You and Me
After sending the text to Bill, Angie straightened her spine and got back to work. She knew she was hurting him, but her career is important to her. If he were faced with this dilemma, I certainly wouldn’t hold it against him. But they were different from other people. This attraction they felt is wonderful; she couldn’t deny that, but that’s all it was, she told herself staunchly. It certainly wasn’t love, she thought.
It’s getting late, almost seven when she made the call. “Bill, are you there?”
“Yes, I’m here,” he replied stiffly.
“I can explain why I can’t make dinner tomorrow.”
“Go ahead,” he said.
“I won’t be free tomorrow or for the next few months. My boss has taken me off pro-bono and I’ll be assigned to more important cases, at least in this stage of my career.”
“More important? What about Bobby?”
“I’ll turn over my pro-bono cases to younger associates who can handle the load. I’m sorry about the double date.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry too.”
“We can still meet for lunch or?” She started.
“That’s not a good idea. Take care of yourself.”
“Bill wait, don’t,” she started, but the line went dead. “I’m sorry, Bill.” Tears blinded then her assistant walked in carrying three rather thick folders probably her ‘more important’ assignments.
“Mr. Jones left these for you. After you’ve read through them, he wanted to set up a meeting to discuss strategy,” her assistant said and set them on her desk.
She opened the first one. The title of the first case got her attention. It’s a case against a famous mob boss and possible informants. The second one was a case against a prominent politician, and the third one was against a psychic who predicted the stock market, but it didn’t pan out; a lot of people lost money. She couldn’t wait to get started.
After a long afternoon of reading, partner meetings, research, videos, surveillance and backstory about her cases, she arrived home, still carrying the files and walked inside, not expecting to see her sister. Nearly ten at night, she walked into her bedroom, slipped off her shoes and checked her messages. Nothing from Bill, then her eyes watered. Was it truly over, she wondered.
After taking a shower, she set the folders on a desk in her room, and began reading again. She needed to talk to her sister, but Dede seemed to be avoiding her. She didn’t blame her. Bill was right; she would talk to her when she’s ready and she certainly wasn’t going to bring it up.
Now, almost midnight, she climbed into bed and tried to sleep, now dreading her dreams of Bill, but deep inside she still had a small hope that they could meet at least halfway and maybe try again.
In the depths of a dream:
Standing very still, she watched as Bill slowly walked away. She thought it was him, but she hadn’t seen his face. She realized it wasn’t the same place; not the beach or a hotel, but where were they? She felt rooted to the spot as she watched him walk away. But then a crowd closed around him and she couldn’t see him anymore; he disappeared right before her eyes. The crowd parted, but he’s gone.
Back to the present:
Angie bolted awake, terrified by the dream. He’s not gone, he’s probably at home sleeping. She glanced at the clock, nearly three in the morning. Suddenly worried about her sister, she jumped out the bed and slowly opened the door, and Dede was asleep. She shut the door and returned to bed. Now wide awake and worried about Bill, she turned on the late-night news, but nothing about high profile robberies, death, murder or other mayhem that occurred mostly in the early morning hours before dawn. She desperately wanted to call him, but thought better of it. He’s a superior officer, a detective, he certainly didn’t need me worrying about him, but she did worry.
Not far away, Bill lay in bed, hands behind his head. He hadn’t been home long, but he couldn’t sleep, not now, not after scaring her away. She’s a lawyer; he should have known better. They were always busy, always making money, but he thought Angie was different, but it appeared that he had been wrong.
Turning over, he punched his pillow, hating her, but needing her all at the same time. He still wanted her probably even more so, plus the fact that he didn’t want to stop dreaming about her. No, not the dreams; he wanted those, needed them. They’d become a part of him, and he wasn’t ready to let them go. Turning again, he tried to get comfortable, then just a few hours before the alarm went off, a dream came to him.
In a rather disturbing dream:
I can see myself. I’m walking, but I can’t see her, not like before. She’s just out of my reach, but she doesn’t see me. I desperately want her to see me, but it’s as if I’m invisible. Still walking, but then suddenly I’m surrounded by people I don’t know. For a second, I thought I was dead. No!
Back to the present:
Silently screaming, he woke up, dripping with sweat, heart pounding, but he’s alive. Why is this happening? Why is she pulling away from me? Why? Was that what the dream was trying to tell me? That she doesn’t want me anymore; that it’s over? He had no answer to those questions.
The next morning, in the kitchen in their apartment, fixing toast and boiled an egg, Dede walked into the kitchen.
“Good morning. What time did you get in?” Angie greeted her warmly.
“Morning; it was pretty late, after eleven,” she replied.
“I see.” Dede glared at her sister. “I’m not going to make a statement about your late hours, but I do worry about you being out so late. Does Ben at least escort you to a taxi?”
“Yes, he does,” she replied. Opening the fridge, she pulled out some juice. “Want some?”
“Sure, thanks,” she replied. After accepting the juice, they both walked over to the kitchen table and took a seat. Dede poured them both a cup of coffee.
After a few minutes of eating breakfast, Angie wanted to talk and Dede picked up on it.
“Go ahead, but please not another lecture.”
“No, it’s not a lecture. Have you spoken to Andy since last week?”
She frowned. “No, I haven’t. He usually calls every week.”
“Yes, he does, but I don’t know, I think I’ll call him now.”
“It’s early, not even eight, he’s probably asleep.”
“He won’t mind.”
“Are you sure? Just let him sleep.”
“Alright, I’ll send him a text instead and ask him to call.”
“Okay, but don’t expect an answer right away.”
“I won’t,” Angie replied and sent the text. “So, how are things at work?”
She didn’t respond. “I could ask you the same thing. You got in late yourself. Has something changed or were you with Bill?” She asked with a smile.
“No, I wasn’t with Bill. He and I are taking things… slower now because of my schedule,” she finished lamely.
“My boss has given me more responsibilities and it’s taking up a lot more of my time. I told Bill that we won’t be seeing each other, at least not like before.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I know you care for him. I could see it.”
“Well, if it’s meant to be, then it will happen.”
“That’s a rather cavalier attitude; I must say.”
She put down her cup. “What do you mean?”
“Come on, Angie, I’ve seen this before. Maybe he’s the one or maybe he isn’t, but this one is different and you know it. You can’t let him get away. Just admit it, and stop all this nonsense about being too busy to see him. If you want him, go for it.”
Her back went up. “You have an idea what you’re talking about.”
“Oh, I know exactly what I’m talking about. I know because… because I found someone.”
She stared at her sister, maybe this was it. “Who?”
“You’ve already met her. Her name is… Peggy, and we work together.”
“Oh, sweetie, you really like her?”
“Yeah, I do. She’s really nice and we’ve known each other forever, but I think she likes boys and girls.”
“Oh, I see, well, is that going to be a problem for you?”
“No, not really, but we haven’t come out yet and I don’t want to mess things up.”
“I see what you mean. I feel the same way about Bill. I held him at arms-length, not wanting to move too fast, to take things slow, but it didn’t work. I may have lost him.” Her eyes watered.
She took her hand. “There must be a way to fix things between our ‘friends’?” She asked with a smile.
“Yeah, let’s do that.”
They both smiled.
That afternoon, after speaking with her sister, Dede felt as if a weight had been lifted. Talking about their mutual ‘friends’ definitely brought them closer. She walked inside and immediately locked eyes with Peggy.
Peggy turned her head, unable or unwilling to admit that she liked Dede. Dede saw it and decided to push ahead, but only if she wanted to come out.
“Hey, is it busy yet?” Dede asked coming forward. It didn’t look too busy. The lunch crowd had thinned considerably.
“No, there’s still that lull in between.” She watched her for a second. “Ben hasn’t arrived yet. Can we talk?”
“Sure, where can we talk?” Dede asked and wondered if this was it.
“Follow me,” Peggy instructed and walked toward the kitchen. They moved through that area and arrived at the back entrance. They both stepped outside in the alley.
“What’s up?” Dede asked and held her breath.
“I know how you feel about me,” Peggy stated bluntly.
“Oh, I guess I haven’t been shy about that.”
She chuckled. “No, you haven’t. I admit that we are attracted to each other, but I’ve never been with a girl. I’ve been with a man, and,” she hesitated.
“Oh, you have?”
“Yeah, I have, but it wasn’t exactly what I expected.”
“How do you mean?”
“I won’t go into detail, but I won’t be doing that again.”
She smiled, then sobered and bowed her head. “Sorry.”
“No, it’s alright. So, you see, if I were to be with a girl, you would be my first choice.” That got her attention.
Dede’s head came up at that. “I’m willing to wait when you’re ready.”
“Thanks, Dede, you’re the best.” She gave her a smile. “Let’s get to work?”
“I’m ready if you are,” she replied. That answer had a double meaning; they both got it.