Bradley has it all
: Bradley Has It All:
About the same time when Jeannie had taken a break in the Diner, Bradley Hoffman sat in a fancy restaurant with his assistant Samantha and enjoyed a light lunch. Carless and seemingly untouched about his ‘girlfriend’ being so far away, he chatted in flirtatious manner with the woman sitting opposite him. His mouse blond hair stayed fixed in line framing the sharp lines of his clean-shaven face, making his chin appear even smaller than it actually was. Through small slits glared pale blue eyes that mirrored an affection of sheer arrogance and the kind of self-indulgence that one felt uncomfortable with. Laughing loud at his own jokes, heads turned by other diners who discreetly shifted on their own seats as they tried to ignore Bradley’s loud nature. He had loved nothing more than attention, being the extrovert he was and made sure that everyone in the room would remember him.
Samantha literally glued to each word he barked across the table in awe and enjoyed the attention he granted her with feign sneers.
As the waiter approached with their plates, he carefully tried to steer around Bradley, who was oblivious to his surroundings. He talked with his hand and feet. The poor waiter couldn’t escape in time and was hit by Bradley’s left hand as he shakily dropped the plate in front of him.
Bradley shook his head as he loudly acclaimed “Some people are truly not cut out for their jobs.”
Samantha rolled her eyes in agreement, as she always did, unable to form her own opinion around Bradley, before she started to pick on her salad.
She was the kind of woman who saw danger in bell peppers and olives and would swear that carbohydrates are the fruit of evil. Her pickiness, exhausting for some, hovered on the same level as Bradley’s habits, which had made it impossible for Jeannie in the past to enjoy a simple meal with him.
When they first had started dating, she was too enticed by his unorthodox personality that she overlooked his constant moans and lectures. She wanted to fit in the vibrant life that she had entered completely unprepared and took his words as gospel and stripped her true self completely off and made it into this someone Bradley found acceptable.
Between lunch and drinks, Samantha read out Bradley’s schedule like a good little minion, feeling rather important and in charge now that Jeannie was off the scene.
Bradley halfheartedly listened to her as he leaned in and casually tipped the back of her hand with his fingertip.
“You are very competent Sam, aren’t you.”
“Thank you”, she answered bashful as she affixed a streak of hair behind her ear.
“No, really you are. I am very grateful that you took over for Jeannie. I know how much work this must be for you.”
Samantha showed her pearl-white teeth as she smiled back.
“It is really not that much more work. Besides, it is for your benefit as well. You shouldn’t be left with the entire backlog just so Jeannie can disappear.” Feeling much more confident Samantha dared to ask more.
“What is she actually doing in Kentucky? Leaving out of the blue is not really her style. Are you both okay?” with a put-on concerned frown she tapped his hand with hers.
There he should have drawn a line but his ego didn’t allow wasting this kind of affection.
“Where do I begin”, he started with a lowered mournful husk and eyes so full of sorrow it almost was believable “in fact I have no idea why she hurried across to Kentucky. Who in their right mind would do that anyway? Especially so short after signing that big contract with our new client? The biggest for a decade and one of our main art designers goes on holiday. She can be so selfish” Samantha indicated her agreement with a poignant nod.
“It is terrible what she put all of us through, but especially you Bradley.”
“Oh, I know,” he cockled with theatrical impudence and rested his chin on his left hand while he still held Samantha’s hand.
“After all what I have done for her. I mean, where would she be without my guidance? At least you understand the toil and pain. What would I do without you Sam?”
Within seconds he had managed to throw out the bait and Sam in her girlish callowness had taken it. Bradley liked the game more than anything else and, unlike Samantha, held no further intensions to take this further. At least, for the moment. Doors should never be fully closed, but left ajar, and with this calculative thought in the back of his mind he had lived very comfortably for most of his adult life.
As quickly as he drew Sam in to his vicious little circle, the quicker he’d let go of Sam’s hand and waved with his credit card at the waiter, who reluctantly made his way through the dining room.
Like a good old cavalier Bradley swaggered importantly across the floor as he guided his companion with one hand very low on her back to the door and stepped into the limousine with her which waited outside to take them back to their office.
Of course, did he not ignore the curious looks he gathered as he paraded the short distance in his immaculate blue suite and glossy shoes, making sure to let his shady grin do the talking.
The modern offices in Down Town were crisp clean and as flamboyant as the people that were working there. A surreal atmosphere lingered pregnant in the air by all these busy people unnoticed who were rushing along the marbled floor with clicking heels, their noses stuck in papers or on I-pads. Time was money which only fools let pass with meaningless ventures.
Bradley couldn’t help but check his own reflection in the glass doors as he returned to his office before he sat down at his desk.
Going through his inbox he noticed to his own surprise how he was looking for Jeannie’s name. It felt strange not to have heard a single word from her for such a long time now and was not used to not call her. Never before had anyone asked him to stop calling and he wondered what he disliked the most, the fact he was told not to call or the person he wasn’t allowed to call. Checking his schedule again, he tried to find an answer to his discomfort but couldn’t quite figure out what it actually was that kept him from working.
It was already 2:30pm and he still had a lot to do for tomorrow’s presentation and he was getting pretty fed up with himself. He mumbled to himself as he grabbed his cell and dialed Jeannie’s number. To his astonishment went it straight to answer machine. Could it really have been that Jeannie had switched off her phone? Or even worse, blocked him?
“Don’t be silly Brad,” he said with a nervous affliction before the ring signaled him to leave a message. His mouth opened but he was lost for words. In a way he wanted to shout, then again, he wasn’t feeling angry so why should he give her the wrong impression? A few seconds passed before he managed to sort his thoughts.
“Hi Jeannie, it’s me.” He took a deep breath before he continued, “Maybe I’ll catch you next time.” With a flick he dropped his phone on the desk and managed to catch Samantha’s eye as she paraded up and down the hallway in front of his office, parading her immaculate slim figure. Maybe, he thought, Jeannie’s absence was bliss after all.
With a gesture of his hand he invited Samantha to come in who instantaneously followed his plead.
With his irresistible smile, Bradley welcomed the young woman.
“Please excuse me if I mind asking, but I don’t want to eat another night on my own. Would you care joining me for dinner tonight? Only if it is not too much asking, of course.”
Samantha felt how her knees weakened. For how long had she hoped to hear these words coming from his lips. She did not want to sound too overcome with joy although she was screaming on the inside.
Restrained she answered simply “Of course Brad. That would be lovely.”
“Fantastic, I will pick you up at eight. I look forward to it.”
With a beating heart Sam left his office light as a feather while Bradley continued with his presentation. Time was money. And only fools got sidetracked, wasn’t that so?