Chapter 37 If only Jay was here to see it
I wake up missing Elena next to me. The bed is empty and I miss her snoring, the way we spoon and the warmth she gives me at night. It’s not even about sex, although I’m not complaining. I miss her lying in the crook of my neck, inhaling her scent. My arms around her, her giving me little kisses on my neck, cheeks and earlobe. Just being there with her in that moment, like we belong together.
I think I’m more in love with Elena than I want to admit.
But first things first. Today I have an appointment with Doctor Burton and then I will visit Mr. Singh. And after that I have an appointment with Christopher Strongarm. A lot to do today!
I do my morning routine and walk towards the kitchen. Ana has already prepared my usual breakfast.
“Hello, Miss Gopal.”
“Hey Ana, missed me around here?”
“Always, Miss Gopal, this house feels empty without you in it,” she tells me with a soft smile on her face.
“Could I ask you something?” Ana asks me.
“Uhuh,” I say with a mouthful of breakfast in my mouth.
“Why do you need a bodyguard?”
I was wondering when she would ask me that question. She lives here so I might as well tell her the truth. She looks at me, waiting for my response but I’m figuring out how to say this to her.
“You know I’ve been abused, right?”
She nods but doesn’t make a sound, her eyes focussed on me.
“Well, that person is obsessed with me. I need to get some protection.”
“Why don’t you go to the police?” she asks with a frown on her face.
“Because I have no proof whatsoever. Please be careful who you open the door to.”
“I will and if you need anything from me please let me know, Miss Gopal.”
“Thank you, Ana.” I don’t want to scare her but it’s better to be careful from now on. I don’t want anyone around me getting hurt because of me.
I step into my car and drive towards my first appointment. The waiting room is empty and I take a seat. I never actually sat here long enough to look at my surroundings. There’s a vase with flowers on a side table and lots of art on the walls—abstract art, where everybody sees something different. I see one painting that’s blue, brown and green; it looks like a Google Earth picture from above.
Doctor Burton opens the door and smiles. “Come on in, Tara.”
I nod and walk towards the oh so familiar couch and sit down. This room has a familiar old scent, and there’s a big couch and a few smaller sofas. I prefer the big couch because I can never tell if I like to sit up straight or lay down during our conversations. Doctor Burton has his own sofa that looks comfy. It’s grey and looks very modern actually; the whole room is decorated in a very mid-century modern style.
“How are you feeling today?” he asks me.
“All kinds of fucked up,” I tell him. Better be honest, I will be kidding myself otherwise.
“Tell me about it.”
Must be easy sitting in his chair and only asking questions like tell me about it; how does that make you feel? What do you think? Why do you think that?
“Oh, yeah,” I say while waking up from my own thoughts.
“I don’t know how to explain it. I have trouble trusting my own body and in Dubai my past came back to bite me. There was this girl that I had sex with when it didn’t mean anything for me and it reminded me how I was back in the day.”
“When you were using sex as a coping mechanism?” Doctor Burns refers to a therapy session we had a long time ago. He told me that I want to be in charge of my own body and I supress my feelings through sex. He told me that it’s normal for an abused woman to cope with feelings that way but that it isn’t healthy.
“Yeah, I guess, and I can’t seem to figure out if sex with Elena is any different or that I’m still the same person.”
“How does Elena make you feel?”
Okay, I already saw this question coming.
“I feel safe, I miss her when she isn’t around. It hurts me to see her cry. When I’m with her I can just be; nothing else matters. She’s genuinely interested in me and I don’t even care about the sex. The small things matter much more to me.”
“But you have to ask yourself what’s holding you back from Elena?”
Rotterdam has a lot of tall buildings. One of those buildings is next to a port and has an amazing view of the whole city looking out over the ships that leave the port. This city has had such an impact on me after four years of college and my internship in this same building. My first kiss and everything in this city reminds me of Jay. And now Elena lives in this same city; maybe it’s fate that I had to come back.
I enter the building because this is where Mr. Singh’s company is established. He’s on the 33rd floor. There’s a lady sitting at the desk.
“How may I help you?” she says while looking at me up and down. Ana told me to put a suit on, well, as she likes to call it my power suit. And whenever I wear it, I feel powerful. My jacket is red and has golden buttons on it and I wear high heels under it. Below my jacket I wear a black blouse with a V-shape that slightly reveals the top of my breasts. My hair is perfectly straight with curls at the bottom. My make up is natural like I like it. So, I get why she’s checking me out.
“I have an appointment with Mr. Singh,” I tell her. She looks at me with big eyes. Mr. Singh is a famous lawyer, so I assume that explains her big eyes.
She calls what I think is Mr. Singh’s secretary. She looks at me and her eyes grow even bigger.
“I will sure do, Ma’am,” she responds.
Wonder what’s that about?
She tells the other girl that’s sitting next to her to cover for her. “Walk with me please,” she tells me.
I nod and walk after her. She puts a key card on the entry system so it opens for me. I walk through it and she says, “follow me”.
We walk towards the elevator and she pushes the buttons. She’s still looking at me with her big eyes. But I ignore it; I have enough on my plate already.
We step into the elevator and it’s made of glass. I don’t think this elevator is made for someone that’s afraid of heights. Well, If Jay would have worked here, he would have closed his eyes every time in this elevator.
A smile appears on my face thinking about this. “What are you smiling about?” the desk lady asks me all of a sudden.
“Oh, nothing. Just thought that this elevator is not made for someone that’s afraid of heights,” I tell her.
“Yeah, that’s why my hands are sh-shaking” she tells me. “But the secretary of Mr. Singh told me to bring you up.”
That explains the big scary eyes.
“You should just look up never down,” I tell her. “That’s what my boy…friend used to do.”
Calling Jay my boyfriend is weird. She smiles and before we know it the elevator opens.
“Thank you,” she tells me.
I nod and walk after her. Mr. Singh is already walking out of the door to greet me.
“Thank you,” I tell the girl that brought me up while hugging Mr. Singh.
She nods and walks away.
“Hey Tara,” he says with a wide grin on his face.
It’s been a while since I last came to visit and I missed him too.
“Hey Dad,” I respond. Yeah, I have been calling him dad after Jay died. Isn’t it ironic? He’s kind of a second dad to me and I love to call him that, but only when I see him in real life.
His eyes shine when I call him that. Who am I to give this man more grief than he already has been through?
“How’s AJ?” I ask.
“He’s been doing good. He will be here in an hour; I told him you would be coming,” he tells me.
“Good, I missed him.”
I enter Mr. Singh’s office and there’s a big view of Rotterdam. I can even see my old college. I sit down on his couch and Mr. Singh behind his desk.
“So, Tara what can I do for you?” he asks still smiling with his eyes.
“I have a lot of business things to discuss, but that’s not important now. It’s about my will,” I tell him.
“Your will? Why are you thinking about that now?”
“I just want a couple of things included in case something happened to me. We all know that life can be short. So better take care of everything in advance.” I know that I could tell Mr. Singh—he would never argue about this topic.
He nods. “Well, write down everything and I will handle the paperwork.”
“Already done,” and I hand him a piece of paper I have written down on last night.
“Good,” he starts reading it and I see him frowning a few times.
“You want to leave money for your maid?”
“I do, she came here with nothing and I want her to make something of herself.”
He nods and reads on.
“You want to leave the company to Jasmine and AJ?”
“I do, it’s not about the money but they are both my siblings and I love them equally.”
“And you want to leave Elena your house paid in full! That’s a big gesture! Who is Elena?” Mr. Singh asks while looking from behind the page.
I blush and smile.
“You met someone?” He asks with a wide grin on his face.
“I think I did, I’m finally happy. Something I thought I never be!” I reply.
Mr. Singh isn’t old fashioned. He knows that I like girls and he has never had a problem with it. In fact, he said that it doesn’t matter; the only thing is that he wants me to be happy again. I wish the same for him but he can’t seem to move on after what happened.
“Good, I want to meet this girl! You better introduce me soon, Tara!” I nod and get tears in my eyes. I wish that my parents reacted this way.
“Did I say something wrong? Why are you crying?” he asks.
“No, I’m just happy. I wish my parents reacted the same as you!”
“Oh, honey, come here.” He steps towards me and hugs me tight while rubbing my tears away.
“I see you want to leave two million to each of your parents and the rest will be left to the Jay foundation that you set up?” I nod with tears still in my eyes.
The Jay Foundation is a foundation to end child poverty. It was something Jay wanted to do so I set it up for him in his name. It was something that I wanted to have to remind the world of him.
“Well, Tara, I see nothing strange in here. I will manage it! Let’s go to lunch,” Mr. Singh says.
I nod and we walk towards a Mexican restaurant around the corner. They have the best fajitas in town. As we sit down, I see AJ entering, wearing Jay’s jacket and for a minute I think I’m seeing a ghost. He grins widely and jumps up and down before running to me. I open my arms and hug him tight.
“Hey Sis, how have you been? I missed you!”
“Miss you too, AJ, let me look at you!”
AJ smiles and twirls around like a little girl. I smile at him and ruffle his hair.
“Hey, watch it, Sis!” He jumps away from me and looks directly in the mirror adjusting his hair.
“Since when did you become so vain?” I ask while laughing a little. I love the way he’s becoming a man.
“Since he has a girlfriend,” Mr. Singh responds. laughing.
“Yeah, a girlfriend will do that to you. Picture?” I ask.
“Come on you guys!” AJ responds while throwing his hands in the air.
AJ shows me a picture of his girlfriend and I have to say she’s beautiful. When we have lunch together it’s like they are the family that I never had. Everyone laughing and it’s not fake, we belong together.
If only Jay was here to see it.