Zoey

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Chapter 7

When we get to the beach it was crowded with tourists, volleyball players and top less women getting tanned. We stood by for a minute and I looked at the far side of the beach, it looked quiet and peaceful. I pointed to the far side and said

"lets walk there, it looks quiet. "

We walked along the shoreline the wave splashing against our feet. I took off my sandals and felt the warm soft sand. The sound the wave makes is music to my ears. We walked in silence for about 15 minutes and we found a quiet spot and sat down. Sam has his jeans rolled up and his shoes on his hand. As soon as we sat I buried my feet inside the sand feeling the warmth. We gaze at the ocean for sometime and Sam lay down and invited me to do the same. I lay on my back right next to him and stared at the sunset. The sky is a beautiful shed of orange and bright yellow. I turned to look at him. He was looking up to the sky, lost deep in thought. He is beautiful, like the sea or the sky. I could watch that all day. I was inturrupted by a female voice

" Sam? Is that you? " a woman wearing yellow pinkini and black glasses towered above us and is now looking at Sam with her glasses down to get a better look at him. She has blond hair and long tanned legs and a very obvious boob job. Her breasts look like they are going to pop up in a second. Sam got up to a seating position and said

" hi Lena" she looked at us both and smiled. She tapped his shoulder and said

"I didn't know you were going to be here? "

where did I hear this name, Lena, it sounds familiar. I felt awkward laying there so I got up dusting off the sand from my dress. She galced at me and I could tell that she wanted to cut my throat. Who ever she is, trouble is written all over her face. Sam said

"we help arrange the retreat so I should be here."

"last time I checked you were in Singapore."

." yeah I was. "

" I see you have made a new friend here too. "

" hmm... Yes,this is Zoey"he announced. He sounded skeptical.

She raised her arms in fashionable manner and said

"enchante" what a drama queen!

I shook her hand and said

"hi" she looked me up and down and smile. I remember my bruised face and my lips and wanted to hide.

"so I hope to see you at the conference tomorrow love!" she said kissed Sam on both cheeks and waved at me and left. What just happened. I looked at Sam dumbfounded. And he looked at me with no expression on his face. I mouthed "what" and point to her. He shrugged and collected his shoes from the sand and we started walking. We drove back to our hotel in silence and when I can't take it anymore I turned on the radio. It was a beautiful song about still breathing and being alive. I felt a knot inside my stomach when I think about that blonde barbie doll. The way her hands linger on Sam and the way she looks at me. I tried to forget and concentrate on the song but I couldn't so I had to ask. " so it was Lena right? Is she French?"

"nope" he replied

"hmm she's beautiful." he turned and looked at me for a second and looked ahead. I am not getting anything from him so I decided to keep quiet. The song goes on "I am alive.. Im still breathing.."

"where do you know her?" oh my I don't know when to shut up, do I?

"at work" he said.

Oh great who knew Sam was a shallow guy, now that I know his kind of women, I thought I wouldn't stand a chance. My logical brain said, you never had a chance. I nodded in agreement and tried to enjoy the song. We reached the hotel lobby and walked to the elevator.

"I'm heading to the gym, but if you like I can come over later and we could grab dinner. They got a 5 star restaurant at roof top with pool view. "

"hmm I ll have to pass. I need to rest and may be get a room service. But thank you for the offer. Good night." Sam stared at me in disbelief, I don't sound like me. I sound formal and distant. I walked to the elevator and pressed my floor. While the elevator doors are closing, I peeked at Sam standing at the lobby looking at me. I got to my room and checked the time it's 7:20pm. I changed to my pj and got inside the covers and replayed today's events in my head. My body is tired and wants to go to sleep but my stubborn mind is wide awake. I sat up and turned on the TV and thought it's going to be a long night.

The next morning was the conference day, I dressed in an office attire and sat at the back of the conference room near the exit doors. The conference was held at one of the hotels larger conference rooms. As I have predicted, they were stating the importance of manpower, giving special attention to sales department. And the crowd applauded. I was doodling on my notebook the whole time waiting for the coffee break. Here's my plan, after the first session there's a 30 minute coffee break. I will get out of the room before anyone else and took the elevator to my room and spend the 30 minutes snacking and enjoying the Wi-Fi. So the time comes for the thirty minutes coffee break and I got out as I planned and get to my room, had a snack and lay on the couch flipping through magazines. When my time was up, I waited for about 2 more minutes Untill everyone is settled inside and head to the conference. I went in with one of the back exit doors and to my dismay my seat was taken. So I had to stand at the back or roam around in search of seat. That will attract unwanted attention specially from Ilene and Lena. I also don't want to run in to Sam. Just needed to clear my head and be alone for the next several days. So I stood at the back untill they call it a day, my feet throbbing from standing for over 3 hours. There's no meeting in the afternoon, as they were wrapping up their speech I got out and head to my room. I ordered a room service, ceasar salad, pineapple juice and a cuppucino. Watched TV and got bored. I'm in Miami and I'm spending all afternoon doing nothing? So I changed to my swim suit and head for the pool. Spent about an hour at the pool and got bored again. I admit to my self that I miss Sam. We had fun together and I miss laughing with him and teasing each other. I sighed and thought may be I overreacted. Just because a blond bimbo tried to flirt with him, doesn't mean that I should stop hanging out, besides as I recall, he wasn't flirting with her. I'm gonna head to my room change and call the lobby for his room number and I will call him and ask him to hangout. I hopped up from my seat excited at the thought and waited for the elevator. The doors of the elevator opened and I thought I was going to faint. Lena was wrapped around Sam, her short dress was way up her tigh, his shirt and hair messed up. I stood there frozen and watch as they try to compose themselves. Sam looked up at me apologetically and Lena inhaled and smile at me.

"I... I will use the stairs." I announced and start to stride to the stairs.

"zoey wait, it's not what it looks like" he said, he was out of breath.

I don't know what to say so I nodded and point to the stairs

"I gotta go" and I felt tears burning through my eyes. I have to get out of here before I embarrass my self so I turned on my heels and run down the stairs. Two stairs down and I was so tired. I lean on the stair rim and try to catch my breath. I know I wouldn't be able to make it to my room so I got out of the stairs and waited for the elevator hoping they have already left. I sigh in relief to see an empty elevator open.

Once in my room I replayed the scene in my head over and over. Sam's ruffled hair and shirt. Lena's skirt skyed up high revealing her perfect tighs. The way she smiles when I stood there gawking. What a loser I am? And I thought he was not flirting with her at the beach!How wrong I have been about Sam. Men..... they are all the same. They couldn't resist these types of women. I should've known. I was angry to the point where I am so tired. I changed my swim suit, took a shower and lay on the couch and drifted off to seep. I was woken up by knock on the door. I lay still and listen. Another knock, I didn't order room service, so it must be Sam. I lay there not moving a muscle. He spoke softly,

"Zoey, I know you are in there, open up." silence 2 minutes passed.

"I just want to talk." still laying on the couch and listening. "okay fine!" he left. I sighed.

I turned on the light and check the time, it's 7:45 and nothing to do. It sucks! I regretted so much now that I didn't bring any books from the library. I should have bought one from duty-free. I could take a walk around the block and see if I could find a book store. I walked to the elevator and stopped. I think I will develop a phobia for elevators after what I saw earlier. So I decided to take the stairs. It's only three floors and going down wouldn't be that hard. Once I am out side I relaxed against the hot fresh air. I walked along the street and check out cafes and shops displaying designer clothes. I walked freely enjoying the weather. I turned around the corner and spotted a little quiet Cafe with shelves of books, stacked magazines and comfy couches. I smiled and marched in there. I scanned through a row of books and landed on one. I chose a seat at the corner and ordered a cuppuciono. I sat reading for a while and looked up to a familiar face. He walked up to my couch and said

"hey Zoey." I smiled and said "hey, what are you doing here?"

"I worked at Northons remember?" he smiled

"yeah of course, but I thought you are a librarian?"

"that's my day shift, I work night shift at the sales department."

"so you are a Liberian by day and a sales by night!"

he smiled and said "you could say that"

"I'm sorry I never got your name." I smiled apologetically.

"it's Edward, you can call me Ed." I nodded and gesture for him to sit across me.

" you and books!!"

"yeah I love books"

"I figured! I once checked on the system how many books and magazines you rented out from the library, it's around 480."

"really, I haven't been counting but I rented same books twice or more. Depends on how much I liked the story." he nodded.

"I bet you like working in the library more than being at sales"

"I actually took the library job because it's quiet,and pays well too, inaddition to sales ofcourse."

"I sometimes fantasize working at a library, with all the books. I can read all I want with no one to bother me and I will defenately enjoy the quiet."

We both smiled. We spent hours talking about books and work. He told me about his funny roommate who is a wannabe actor, comedian and a womanizer. The stories he told were hilarious. I found my self giggling like a schoolgirl. I actually had a great time, I check the time on my phone, it's 9pm.

"I need to leave now. I had a great time.!I will see you around?"

" let me walk you to your hotel, oh and if you got time read this one, it's one of my favorites. " he said standing and handing me a black book. I checked it out and it's Stephen king' s 'It' . Not my choice of book but hey it's a book,how bad could it be.?

"okay" and we walked to the lobby and I smiled and waived good bye when I walked to the elevator. I got in to my room and dropped on the sofa. I thought Ed is kind and sweet, he is my type and we have so much in common. But I can't stop thinking about Sam. It hurts to even think about him. I remember his wonderful laughter, his eyes, how he rescued me, how he took care of me, the soup he brought to my apartment, the day he gave me a ride home on that rainy day and his sense of humor. He was perfect in every way. I smiled to my self remembering all the moments we had with each other then I remember the last time I saw him, inside the elevator with Lena all over him. I shook my head and thought he may be perfect and I may be falling for him but we are not meant to be together. I can't compete with Lena, I'm not even close. I may be cute, that much I know, but I'm not sexy and confident like those girls. I felt sick in my stomach and wanted to throw up. So this must be heartbreak? And this is the part where I ate Ben and Jerry's and cry watching Jerry Macguire. I promise my self I will not do such a thing and try to sleep but I couldn't. It's going to be anotherlong night!

I got up the next morning feeling nauseous . I put on my clothes, I dressed to impress, like my mom always said and head out to the conference room. Today's schedule is,morning presentation from all department heads, reporting this year's accomplishments and challanges. The last person who spoke said that its mandatory to attend all the schedules without fail as there will be enough time for ourselves to tour and shop. Then there's luch buffet at the hotel's dinning room. And the rest of the afternoon, we will have small meetings with our department staff only. My meeting will be held at conference room E from 3 up to 5 pm. I skipped the lunch... Its not like anyone is going to notice I'm gone. Besides I hate small talks with 'colleagues ' about where they go to collage, where they live and stuff. So I waited in my room reading the book Ed gave me. The book is creeping me out. Scary doesn't even come close to describing the book and its one thousand and something pages! But curiosity got the best of me and I want to know what will happen on the book. I ate an apple and yogurt for lunch and get back to reading. At exactly 3 pm I am at the conference room sitting way at the back doodling on my notebook. Half the room was filled with juniors like me. We waited for the presenter for about 10 minutes and she showed up. Oh look it's Lena, what a pleasant surprise!! She wore a short black high-waisted skirt and a very tight white shirt with revealed fake boobs. It looks like she missed her shirt buttons or forgot to button them! I rolled my eyes and got back to my doodling. She talked about the importance of sales team and our customers... bla bla bla. I decided to draw Lena, with exaggerated boobs, lips and hips. After I am done I admire my masterpiece. She looked like the evil octopus on the 'little mermaid'. She asked a guy to turn the lights off so she could use a projector. That's great! The darker the merrier! Then the back door slides open. A late Comer, I thought, and sits right next to me. I looked side ways and it was Sam. My heart jumped. He looks at me and smiles sweetly. I've had a pep talk with my self last night. I convince my self to take things easy. He is an adult and he can do whatever he wants. So I returned the smile and looked ahead. He got closer to me and whispered," I wanted to talk to you"

"now is not the right time" I whispered back.

"no I had to do this okay, I'm so sorry you had to see that, but.."

"that's what you say to a five year old who walked in to his parents!" I teased. Remember I was going to take things easy. He smiled and said "me and Lena, we have known each other since high-school and.." I held my hand up

"no need to explain.."

He sighed in frustration and said

"look, she threw herself at me, it was all too sudden.. and.. I was cornered.. I didint want to hurt her feelings."

"so you kissed her back! Oh don't get me wrong, you are one lucky guy! Half the girls here would like to throw them selves at you. So don't look sad, cheer up. "I said and smiled.

" does that half include you? " he asked and smirked.

" that's it! "I said and closed my notebook with a bang. Now I'm pissed off and the 'taking things easy' is being flushed down the toilet. I got up and left. He followed and said" I'm sorry, let's just forget what happened and move on please? "

I turned to look at him and said" oh that's easy! " I held my hand up to my forehead and rubbed it and said" memory erased. " and walked ahead to the elevator. He followed. We walked silently to my room and I opened the room, got in, he tried to follow. I blocked him from entering and said" anything you have to say to me, you can say it here, on the corridor. "

He looked up and down the corridor and said" let me in, please?

I wanted to piss him off to get even so I said "say pretty pleaassse? And I will let you in. " He leaned on the door and come closer to me and whispered

" you look so cute when you are jealous. " he was too close I could smell his cologne and fresh perfume. I closed my eyes and inhaled. His scent calmed me down. They should create an aroma therapy or something using a combination of his cologne and perfume. Then I recall what he said, jeolous! He was right I was jeolous and acted like a child. I breathed out and opened the door for him to come in. He looked at me in surprise . I walked ahead to the kitchen for a glass of water and threw my notebook on the kitchen counter.

Sam stood at the living room and looked at the couch, which shows clearly that it was slept on. He picked up the book 'IT' and looked at me in question.

"a friend gave me to read it"

he nodded and said" is that friend the one you were with on the lobby last night? "

he must have seen Ed walking me to the lobby. I nodded. He smiled. We have nothing to say so I sat on the opposite couch and turned on the TV. Christian Amanpour was interviewing a woman. I pretend to listen while my mind is elsewhere. We sat like that for a while and he took the remote and switched the TV off.

"I need to say this, me and Lena, we have known each other since high-school, she used to date my best friend. And one day they were out late partying and both got drunk. He called me to pick them up so I dropped him off first and when we reached at her home she tried to kiss me I stopped her and said that's inappropriate. Girls like that.. they don't take rejection very well and she wants to prove to herself that she's loved and needed by everyone to boost her ego. She took me as her challange and waited all those years to get that kiss."

"huh, that's quite a story." he nodded in agreement. "it's better not to talk about this anymore" I stated

"I agree but I was here last night knocking on your door, I knew you were here, Why didn't you open up?"

"I.. I dont know? I wanted to be alone I guess"he nodded in understanding and said

" could it be that you are jeolous? "

" Nooo." I nearly screamed. "In fact I needed to see a shrink after what I saw. It was horrible."

I walked to the kitchen and he came along and sat on the stool. I opened the fridge looking for something to eat when I was startled by his roaring laughter. I turned to see Sam laughing while holding my notebook. I looked at him in question, he pointed to the illustration of Lena. He was done laughing and he looked at me and said "I didn't know you were this talented?"

"hmm yes, that's one of my masterpieces, I call this one, the witch."

"ohh come on! you're being too hard on her. She can not be that bad?"

"oh great, defend your girlfriend!"

"we have been over this, she's nothing to me, okay? " he said as a matter of factly.

"okay," I said raising my arms in surrender.

I suddenly felt so tired and nauseated. I hold on to the kitchen counter for support and grunted. He run towards me and said

"what's wrong? Are you okay? "

I nodded" I'm fine." But a waive of pain hit me again and now I know I'm going to throw up, so I run towards the bathroom and buried my face in the toilet and drain the containts of my stomach. Sam was right behind me holding back my hair and when I am done he offered me a tissue and a glass of water. I felt a little better after throwing up so I got up and tried to walk to the bedroom. But I grunted and stopped. Sam scooped me up and carried me to the bedroom and placed me on the bed carefully. He looked at me in concern and said, "was it something you ate? " I shrugged and closed my eyes. He stood there for some time staring down and me laying on the bed. He sat on the bed next to me and said

"you need to see a doctor. "

" no I'm fine, I'm just tired that's all. "

" no I'm taking you, can you walk?"

"yes, I can."

"OK then let's go." he said and helped me to stand up and hold my hand all the way to the parking lot. He opened the car door and helped me in. We drove for about 15 minutes and parked at a hospital. He told me to take a seat while he talked to the receptionist. She dialed a number and a beautiful petit women appeared from the hallway, walked up to Sam and hold him tight. She put her hand on his cheeks and looked at him in concern. They talked for a while and he pointed to me. He came and hold my hand to help me up. We followed her to her office and Sam waited by the door. She greeted me with warm smile and invited me to seat.

"so zoey, tell me how you feel?"

"I'm not sure but I feel nauseated most of the time, I also feel very tired and weak."

"should we be concerned about pregnancy?"

"no." I replied. She looked up at me and said

"why? "

"hmm.. lets just say I am not sexually active" she nodded and scribbled something on a note and said "take this to the lab and I will see you after 15 minutes okay?"

"okay, thanks." I got out and went to the lab. They took samples. I waited 15 minutes with Sam looking over me in concern

"I am fine, really! Stop looking at me like that!.

"like what?"

"like I am about to break in to pieces, I'm stronger than you think, you know? "

He scoffed "right! You should go in, it's about 15 minutes now."

I knocked on the door and she opened it and said "come in, and you too Sam."

He looked at her confused and she nodded.

We sat and waited, she clicked on her pc and wrote subscriptions. "alright! so you have a gastrointestinal illness."

"a what?"

"it's mostly from lack of proper and timely diet, stress, lack of sleep and as such. The weakness and tiredness all leads to stress. So take it easy on the stress, eat on time, preferably what we call the Brat diet, bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Drink plenty of water and take the vitamins and painkillers I prescribed ." she handed me the note

" okay, thank you" I smiled, she nodded. I sat there waiting for.. I don't know untill Sam gets up and go. Then he said"could you give us a minute Zoey? "

" yeah, sure" I stood up from my seat and left. I waited for Sam to come . Who could she be? But I was too sick to care. I hold my belly and bend over. That way I don't feel the pain. Sam came and put his hand on my knees, knelt in front of me, looked me right in the eyes and said

"hey, you okay sweet? Do you want me to get you a glass of water? "I shook my head in no. He scooped me up on his arms like I weigh nothing and head to the parking. He placed me in the car, fastened my seat belt. I felt like a child. He got inside and start to drive. He stopped at a pharmacy and we head to the hotel. Once we reach my room I sat on the couch while he called room service and ordered something with a toast, applesauce and rice,exactly as the doctor said. He came over, sat next to me his hand on my back and asked

"you need anything dear? I shook my head no and lay down on the couch my head resting on his lap. He caressed my hair, then I dozed off to sleep. I woke up to a sound of plates cluttering. I opened my eyes and saw a waiter putting food over the kitchen counter. I closed my eyes back and rest. Sam bend over, kissed my head and said

"wake up sweety and have something to eat" I felt much better after the short nap. I sat up and Sam brought the food to the couch and offered me to eat. I start to nibble on the toast while watching the TV. Sam watched me patiently untill I finish two slices of toast and the applesauce. He took the empty plate and returned back with a bowl of steaming rice with veggies. I shook my head

"I will eat that later, I'm full." he sighed in disappointment and returned the bowl. He sat next to me rubbing my back and said

"how do you feel now? "

" I feel great, thanks for everything. She was a great doctor, I like her. "

He shook his head and said" incase you are wondering, she was my brother's wife. She lives here with my twin nieces and her parents.

" and your brother? "

" he died two years ago in a car accident, she was with him when it happened. "

" I am so sorry, I know how it hurts to lose a brother. "

"yeah it hurts like hell! We were so close. We used to do everything together." I nodded and hugged him tight. I could feel his heart beat against mine. My heart was racing and I felt out of breath but I don't want to let go. He sighed and hugged me even more closer. He buried his face in my neck and breathed in. I wanted to be even more close to him but I don't know how to. We couldn't stay like that forever so I start to pull back slowly. We looked in to each other's eyes and he leaned his forehead to mine. We were so close, our lips almost touching and I was prepared for the long overdue kiss to come. But the door knocked and he touched my nose with his and got up to open the door. Did he just gave me an Eskimo kiss? I smiled to myself. The waiter put a fruit platter on the counter and left. Sam brought it to me. The colorful combination of fruits was inviting. Cherries, strawberries, banana, mango...

"hmmm it looks and smells yummy" I said, he smiled pushed the plate over to me

"enjoy " he said, sighed and start to change the channels. I ate enjoying every bite as he changed from channel to channel not deciding what to watch.

" what do you enjoy watching? "he asked.

" I enjoy reality shows. "

" the Kardashians? "

" no, I watch forensics and true murder stories on discovery id 'Reality is stranger than fiction'" he frowned and said

" I would have preferred you say the Kardashians" I smiled.

"oh and I have all seasons of 'friends' and 'game of thrones' on my laptop." he nodded and we watched CNN in silence. He checked the time and stood up "its getting late, I got to go and you need to rest." he hesitated and walked to the door. I walked behind him and held the door he opened. He shoved both his hands in his pocket and stood outside.

"Sam?"

"yes dear"

"thank you for everything!"

He smiled and brought the back of his hand to my face and slid it across my cheek and said

" my pleasure! " I closed my eyes and leaned against his warm and comforting hand.

" goodnight Zoey! " he said and left for the elevator.

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