It became a lost hope,
In my head, it became an infinite loop.
Running and tumbling over and over,
Taking me in its controlling power.
It was the last set of pancakes. Flipping the pancakes in the air, I turned around just to catch them perfectly in time.
“You have become a pro, now.” I looked towards the source of voice and found that it was Miles himself leaning across the kitchen counter.
Miles was one of the renowned chef who was high in demand. He always made it in the local papers and the TV shows that he does in pure passion. Looking at him now, standing only a few feet in front of me, with a warm smile that I came to love, made me wonder how fortunate I actually was.
He had taken a shower just then and his hair was still dripping with water. How many times have I told him to dry them or else he would catch a cold? But he never listens to me.
“Yes, thanks to you.” I said, making my way towards him. “You are just in time.” I ruffled his hair as the water droplets sprinkled around us.
He gave me a knowing smile and cocooned me in his arms and touched my head with his. “I’m always at the right time, aren’t I?”
I couldn’t hold back the blush that crept on my face. “Awe, darling, you look so cute when you blush for me.” He said laughing.
I hit his arms playfully trying to get away from his tight grip. But he held me tighter and pulled me closer. “You are a jerk, you know that?” I said still smiling.
“You mean your jerk?” he asked innocently.
“Always.” I said, as I leaned in for a kiss. I could tell that he loved me more than he loved his kitchen and that scared me. I knew I shouldn’t be dependent on him, but I couldn’t help the warm feeling when he was with me.
“Morning, my love.” He said as he pecked my lips, making me smile. He caressed my cheeks, giving me tingles that sent goose bumps all along my spine. My hands automatically curled around his wet hair, edging it tightly. The kiss was gentle and rough at the same time, making my senses go numb.
When we parted for a breather, I smiled at him. “Morning to you too.” I ran my fingers over his bare chest, that was chiselled. “I love you so much, Miles.”
He grabbed me by my waist, pulling me closer to him. “I’ve something for you.” He said, pulling a letter from his trouser pockets with one hand and holding me in the other. “Here, a note for you. Sorry, I didn’t find any flowers in the morning.”
I shuddered at the sight of the letter. It brought back those memories that I wanted to erase. The memories that were stuck with me, the night I found that Miles was the one with those horrid letters, which made me break up with me in the first place. “Miles… this… what is this?”
His love filled eyes at me, suddenly turned cold. His grip on me tightened making me hurt. “You were the one who wanted me to tell you stuffs with flowers right, there you have it.”
“Miles,” My voice cracked. “I never said that.”
That night when I found that the letters which always made me smile were actually from Miles, I was shocked. I couldn’t come to trust him anymore. I mean, he practically was there when I was so desperately trying to search for the author of those notes. I left him that night telling him that I couldn’t do it anymore. I walked away, even when Miles was begging for me to stay.
“You treated the letters more than the person who stood in front of me.” Miles spat at me. “You have it now. Read it. Savor it. It really means so much more to you than me.”
“Miles, please don’t say that.” I wriggled out of his hold. The more I tried to get free, the tighter his hands held my hand. “You are hurting me.”
“You think you didn’t hurt me?” His eyes were dancing with anger. “Do you have any idea how many sleepless nights I spent cribbing over you?”
“Miles, I’m sorry.” I begged. “Please, you are hurting me.”
“You deserve this.” He spat.
I closed my eyes, letting the pain in. slowly, the pain subsided and to my wonder, a gentle touch was replaced. Surprised, I opened my eyes and the surrounding had changed and my vision seemed blurry.
As my vision adjusted to the new area around me, I saw white sheets and white walls. I lifted my head from where I was resting and saw few wires and machines all over. I was in a hospital.
Oh, shit! I had been dreaming again!
I realized that I had been sleeping on the bed side, sitting on the chair. I noticed that the hand that was gently massaging me was Smith’s. His hands were wrinkled and they were connected to many wires that hook to the computer. I saw few water droplets on his palm. That was when it hit me that I had been crying.
In an urgency, I wiped my cheeks clean. I smiled cheerfully at Smith, who had been watching me. “Hey, old man. How are you doing?”
He weakly smiled at me. “I have never been better.” He said. “How are you? Still getting bad dreams?”
“Nah.” I waved a hand at him. “They are long gone.” I lied.
Smith was more like my dad, though we were not blood related. He and his wife treated me like their own and I loved them too much. He was my godfather when I came to this town to start my new life and a new business. He helped me grow my flower shop into a success and if my shop is most recommended now, then all the credit goes to him.
It was just this morning that I received a call from Hannah, his wife, that he had a heart attack. I reached there as soon as possible just to find that it was his fifth one in the year. It was more than being hurt that I was not once told about this whole ordeal.
“Don’t lie to me, dear.” He said, as he shifted his position in the hospital bed. “I heard a sob and that woke me up.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” I said, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “I told Hannah that it would be best if she was here.”
“That’s okay.” Smith said, with a hidden smirk on his face. “I was anyway bored looking at her face all day. I would prefer yours anyway.”
I laughed. “You are so corny at times.”
“I heard that, you bastard.” Hannah opened the door, with a smile plastered on her face. But when I held my gaze on her face a little longer, I could see the tears stained on her cheeks. “You can’t get away from your wife, because you love me too much.”
“That’s the ugly truth, my folks.” He made a face, making us giggle at him. Hannah bent down towards Smith and gave him a kiss on his forehead.
“You got me worried.” She said. Though she was trying hard not to cry in front of Smith, a sob nevertheless escaped from her lips. Her eyes were red and puffy, her hair was dangled and it had come out of her bun. For a woman living in the age of sixties, she looked as if she had aged over eighty.
“I’m tough.” Smith said, closing his eyes. “Aren’t I, Megan?”
“Of course.” I said, rolling my eyes at him, yet smiling at the same time. “Hannah you don’t need to worry about him.”
“Yeah.” She said. “Let him rest, he looks so tired. The doctor told us not to disturb him. Let’s go out.”
I nodded. The medicine had already kicked in Smith’s system and he had halfway closed his eyes. Hannah gave one long look towards Smith, before breaking down and running out of the room.
I adjusted the bed covers over Smith and walked behind Hannah. The doctor attending Smith, Mr. Alan, was talking with Amber and Zack. Zack was holding Amber by her waist supporting her. Amber looked as if she would collapse on the ground any minute. The scene was disturbing and it was making me really nervous.
I reached towards the doctor. “Mr. Alan, how’s Smith? He’s going to be fine, right?”
“Um… I was just telling it to your friends here.” The doc gestured towards Amber and Zack. “You brought him here on time, or else it would have been very difficult to save him.”
“This was his fifth heat attack and compared to the reports, this one was severe. His heart has become weak.” Mr. Alan continued. “You have to take good care of him and don’t let him stress over.”
“No, no, no, no.” I said, moving backwards until I reached the walls. “That won’t happen. He said that he was tough. He won’t go that far. He won’t hurt us.”
“Megan, you have to calm yourself.” The doctor said. “With your panic abilities, excess stress for you is not good either.”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” I shouted at the doctor. “I know Smith well than you know. He won’t give up. He’s stronger than you guys think.”
“Okay.” He said, backing away. Soon, Amber and Zack approached me opening their arms at me. I ran to them without thinking twice. “If he maintains a good diet and less stress, there’s nothing much to worry about.”
“So he’s going to be fine?” I asked, wiping my tear stained eyes.
“The pace maker we placed at his heart was replaced this morning. If the pace maker and its wire, called a lead are functioning normally, it is extremely unlikely that heart will stop beating. But we need to be careful as it’s his fifth one. He should be one strong man. I’m sorry.”
Amber nodded at the doctor as he walked away and then turned towards me. “Megan, we are supposed to be strong. If Smith knows about this, he will breakdown causing him to have stress again.” She wiped her own tears. “We have to support Hannah too, look at her.”
I looked at Hannah, who was staring out the corridor window, tears running down her eyes. She looked depressed already.
“We will deal with this together, okay.” Zack said, wiping my tears away.
“I can sit by him?” I asked Amber, wiping my tears.
“Okay, but please don’t cry.” She said.
I nodded. I went inside the room where Smith was sleeping, his eyes closed, his lips twitched upwards in a sad smile. I sniffed and wiped my eyes.
Smith opened his eyes slowly. “I’m going to die, isn’t it?”
“NO!” I almost shouted. “Who told you that? The doctor said that as long as you are happy teasing Hannah, you will be fine.”
“The next heart attack, I’ll be dead, Megan. I know it.” He said. “And I’m not sad about it. Look at me, here lying on a hospital bed, having all my best folks around me. What else could I ask for?”
“Ask anything. I’ll make sure that it will happen.”
“I have loved you like my daughter, Megan.” I nodded my head, tears running down my cheeks. Smith held my hand. “Please move back here, for old times’ sake. I know it’s hard for you, but for me, as a dying request?”
“I’ll do anything for you.” My voice broke down. “And you are not dying.”
“Can you send Hannah in?” Smith said, closing his eyes with satisfaction. “I want to talk to her.”
“Sure.” I said and called in Hannah. I walked out giving them a little privacy.
Moving back to the city where everything started? I was not totally positive about that idea. Though it was two years since the incident and a fateful break up which wholeheartedly broke me apart, I was still not ready to face the crowd.
But I am going to do it anyway. I’m already broken inside; I don’t think there could be any better way to break me further.
“Steve, make sure that I get the call before anyone else.” I countered, when my assistant Steve said that the deals were getting to another group. “Don’t let the Gregory guy steal our deal.”
“Yes boss.” He said curtly. “Anything else?”
I balanced my phone on my shoulder, as I put my ties in my suitcase. “Yeah.” I hesitated. I tucked my black tie inside and transferred my phone to the other hand. “I want a ticket to Chailey for tomorrow.” It was the third time I was debating if I should be going there.
“Yes sir.” Steve said, as I heard a few buttons pop at the other end. I was satisfied that once a job told to Steve, he would do it no matter what.
“I’m leaving to the meeting at Hill’s today, once I reach there. I’ll call or send a message.” I said, cutting the call, not before Steve said a few farewells.
I threw the phone on my bed and looked at my surrounding—a huge heap of shirts, which were neatly ironed lay on to my right and all the ties, shoes, and watches were to my left. I heaved a sigh.
Since my management course in one of the famous institutions came out with blooming colors, I was more than excited to put them all in use. Soon I became the CEO of our restaurant and went further to establish two more hotels. I also took under many restaurants across the continent, under my supervision.
This meant I had to travel more often and arrangements of meeting and representations. I was more than happy to fly and put myself for a good cause. It kept me busy, for which I was grateful, as I was getting away from what I always feared.
Hell, sometimes, I feel her presence, here with me. That’s so unnerving and scares the shit out of me. That was the only reason, I tried my best to stay away from the house as much as possible. I don’t want to mess things up like the last time I did after Shelly, my ex-ex left me. That was the only reason why I went after the college.
I reached my bathroom to get the toiletries. As I passed along the mirror, for a second, I couldn’t recognize the person I saw in the reflection. I went back at stared at it. Disheveled hair, a beard that needed to be trimmed, baggy eyes that begged at least a complete day’s sleep, but the muscles, they were intact without any change.
Yes, I had changed and it was for the best. I couldn’t be the same now, it was too difficult. I had to stay strong. A woman can’t hurt me and bring me down. I’m not a regular chef who serves his customers behind the table, I’m a CEO of the managing boards of restaurant. And I can’t be weak because of a girl.
I shook my head no.
But somewhere at the corner of my heart, a voice screamed—it’s too late to say that, you are already past the stage of becoming weak for a girl.
My phone buzzed again, bringing me back to the present. I stared at my reflection for a second more, before pulling out the phone from my pant pockets.
“I heard that you were going to that board meeting tonight.” It was my best friend Joe.
“Yes.” I said. I could feel myself relaxing. “You heard right.”
“Dylan was holding a party like usual at the same pub, at the same time, with the same lot.” I could almost see Joe roll his eyes. I gave out a small chuckle. Dylan, the other musketeer of out trio, always held parties at a local pub. He would rent the whole building for a night and get out clean without involving the local cops. “Did he call you?”
“Yeah.” I said, running my hand over my dark hair. “It’s tomorrow right?”
“Yes.” Joe agreed. “It’s been so long since we had a fun time. I don’t care about your hectic schedule; I want you at the pub at sharp eight.”
“Did Dill ask you to specifically drag me there?” I asked amused. “Sounds like you are ready for that too.”
“I’ll do that for you.” He said, laughing. “What are best friends for?”
I laughed. “But seriously, I booked a ticket for Chailey tomorrow.”
“What?” Joe said in utter shock. “I can’t believe you are ditching Dill’s party for your stupid meetings.”
“Hey, they are not stupid.” I defended. “But this thing… I don’t know, something tells me to go, you know… like a sixth sense.”
“Oh, please.” Joe snorted. “From when did you start relying on your lucky starts?”
My lucky start left me long ago, I wanted to say, but I held my tongue. “Besides, it will get me a good income. I’ll throw a party then and we all can meet.” I said hoping that he’ll buy it.
“Wait.” Joe said. I could easily identify his tone, it was calculating and analyzing. The last time I disagreed with him, he had gone to Steve and ordered him to cancel all my plans for the day. I knew he was up to something now.
“I remember your Dad calling me to ask you how you did, last week.” Joe started, clearly remembering the events. I could imagine him holding his index finger at his chin. “I could tell him that you were needing help from him and you were too shy to ask.”
“Joe, don’t test me.” I glared at the wall in front of me. The last thing I want is my Dad to poke his head in my business.
“Fine then… it’s your choice at the end of the day really.” He said sounding all innocent.
“Joe, I’m going to kill you and Dylan both tomorrow.” I said in a defeating tone. I was tired and I gave myself permission to go out and have some fun.
“But I have a condition.” I said, before he could open his mouth for anything else.
“I’m coming there at seven and leaving at eight.” I said.
“What?” Joe said, wining like a high school girl. “That’s only like an hour. What fun could you have in one hour?”
“I said you I have to go to Chailey tomorrow.” I repeated again.
“What’s so important that’s happening in Chailey anyway?” He asked.
“I have this annual party of the hotel that’s newly opened there. And they have invited me as a chief guest since I took over their restaurant at the fall of last year.” I explained. “I guess, they are willing to give me more of the shares by inviting me there.”
“Oh,” Joe finally seemed to get it into his thick head. “But can’t you make it to six?”
“Six?” I asked. I quickly opened my schedule on my laptop. I would be at the meeting in Germany, for which I’m packing now, till tomorrow afternoon. I’m supposed to be at the Jackson’s toast at three at give some presentations. Then at eight thirty at night I have a plane to Chailey. “Fine, I’ll come by then.”
“Good.” He said, with a satisfied grunt. “Hey, and did you hear about Smith?”
“Yeah, Amber informed me this morning.” I said, my voice trailing off. I still remember the call.
“Miles… Miles.” Amber said, the moment I picked the call. I was too stunned to pick the call the second it came. Neither had she or her friends had called since we broke up. And all of a sudden her best friend calls me? I was a little hesitant but thinking of the worst possibilities, I picked the call at the last ring.
“It’s Smith.” Amber held a sob. “Heart attack… I thought… you … know about it.” I heard between the sobs. “It’s his fifth and the doctor thinks that he won’t make it.”
Oh, no. Poor Smith. I had liked him the moment I had met him. The first time he came to me was to put her into my cooking class. But Smith being taken away, I couldn’t believe my ears. “Oh Amber.” I put my hand over my head and took a seat. “How’s Hannah?”
“Crying.” Amber said.
“I really wish to come there Amber, but I’m in Georgia now.” I said, regretting the decision of going to Georgia in the first place. “Though I would like to come later, you know, I can’t”
“Yes.” She said cutting the call.
“Did you go to see him?” Joe asked bringing me back to the present.
“You know why, Joe.” I said, tired of answering his questions. “I don’t ever want to see her again.”
“You know that the world is small right?” Joe countered back. “Even if you don’t know where she stays, you will encounter her one day or the other.”
“Joe!” I rubbed my head, pressing at the temples. “Let’s talk tomorrow okay?” I had had enough of her for one day.
I could hear Joe sigh. “See ya.”
I cut the call and fell on bed, my back towards the mattress. Why couldn’t I spend a day peacefully without thinking of her. Hell, even my kitchen has a packet full of green tea and noodles at the top most shelf—her favorite.
Damn, what did she leave behind her?