Janie looked out of the living room window for the tenth time in less than as many minutes. Julie, Phil, Samantha and the twins were coming over. They were going to take her out for her birthday. Janie hadn’t seen the twins in a couple of months and was sure they were going to be unrecognizable to her. She was anxious and her hands were sweating. “For Pete’s sake. You’d think there was a man coming to see you, not your nieces and sister.” She chided herself and started to laugh.
Following a brief affair with her assistant, Jake, Janie hadn’t had a boyfriend. Jake left her with a bad taste. She knew he played the field, but when he left, along with her heart and dignity, he took half of her clients. The man was a weasel and an asshole. She remembered when she told him she knew what happened. He calmly looked at her and said. “So what? You were hot for me; I gave you what you wanted.” He smiled smugly. “Is it my fault I’m not just irresistible, but an amazing PR man. Look how I convinced you I was just what you wanted.”
Janie had shouted. “You aren’t what I want any more. When you get to the office, you have exactly 15 minutes to pack your desk and get out. I’ll have a guard escort out of the building.”
“I’ll bet you’ll remember me when you’re lying in that lonely king sized bed of yours, at three in the morning, unable to sleep and horny as hell. It’ll be me you’re thinking about when you touch yourself.”
She had slapped him hard enough to leave finger prints on his cheek.
That relationship had ended almost two years ago. She was afraid to date. Other than Jake, she had had no other dates in well over six years; ever since Julie had moved in. It was a long dry spell.
She looked outside and saw the kids first. Jules and Jan were walking. “Oh, I’ve missed so much.” She wiped a tear from her eye. Samantha was more grown up and looking more like a young lady than a little girl. Her hair was the same color as her own and her smile was Julie’s.
A knock on the door, sounded their nearness. “Aunt Janie. We’re here.”
She left the chain on the door and opened it slowly. “I don’t think I know any big girls as pretty as you. Go away now while I wait for my niece.”
Samantha giggled. “Oh Zia Janie.” Sam liked to use her newly learned Italian. “You know it’s us.”
Janie laughed and opened the door. Samantha held her tight and the twins reached up to be hugged. With one in each arm, Janie pulled them close. “How are my nieces?”
“We’re good. Zia Janie. I’m in third grade now.” She dug into her tiny purse and found a crumpled piece of paper. “I brought my report card to show you. I passed everything but my citizenship. The teacher said I’m not a team player because I like to be the boss. Just like my Daddy. And I use Italian all the time. She says. ‘We study English in the lower grades and you need to use only English.’ Daddy told me I can only use Italian at home and with Nonna.”
Janie felt tired out just listening to her. How the hell did Julie do it? Three kids, a husband, a career and she was pregnant again; she had a hard time just balancing her career and her life. But, she sure would love to give it a try. She looked at the girls and almost cried. ‘Oh how much I would love to give it a try.’ She thought.
Phillip took them all out to The Blue Grotto. It was one of the swankiest restaurants in the area. When they were seated, Julie excused herself and the girls to wash their faces and hands for dinner. “You wanted to talk?” Janie knew Phil well by now. “Is there a problem with the campaign?”
“No. Not at all.” He looked at her. “Janie, I’ve got a favor. I’ve got this new guy in the office, and I need him brought up to speed on all that’s going on with the advertising. He’s a smart guy. He knows his stuff, but he’s a little overzealous. He wants to dash right in and tends to forget the minute details. Since PR is your expertise, not mine, I just thought maybe you could help me out.”
“Just what exactly is this kid’s job?”
“I guess he could be called Public Relations, but he’s more like the go find out what’s going on man. Marketing/Human Relations, I don’t know, just an all around do it all like Mike and me. I’d like to bring him into the business fully, but Mike is skeptical. He’s not sure he’s right for the job. I guess I just want you to get a feel for him. Tell me if you think he’s right for the job.”
“I’d like to sit down with you and Mike and all of us talk about it.” She looked him in the eye.
“Is tomorrow all right with you? If not, whatever is best for you? I’ll make room on our agenda whenever you’re ready.”
“I’ll check my schedule when I get home and let you know what’s best.”
“Good. Enough of work. Here comes my beautiful wife.” He stood and kissed Julie as she came to the table. Janie felt jealous of her sister for the first time in her life.
The girls were exemplary in their behavior at the restaurant. Then the cake came out. Samantha started singing as loudly as she could. The twins tried to sing, but couldn’t quite wrap their tongues around the words. Then Jules reached out to the cake. She started to giggle and caught Jan’s attention, who also reached for the cake. When their hands met, Julie tried to move them quickly. The cake went scooting across the table toward the people at the table beside them. Julie tried to catch the girls as they tried to take chase. Samantha tried to catch the cake, and all Janie and Phil could do is sit, watch, and try not to laugh. It was the perfect scene for a slap stick comedy. ‘Or,’ she thought, ‘for Americas’ Funniest Home Videos.’
The lady sitting at the table beside them screamed when the cake landed on her feet on the floor. Phil stood quickly, apologized profusely, flashed his sexiest smile and offered to pay for any dry cleaning or even to just buy her a new outfit and shoes. She smiled and waved him away. “Nonsense. It really wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was an accident.”
“Then let me pay for your dinner?”
The woman grinned at him like a teenage girl. Her husband shook Phil’s hand and thanked him. Within seconds, everything was fine and five minutes later, they were on their way home.
The girls fell asleep within minutes. Janie and Julie were laughing all the way home. Phil was in awe of how well they took what happened. They truly were an amazing couple of women.
As he listened to them chatting and their friendly banter, he wondered if things would have been different had he met Janie first, and then he laughed at himself. The chemistry just wasn’t there, but maybe, just maybe. He began thinking of his new assistant and the meeting he had set up for the next day. He had better discuss this with Julie first, however.
Julie had met Charles Bush and whole heartedly agreed. His personality was strong enough to be able to handle Janie and all her antics.