than in my imagination when I played all this out in my head.”
“How long have you been planning this?”
“Since a week after you left. I started planning what should have been a romantic chase after the woman I love moment, but it took forever to plan. Firstly because it takes forever to find a place in New York City. Secondly, my father had some health complications…”
“Oh, God Tommy!” I reach for his hands to console him.
“It’s ok, he is doing much better. In a way, it was the scare he needed. That I needed. Now he is taking better care of himself, and once he got better, he demanded that I stop wasting time and come to you. Nothing like a near-death experience to put life in perspective.”
“Tommy, please don’t take this wrong but what are you hoping for here?”
“I am hoping we can take a second chance at things. I don’t expect us to just pick up the pieces as if nothing has happened. I just want us to try dating again. See if we still have it.”
I know at this moment I should tell him about Jake but it didn’t feel right. I know there is a bit of me that is rather excited that he has not dated anyone outside of me, the ego is a reality in us all. The rest I don’t want to know. I am far less vulnerable and jealous than Tommy so it would crush him to know anything of the last three months.
“Val, I am not a stupid man. You are a smart, sensual, and beautiful woman. That is why I am here, there is no one else like you and I know this. I just hope it isn’t too late.” As if he read my mind, “I cannot imagine a universe where men have not fallen hand over foot over you. We also both know my fragile ego doesn’t want to or need to know. I just need to be allowed into the race for your love.”
I have always sucked at juggling. My eye-hand coordination sucks. Yet here I am, about to enter into the art of tossing balls into the air, no pun intended, in attempts to catch them in a sustainable rhythm.
My new Sylvia mantra, “let it go, all of it! Be free and in this moment.”
I smile at Tommy and allow us to catch up. Laughing together over all the silly gossip of life back in San Fran. Tommy and I bond over the knowledge that neither of us belongs in our lives as is. He conforms, I refuse to assimilate. So here we are, in Manhattan trying to go where we should have gone before.
Even though Tommy said he didn’t expect us to just pick up where we left off, we did easily. Although monogamy is not my first choice, honesty and kindness have always guided me to make good choices. As much as I wanted to get Tommy naked and make love to him the way we used to it would not be okay. I need to talk to Jake.
“Thank you, Val,” Tommy kisses my cheeks as the elevator door opens.
He is respecting my boundaries. My body whimpers as his lips leave my cheeks. The fire he ignites in me spreads fast from where his lips were throughout my every being. Dear Gods, get me out of here fast before I insensibly fall into Tommy’s arms,
As the taxi pulls up near my apartment, I can see a figure sitting on the steps. My body immediately responds to his physique.
“Well I can give the guy credit; you look stunning.”
“Did you get my message?”
“Yes, I wanted to wait patiently in my apartment for you but I was going bonkers so I headed to Annie’s. Which only made it worse since that’s where we first...”
Before he could finish I step into his arms and kiss him. Exploring his mouth feverishly as if I am a crazed animal that had not eaten in weeks.
“You taste great but look like shit!”
“Sorry, when I am desperately jealous my Irish side takes over. Bye-bye suave French guy, hello drunk and disorderly.”
We both laugh and return to our embrace. As much as I love the feel of this Dior against my body, I want the feel of Jake against my skin more. On cue Jake lifts me into his arms, I fumble with the locks, unable to take my lips from his. I feel bad that he has to carry me up the stairs but his kisses have me so intoxicated that I couldn’t walk if he set me down. Or is it the scotch. Either way, I am drunk of him.
Jake walks me into the bedroom and lies me on my bed. As he pulls away to undress me, my body moans at his absence. Shirtless he kneels at my feet, easing me out of my heals. Massaging my feet as he kisses up the inner sides of my legs. My girl dripping wet from the intensity in which each kiss is delivered. My nipples erect from the precise target of each touch. Jake knows me so well. Every hot spot. Every erogenous point. My body speaks to his, “there baby, yes, there too, and oh yes, please don’t forget that hot spot.”
He knows I am wet for him. He can smell the sweetness beckoning for his thirst for me to be quenched. Begging for his tongue to explore the potency in which he can make me come for him. The ways to fill his mouth with all of me that I can offer. Gods this man is insatiable.
I lie there obediently. Normally I would want to control him; take him onto his back, his firmness into my mouth. His abilities deep into my throat. Not tonight. Tonight he needs to be in control. Tonight I give to him my full submission. No need for handcuffs for my body knows how to obey his command.
I lie spread apart and vulnerable, offering to him my apologies. Giving to him my innocence. Never to be proven guilty. I saved all the fire that Tommy stoked in me to offer as my sacrifice to Jake.
His mouth conquers my hips, he moves, they move. His tongue delves, they bear down. His fingers explore, they reach for more fingers to follow.
His hips pin down my thighs that ache to wrap around him and take him deep into my promise land. The tightness of my caves shows their untouched trails. His pleasure in his exploration comes through in his deep laugh into my nape. I allow him to be pleased by his newfound knowledge, for his ego to be stroked as his cock strokes against my hips. Allowing him to tease me, awakening my want, urging me to need. His ego grew with every stroke, I can hear pleading from my lips. Only to be met by more unshakeable laughter.
He takes the time to savor the tightness of me. Knowing it’s been saved for him to soften, for him to create the berth he needs for him to take me firm and extensive. Once inside, all the fears he held onto on my steps let go. His wants, fears, desires, anxieties, and pain. Out of his hips onto mine. Harder and deeper. Reaching in hopes to find the answers to his questions. Searching faster for an explanation. He continues to search so deep, so fast until we both lose all sense of what he is looking for. All sense of the world around us. Until we both cry out in ecstasy. Releasing all of what was out of our control today.
Our bodies shaking, our breathing heavy and bodies moist. The feel when we are two that has crept into share one skin. I know this feeling all too well. The feel of falling in love. The ability to give completely to another.
“Shit!” I curse myself out. It seems to be the word of the day for me. I can feel it now, how the words are sitting in his throat, piercing through his eyes, vibrating along his body. The words any sane woman would die to hear from this formidable man. The words I prevent him from saying by kissing him, rolling him onto his back and easing myself off. Telling him with my eyes, I agree but now is not the time. I crawl into bed. Allowing him to crawl in beside me. This action alone, as we fade away together into the ether, says it all.
When I awake, Jake is gone.
I don’t want to complicate your mind. Our mini-break is postponed until you are ready AND available. Please don’t make me wait too long. My mouth is imprinted with the taste of you, love...I will need to feed soon.