When I get to his floor, I march up to his door, my shoes making a weird slushing sound as left over water soaks into the carpet. Stumbling up to his door, I bang on it a few times before bending down and taking off my shoes, dropping them by his door. I’ll get them later. Maybe.
I’m about to bang on the door again, it swings open and I end up knocking Ethan’s chest.
“Thea, what are you doing here?”
“I have something to say to you, bud. I lied and I know that’s bad. I know it is, but you lied too. You lied every time I asked about your plans on Fridays. Business dinners? Really? You lied about what happens at the club. So yes, I got Kate to get me in, but only because I was tired of you lying to me! I’m tired of feeling guilty for doing something you’ve been doing all along! And then having the nerve to pretend to have feelings for me. It’s not like you’d every quit going to the club for me. I just….I just….Oh God.” Vomit begins rising in my throat and I cover my mouth, pushing past Ethan to get to his bathroom.
I don’t even make it past the kitchen, but thankfully there’s a trashcan.
Chunking up my life, tears stream down my face and my throat burns as acid rips through it. With my head in the trash, I feel my hair being swept out of my face.
“Get away from me.” I cough out, still half dry heaving.
“No, I’m not going to get away from you, Thea. Your head is in my trash can. You’re obviously drunk because the whole time you were yelling, your breath smelled like vodka.” His calm rational voice just makes me angrier at him.
When I’m finally done, I straighten and step away from Ethan.
“I should go. I’m sorry I even stopped by.” I go to step around him and he grabs my arm.
Stopping, I turn to him, his eyes driving into me like an 18 wheeler. The way he’s looking at me now isn’t the same as the other night. I’ll never get that look out of my head. I’ll never get the way he treated me out of my head or off my skin. It wasn’t Ethan.
“Ethan, I can’t.”
“Thea, please let me explain.”
“Explain what? There’s nothing to explain.”
“Yes, there is and if you just be quiet for a second, I can tell you. Look, I was angry, but I’m not anymore. I shouldn’t have lied to you about it. I should’ve just told you from the start. It was complicated and I didn’t know if you’d accept it, but I never lied about my feelings for you. What I did that night was…unforgivable and I know I hurt you. I did it on purpose because I assumed the only reason you were there was for sex. And I didn’t hear you complaining in that hallway.”
I cringe at his words, stepping further away from him. “Is that how little you think of me?”
“I mean, I didn’t know it then, but you let Kate spread you out for the world to see and you loved it. What was I supposed to think?”
I feel more vomit try to come up, but this time it isn’t from the alcohol. Tears swell in my eyes and I shift my weight from one foot to the other.
“I never planned that. It just happened and here you are letting it define me. And honestly, you’re one to talk. You go there every weekend. Don’t tell me you just stand around and converse while everyone else fucks around.”
Ethan doesn’t reply and I know I’m right.
“Wow. So if I’d never found out, you’d just be sleeping with me every day then fucking your brains out on Friday nights while I sit at home thinking you’re having a business meeting? That’s just rich. Look, just forget it. We aren’t getting anywhere with this. Whatever we were starting to have is over. Go back to your club and fuck whoever you want.”
When I go to leave this time, he lets me. I feel lower than low and it isn’t from the drinking. I just feel like shit now and all I want is to take a shower and go to sleep.
The days following the “talk”, if you can call it that, Ethan and I barely even look at one another if it doesn’t involve work. I don’t blame him and I’m sure he doesn’t blame me. However, I don’t hate him. I just don’t see anything coming from having feelings for him. He clearly doesn’t want to give up the club and I just…well I don’t know.
When Anna picks up on the tension, I crack and tell her everything except for the parts about the club. I simply say, Ethan doesn’t want to commit. She buys it and all is right in the world. In her opinion she says that we should just give it time for Ethan to see the error of his ways, claiming that Ethan has liked me from the first day we met. I find that hard to believe.
However, I wish she were right. I wish there was a possibility of restoring what we had, but I can’t settle for a man who isn’t satisfied with me being able to fully please him. No woman should have to feel like they aren’t good enough.
By Friday, we’ve fallen into some cold plastic routine of meetings and awkward eye contact. To top it all off, I have this date with Travis that I never really wanted to go on in the first place. I could cancel, but for what? I have nothing holding me back or stopping me. I’ve already told Anna about it and she wouldn’t let me back down if I wanted so I might as well go. After work, I fix myself something to eat before even thinking about getting ready. God, why did I agree to this?
After taking my precious time getting dressed and somewhat cute, I gather my things to head to the lobby. As if sensing my hesitation, Anna texts me to make sure I’m actually going. As much as I’d wish to just sit on the couch and eat ice cream, I understand Anna’s pushiness. She doesn’t want me moping around about Ethan. They are close, but she’s still a girl and must relate to pining over a guy.
When I get down to the lobby, I see Travis getting out of his car. A very nice car. When he sees me coming out of the building, his eyes light up a bit.
“Wow. You look amazing.” He smiles as he opens the passenger door.
“Thank you. You don’t look too bad yourself.” I eye him in a shirt that doesn’t have a band on it. Thankfully he’s casual or I’d feel underdressed in my black skinny jeans and flats. I made sure the shirt was nice so I didn’t look too laid back.
As I’m putting on my seat belt, Travis gets in and looks at me.
“So where are you taking me?” I ask.
“It’s a surprise.”
I think I’ve had about enough of surprises, but I’ll bite.
Travis drives about 15 minutes before pulling up to a rather tall building. When I ask what the building is, he simply says that it’s not important. Hm, I’m not so sure about this one, but instead of saying anything, I go along with it. If I get a bad vibe then I’ll kick him in the nuts and flee.
We walk up to the door and there’s a security guy standing there. “Hello, Mr. Marks.”
“Larry.” Travis says, shooting him a smile and what looks like a 100 dollar bill. I take it that these two know each other.
Inside the empty building, Travis takes my hand in his, leading me to the elevator.
“Okay, really, where are we going?” I force a laugh when I’m actually getting quite nervous.
“Trust me, Thea. You’re going to love it.”
Ha! Trust him. A guy I’ve only met once. ONCE! Yeah right. I’d trust a junkie on the corner telling me the world is coming to an end before I trust this man.
Travis gives my hand a firm squeeze as we get on the elevator and the doors close. Silence falls between us, but on Travis’ face, there’s a satisfactory smile. I can only wonder what he has up his sleeve.
Speaking of up, after a few seconds, I realize we are passing every floor in this building. What the heck?
“Um, aren’t we supposed to get off eventually?”
“Well?” I raise an eyebrow and finally the elevator stops and the doors open. When I look, I’m greeted by a woman with a tray and two glasses of wine on it.
“Mr. Marks.” She says with a smile.
“Amy. Is everything ready?”
Okay, who the fuck is this man?
Travis takes the two glasses and passes me one. Taking a sip, the sweet wine greets my taste buds with open arms. Nothing beat expensive wine. Placing my hand in his again, Travis tugs my arm for me to start moving again. The room we’re in is surrounded by glass and you can see the skyline. It’s freaking gorgeous.
“Are we having dinner here?”
“Nope. We’re having it out there.” He points outside and I take notice of a table with candles on it. My heart drops and I feel like Cinderella, but I don’t think Cinderella was a little afraid of heights.
“I’ve never been up this high before. I think I may pass out if I go out there.” I tilt the glass to my lips, letting the wine pour into my mouth.
“You’ll be fine. Come on, beautiful.”
Letting my guard down, I let him lead me to the door and when he opens it a cool breeze hits me, sending my hair flying a bit. I quickly sweep it down and when my vision is clear, I gasp softly.
“Holy cow.” From here everything below seems so small and unimportant.
“I love coming up here.” Travis says as we get to the table that’s set up. He pulls out my chair and I take a seat, still marveling over the view. When Travis sits down, he can’t stop smiling at me.
“Why did you bring me up here? It seems a little big for a first date.” I finally ask.
“Yeah, I know, but I’ve always wanted to bring a girl up here. When I saw you in the lobby, bags flailing, girl falling, I thought you were ridiculously gorgeous.
“Ridiculously clumsy you mean.” I giggle.
“Yeah, that too, but you seemed like you weren’t from around here. You didn’t act snobby or entitled when we spoke and that attracted me to you.”
“I’m neither of those things so thank you for noticing. Not many do. So you’ve never brought a girl up here before?”
“Nope.” He smiles proudly. “Just you. I was due to come up here anyway so I figured why not bring you to share my spot.”
“Well, thank you for sharing it with me.
Travis is about to say something when suddenly food is being brought out. It’s nothing fancy just steak and veggies which I’m totally fine with. As we eat, we make small take in between bites and Travis manages to make me laugh. He tells me that the reason he has access to this building because his father owns it. When I asked about him joining the family business, he said he didn’t like it and wanted to follow his dreams of being an artist. Painting to be exact.
When he asks questions about myself, I give him the watered down Lifetime version about how I come from a small city and had a rough start when I first arrived in New York. He doesn’t need to know everything about me considering we just met. However, the man knows how to take a woman on a date. Halfway through the meal, I realize that this is the best date I’ve ever been on. Hell, I haven’t been on a date since I first met Greg and that was to a baseball game.
By the time the date wraps up, I’m seriously in like with Travis. I’m glad I didn’t cancel. After a small dessert, we bring it to an end with a small yet rewarding kiss before heading down.
Back at the car with a smile on my face, Travis opens the door for me. As I’m climbing in a cool brisk wind hits me, causing me to shake.
“Oh, if you’re cold I have a cardigan in the back.” He says before closing the door.
I reach in the back seat, letting my hand feel around until I find it. Pulling it to the front, something falls into my lap with it. As Travis is climbing into the driver’s seat, I lift the cardigan and see what in my lap. My eyes nearly pop out when I see that it’s a mask. Not any mask. THAT mask.