Elegant Deception

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After spending a weekend with Dean, I’m starting to feel conflicted. For once, I’m aware of how my feelings were gradually changing because of him. For all he knows, I still think of him as a friend. That was no longer the case after the first night. And I made certain of it the next night, and one last time the following morning too - to be sure I wasn’t imagining it.

No girl in their right mind would let go of a man who's as good as him in bed. And I’m not foolish enough to let my emotions carry all of my decision-making. Except it did this time around. However, it’s more of my primal and innate emotion - the sexual kind, who made the decision for me. If April knew about this side of me, I won’t hear the end of it.

A couple of hours after Dean finally left me I was surprised to get a call from my sister. It was like she had a hidden camera in my life. However, after conversing with her for a minute, it wasn’t luck that led her to call. She just heard the news about Dean and me after spending the day with Zoey. I’m surprised it took Zoey this long to tell my sister. Maybe, she’s more trustworthy than I think, no matter who it is. I’ve gained a bit more respect towards her.

After Zoey and Julian got together, my sister and her had unusual days to fit their girls nights in their packed schedule. Before, it was always on Saturdays. But now, there were times when I get the call on Fridays and Sundays.

“So Zoey finally spilled the beans to you?” I asked after April blurred out her list of questions.

“It took awhile to get it out of her. But yes, finally, she had given me the tea about you,” she replied. “Why haven’t you told me anything and spared me the time on getting you a date for Zoey’s engagement party this coming weekend.”

Now I’m the one receiving the surprises. “What? I haven’t heard about Zoey and Julian’s engagement party is this coming weekend.”

“That’s because it’s an exclusive one. And she hadn’t given the invitation yet since we’re finalizing the list now.”

I overheard Zoey speaking in the background. “I’m sorry, Amy. I was going to tell you about it tomorrow since I’m sending it via email.”

I sighed. “And you just assumed that I’m supposed to bring him as my date?”

“Well, yeah. You’re dating this guy, right? Zoey told me he’s taken you on a dating streak from lunch to dinner nearly everyday since he started working with you.”

“They aren’t dates, April, okay? It’s just a friendly lunch out with a friend…” I trailed off, feeling stupid defending myself since April won’t see it that way.

She snorted in dismissal. “Yeah. You keep telling yourself that, sister. This guy is definitely trying to wine and dine you to your bed.”

I was baffled. Because he totally just did. And I hate to admit it.

“Amy? Are you still there? Hello?” April asked when I was radio silence for a good whole minute.

“Yes. Yes, I’m here.” I cleared my throat and tried composed my raging heart beat at the lie that I had to hide for the next couple of days.

Now, it was April who was quiet. “April?”

“No.” She paused and took a sharp intake of breath. “No. You didn’t, did you?”

“What do you mean?” I tried to play it cool. However, she read me like an open book. It was easy for her. April knows me better than myself.

“Oh! Don’t down play it, sister. Do you think I won’t connect the dots that easily?”

I groaned.

“Oh my god! I can’t believe it! Finally!” I pulled the phone away as she started squealing.

I know this will take awhile so I headed to the kitchen to grab something to snack on. I kept the phone close and waited until I heard muffled voices. And once April finished celebrating the end of my celibacy, I put the phone back by my ear.

“Amy, tell us the details. I’ve put you on speaker so Zoey can hear as well. We’re alone at my place, so rest assured Julian won’t know anything.”

I snorted and shook my head. I peered at my wall clock and saw it was still early in the evening. “How about you moved the party here at my place? I have snacks and a movie already on.”

April considered it for a moment. In the distant, I heard rustling and light chatter. I didn’t need to know her verbal reply that she was indeed coming over. But I waited anyway.

“Zoey and I will be there in five minutes. We’re taking an Uber.”

As promised, someone rang on my apartment fifteen minutes later. I confirmed it was them before buzzing them in. Since it was a short tip from the main door to my apartment, I waited for my new guest by the wide open door.

I saw April and Zoey approached and headed back to the couch and continued watching my movie.

“Ams! We brought wine!” April announced as they closed the door behind them.

I smiled and got up again. “I’ll get my fancy glasses.”

It was then I saw Zoey. She was carrying a couple of envelope with her. “Are those…” I didn’t finish my sentence as she cut me off, nodding.

“It is. And I’m only halfway done with the planning.” She said.

“I’m so sorry. I thought April wasn’t serious that you’re planning for your engagement party this weekend. If I knew, I should have been the one who came over to April’s place.”

“No, it’s fine. We both needed a change of scenery. We’ve been cooped up in her place since lunch.” Zoey sighed dejectedly.

“I want to offer you my services, but I’m not sure if I’ll be of any help when you already have my sister with you.” I said.

“Thank you for the offer, Amy. But April and I got this handled.”

“Don’t worry about us, Ams.” April said. “What you need to worry about is how you’re going to explain about your secret relationship with the bodyguard?” She wiggled her eyebrows suggestively.

I laughed dryly. “Right. Of course. It’s why you’ve moved the party here.”

“So? How did it all come about?” April pressed.

I grabbed the fancy glass and gestured towards my living room. “Let’s all sit down, open that bottle of wine, and then I’ll tell you the story.”

Both of them listened intently until I reached the part about our weekend sexcapade, which was very recent. I’m surprised my sister hadn’t interrupted every minute of it after I told them an event about my feelings changing as the days goes by. Once I was done, it was dead silent for a good fifteen minutes.

“So, okay… wait.” April held up her hand while she collected her thoughts. “He actually wine and dine you to bed?”

I sighed and nodded. “Yes. He did, which I hate to admit.”

“Oh my god! I can’t believe that simple tactic worked on you. I’ve always thought you won’t crumble unless a man started begging on his knees before you sleep with them. That’s how tough of a nut you are, Ams.”

I scoffed. “I’m not that difficult. I had sex before Dean.”

“And that was what? A year or two ago? Plus, you were drunk and horny enough to consider the guy.”

I blushed at that mistake. And that was the only huge bump from my immaculate record. The guy wasn’t even that great either, so I hardly counted and considered him part of my short list of sexcapades.

“I’m not a prude, April. I have… men before,” I stuttered to defend my depleted ego.

She scoffed and rolled her eyes. “Yeah, you are. So this is a surprise. No. This is the most out of character you did since you gotten drunk on your 30th birthday, which wasn’t that long ago.” She considered it a minute. “Actually, this is the most fun you got this month compared to the five years since you have broken up with that ex of yours.”

Now that she mentioned him, I knew I had to tell them about last friday before word got around. Since Steve would start working tomorrow, and knowing his close relationship with Flynn, he must’ve heard about it by now.

“Talking about Flynn, we actually saw each other last friday and talked.”

April was stunned. “Hold up! You what?”

Zoey looked as surprised as her. “How did that happen? You’ve been avoiding him since you got back.”

“Remember that I was out for the afternoon with the real estate agent to check a few offices within a couple of blocks from our office?” Zoey nodded and I continued, “one of the buildings was where the company he worked for is currently leasing, and we bumped into him. Also, to make it more complicated, the real estate agent was also his girlfriend - wait, no - fiance. They’ve just gotten engaged.”

“Oh my god, Amy! How are you?” April asked.

“I’m fine. Flynn and I actually have a rather insightful conversation… and for once, it didn’t end up bitter. And I thought, it was all we needed with each other. A proper conversation and closure.” I grabbed the wine and opened it. Thankfully, it wasn’t a corked lid. “Anyone want wine now?” I asked.

Zoey and April moved their glass closer to mine while I poured myself a drink.

“And what happened after? Wait… are you going to meet with Flynn again?”

I snorted. “No. Of course not. However, I’m not avoiding him like the plague anymore. I won’t be looking over my shoulder, afraid of bumping into him. It’s like a weight had been lifted.”

Once I filled out glasses, April grabbed and held it up. “Well, I say cheers to you, sister. For finally riding yourself with such burden.”

“Thank you.” I held up and glass as Zoey did. “Cheers indeed.”

“Cheers!” Zoey chorused.

We covered a lot of ground of gossip and left the reminder of the night helping Zoey decided certain parts for her engagement party. Yet not once did I ask nor heard that it was held at a different state. So it came as a shock Monday morning when I finally received the email invite.

By then, Albert and Greg were already informed about the engagement party. Yet it would seem bringing up that conversation with Dean wasn’t an option, since this was an exclusive party. However, those two, especially Greg, felt no shame bringing it up.

“So, Amy, who are you taking to this weekend extravaganza?” Greg wiggled his eyebrows suggestively while glanced towards Dean.

To my luck, Dean was sitting by the security booth across the reception and haven’t heard Greg.

I lightly slapped his arm in annoyance.

“I’m not bringing anyone to anywhere. Now, shush! I’m working,” I lied half-heartedly. For one, it was rare that I had little work to do. It would seem Sean had done some extra leg work yesterday.

Usually, most of the weekend paperwork are filed on Monday. But it would seem Sean thought to act saintly on the week I needed the work to distract myself. Though I’m grateful still.

Greg sighed in defeat and leaned back in his chair. I continued twiddling my thumbs on the computer. However, another distraction exited the elevator. I nearly forgot it was Steve’s first day.

“Good morning… you don’t seem to be in your merry monday mood today.” He greeted as he approached the receptionist desk.

I groaned and rolled my eyes at him. “Don’t. Not today, Steve. And good morning to you too.”

“What is it? Did somebody toot your horn over the weekend? Or was it because of what happened last Friday afternoon?”

I looked back up at him again. “Of course, he told you. I’m not that surprised, really.”

“Shouldn’t you be a bit more… you know… contented or at least in a better mood after your conversation with… um… our common friend.” Steve said.

I sighed. “He’s not my friend, Steve. And we made sure we weren’t in any way in each other’s lives anymore after last Friday.”

“Ah, yes. He did say that too.” He nodded. “So if it’s not about him, why are you so…?”

He didn’t finish his sentence when Greg moved and leaned closer to Steve. “It’s about the guy across the hall, new guy.”

Steve arched his eyebrow at Greg, but he turned to check Dean, who was otherwise still preoccupied by the laptop, a new addition to the monitor screen on the booth.

“I see. So last time I was here, you actually made some progress.” He whispered in thought, but we were within earshot and overheard what he said.

“Yes. She’s been in this cranky mood after I asked about the weekend engagement party.” Greg added.

I nudged Greg away. “Shut it, Greg.”

“What weekend engagement party?” Steve looked at me.

I groaned and gestured him to head inside. “Go to work, Steve. It’s your first day. You don’t want to be late.”

“But what weekend engagement party?” He pressed when I deflected his question.

“It’s nothing. And you’re not invited, so it’s really not your business.” I dryly replied.

“Ouch! You don’t have to be so rude, Ams. I’m only asking an innocent question.”

“Yeah, one that has agenda.” I quipped.

He smirked and shook his head. “Fine. I’ll head to work now. Have a lovely morning.”

Once Steve was gone, Greg moved his chair closer. “Amy, I know you’re mad about me dipping my nose into your business. And you know I’m just teasing, but that was really…”

I sighed and held up my hand. “I know how I sounded, Greg. Steve didn’t deserve any of that. So you have to take half of the blame,” I said.

He nodded. “Fine. I did blow your fuse and ruined your morning.”

“Then I expect you’re buying me lunch today.” I tried to hide my victorious grin.

“Oh! Was this all a ploy? Were you trying to get a free lunch out of me? Don’t you already have enough of that with Mr. Garcia over there?”

My smile dropped and I glared at him.

“Okay, maybe that wasn’t the right time to make that joke too.”

Once Albert arrived from his usual meeting with building security, I got a bit of a breather from Greg’s teasing. Albert was on my side on Greg’s dilemma about me, but not in a way I wanted to hear from him.

“Let’s not make it uncomfortable for Amy. This is actually the first time she let her dating life get in the way with some of her works.”

I gapped at Albert. “Excuse me. What?”

“Yeah, you’re right, Albert. I should be thankful that our little sister has finally spread her wings where we can see and protect her.” Greg coyly said.

I scoffed and shook my head. “I can’t… I’d like to focus on work, right now.”

“Okay. We’ll just be sitting here,” Greg playfully leaned back, looking relaxed on his chair.

While Albert on my left was seemingly assumed of it all. Now I get how women with annoying older brothers felt. Truly horrific.

I apologize for the late update. I was away and tired from the trip when I got home. I didn't wake up until this morning. I hope it wasn't a long wait. And thank you for your patience and support. Much love, Mel. Happy reading!

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