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A Gray September

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2. Blue

In that first trying week, it hadn’t been easy getting myself back together; it had felt almost damn near impossible. Nothing felt right and nothing seemed to be going my way, leading to long bouts of hopelessly sitting and troublesome thinking. But after days of endless time and ongoing depressing nights; the ones that always ended in a restless tossing and turning–I decided it all had to end somewhere. So I thought, why not there?

Three weeks later it was already time to get back to work, a place I had been dreading even more than just coping with reality. Standing in the elevator, I didn’t know what to expect. By then, I was sure everyone had already heard the news; their reactions entirely unpredictable. I hated sympathy; if I could’ve rid the world of any emotion, sympathy was at the top of my list. It seemed to be just another reason to make the person feeling bad feel worse.

The elevator came to a steady halt, just before opening; drawing in my last deep breath, I stepped out of the compartment with a strong pretense. Many faces greeted me as usual, many of them smiling with sadness as others didn’t even mask it with a smile. Nodding to the familiar onlookers, I walked narrowly down the row of cubicles and desks, barely holding onto my faux smile. This is harder than I thought it would be, I had thought to myself. Pacing on forward, I rounded the corner, sighing heavily once out of sight. I didn’t understand why others made such a big deal out of something that had meant nearly nothing to them?

Coming to a small corner table, my assistant Tara, stood quickly from her desk as she bounded forward hugging me tightly without words. She couldn’t say anything, but you could tell she felt sorry. Patting her shoulder lightly, I quickly felt uncomfortable; the space between us screaming those unspoken words I had muted for so long. I had worked with this woman for four years and although, I’d consider us relatively close, she was always so quiet and professional. Or perhaps it was unexpected seeing how our daily conversations consisted of nothing but scheduling, coffee, and conferences.

Backing away tightly, she straightened her skirt and smiled apologetically; handing me a folder, I nodded curtly to her, walking cautiously down the hallway. This was all too ridiculous, you’d think by the way they were all acting, that they had just lost their own spouses–but no; each sad face, each sympathetic person got to go home to their loved ones. I wish they would have left their sympathy at home to.

Walking into my glass front office, I hung up my coat and bag on the abiding hooks on the wall; there were perks to being a CEO, there was. I mean, I had my own office and worked separately with my own clients; but right then, if the only perk I could admire were the hooks on the wall, then I knew was in desperate need of serious human contact.

I’d always been extremely content with my job and my personal accomplishments; it had taken a lot to be my age and already at the top of everything. But then again as it seemed with great pride came grand displeasure. Being the master of everything and the fool of none, lead to an interesting downfall on one’s part.

Coming around the corner of the narrow desk, I sat heavily in the black leather chair already feeling defeated in the first thirty minutes. Steepling my fingers, I rested my chin against my knuckles, unsure of the amount of stress that I’d be able to handle in a day. Immediately reaching forward, I held down the power button on the monitor. It was time to clear my head of personal problems and get to work, maybe that’s all I needed; something to busy my mind.

The screen flashed on as the computer woke itself from its lengthy slumber as I had tried to stay away from all technology as long as I could; but I could no longer escape it. It was time. I could feel my body begin to fill with dread as I knew what had awaited for me in my undoubtedly packed email.

Cracking my knuckles, I typed in my password and as soon as the screen popped up I had various inbox messages in the far corner, all racking up to a total of one hundred and three unanswered messages; all speaking of congratulations on a happy, successful marriage. Smiling humorlessly at the messages, I thumbed my lip in thought as I looked out the glass walls as a group of passing coworkers ducked their heads in guilt.

They had all sent their love and advice, all without the thought of a depressing, unsuccessful marriage. I mean, honestly, who went to get married and thought of any possibilities of leaving unmarried? Once you get so far into the process, it pretty much feels as if it were set in stone.

One by one, I pulled them into my recycling bin pushing the little red X; it was now as if they had never existed. Sitting back, feeling slightly at ease, I stared at the computer screen for a moment. Pinching the bridge of my nose, I wasn’t sure where to begin in collecting my thoughts–there were just too many to gather.

Eyes roaming about the room, I wasn’t really focused on any one thing; nothing able to hold my exact attention. I had three reports to do, a conference to hold and–clicking the spam folder, there was one lonely email; waiting. Opening it, it had been from a very familiar user name, one that I was use to getting emails from. It was Janine.


From: Janine Tucker

Subject: I’m Sorry

Date: August 5 2015 1:24 PM

To: Alexander Rowan


I am sorry for how things went and I’m sure I am the last person you want contact from right now. I went to the apartment today and packed some of my stuff; it will be gone by the time you get home, I hope, in order to not inconvenience you. I left the spare key on the counter. I have also decided to move my practices elsewhere; having taken a new position at one of the headquarters in San Francisco...It’s better off this way, wouldn’t you think? I’m sorry, but we/you must not dwell on the bad; just think...now I’m not in the way of you finding your true love.

-Janine ♥

Pushing myself away from the desk I turned over my shoulder, leaning into the windowsill peering out over the city below. She doesn’t want to inconvenience me? That was practically laughable. Staring back at the screen in disbelief, it had felt like a practical slap in the face; first she ran out on our marriage, then she packs her stuff and was now permanently leaving? I mean, I knew I couldn’t hold onto her forever, a complete lost cause on my part, but was there no dealing with this as adults? Running away from this felt far from mature, yet it was the easier way out, I suspect. At least this would help me cope with what couldn’t have been, rather than what could’ve; without her in my face on a constant daily basis.

We had once been told that if we made it through high school as a couple, we would be the lucky ones; that to be married to her would be incredible, but the chances we’d lose each other along the way were far greater. I never understood that concept; having so many years under one’s belt and then to throw it all away–

There was a light tap on my door as the main man of the building, Derek Frease walked in. He was holding a thick tan file, which he quickly tucked under his arm. Straightening his tie, he helped himself to one of the two matching chairs in front of my desk, laying the folder down on the adjacent side table.

“I’d like to start off by saying, I’m sorry for all the calamity. I know it’s tough losing someone like that, I would know, my first two wives screwed me over to.” He grumbled, a humorous smile on his face, “But long story short, we need to make a deal with Open Concept Studio and pretty fast.” Blinking for a moment, I had been taken aback with the sudden shift of topics, taking a second to catch up; I had asked for no sympathy.

“Our stocks are going down as theirs are going up, working with them would improve our chances of making some serious cash and up-ing our industry growth. Now I need the best man I can get, so I was hoping you’d be up to doing it?” Looking down at my twiddling fingers, my last few sells had been practice calls and after the last week, I wasn’t sure if I was up to my game for something so major. Otherwise, one would usually gather a team to perform a pitch, not going single handed; it was unethical.

“I’d be more than pleased to, but–” Cutting me off with a motion of his hand, he dropped the folder in front of me on the desk with a hard smack.

“Good, I’m sure you’ll have no problem; you are very well known as one of New York’s youngest successors, Rowan. It’ll be an easy sell. Now you’ll need to be there by twelve forty-five, no later.” He pointed. “I’ll have your car waiting for you. My driver will take you to and from there, and I don’t expect you to leave without a deal. Do you understand?” Sitting back in involuntary agreement, I nodded in a perturbed fashion. Nodding in response to me curtly, he stood and turned leaving, letting the door fall shut hardly behind him.

Well I guess that’s that. I had no say in it, but then again, I choose to work in the business field–did I really think I’d have much of a choice in really anything? I looked down at the clock in the right hand corner of the screen; it was already ten fifteen and I hadn’t even had my morning coffee. Pressing the page button on my phone, the green light flashed signifying that Tara had picked up on the other end.

“Yes, Mr. Rowan?” She answered, a slight distance in her voice.

“Send for my car, right away. Make note that I’d like to stop for coffee first.” Talking into the phone, I shuffled through some papers gathering up extra material, not really sure what I’d need. “Oh, and move the conference from this afternoon to next Tuesday, if you will.”

“Will do sir, will that be all?” Hanging up immediately, that was enough to tell her without wasting words. She was a darling lady, and I held no issues with her; but I was here to work and the constant distance and sadness in her voice, wasn’t the nature I needed right now. She among many of other friends here, always let their personal problems and emotions interfere with their jobs; something I couldn’t deal with or handle right now.

Gathering the last of my papers and the tan folder, I slipped into my jacket; leaving the opposite way I came in, I wasn’t prepared to face the sea of sad faced individuals. Heading down twenty six floors on stairs, I began to feel that this was just what my life was all about. A strenuous constant of ups and downs.

The car was waiting off centered at the curb, picking me up just in time to follow a close cut schedule; still having to make it to the Starbucks down the street, then all the way across the city and over into Brooklyn; that was definitely cutting it close on time. The sleek black Fisker Karma was welcoming and gave me a odd sense of pride as I slid inside; buckling in, I laid back, sitting my bag aside.

Exhaling heavily, I looked about the luxurious car in search of something to capture my restless attention. The interior was plush, clean, and perfectly spotless. Having spent over seventy five thousand on the car, I had only driven it a select few number of times, myself; otherwise I was always a passenger.

Through several stoplights and around several blocks, I had removed the tan folder from my satchel as I had began to study its contents. Flipping through the stack, it was nothing more than financial data and every reason in the book as to why this deal would benefit us both; the usual useless information. Coming to the curb, the car idled curbside as I pushed open the door and climbed tiredly from the car. Driving forward, he began to circle around the block, wasting time.

The late summer wind gushed through the streets, the warm yet nippy air forcing me to wrap my coat tighter around me. Opening the door quickly, the aroma of coffee and pastries splashed over me with a crisp warmth. I loved the smell of coffee, it was natural and earthy; very calming.

Walking to the front of the counter; a young blonde smiled at me, her eyes roaming over me modestly as her lips puckered in a shy smile. She couldn’t have been more than nineteen and her wide framed hipster glasses had given off an even more childish appeal.

Scanning over the menu as if I’d even attempt to get anything other than my usual, everything seemed to have its own tasteful appeal. Shockingly they were already preparing for the pumpkin/cinnamon raid that would eventually fall over the nation the day autumn hit our calendars; Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Cinnamon Chai Teas, Cinnamon Roll Frappuccinos.

“I need one Vanilla Crème Frappuccino, to go.” Nodding happily, she bounced away beginning to pour the mixture of ingredients over ice in the blender. Taking her time she turned expediently, pouring the slush in the clear cup; spraying on the whipped topping as she drizzled the caramel over the top, placing the iconic green straw in it.

Attempting a smile, I grimaced, handing her the money; giving her whatever was left as the tip. These days I was being overly generous I assume; her footsteps chasing me out the door as she tried handing me the extra twenty. Putting my hand up in protest, I climbed into the warm cab of my car pulling my coat around me. I could feel her absent stare through the tinted window, before tucking the money into her apron pouch smiling and going back inside. Feeling slightly warm and fuzzy inside, I frowned immediately upon feelings anything but useless, sipping on the sweet airy slushy.

Dashing hazardously through traffic, we quickly reached Open Concepts promptly. The dash clock read twelve thirty-six, giving me enough time to reach the third floor and organize the papers for proper use. The rest was in faith’s hands. Breathing deeply, I had felt slightly nervous about running the meeting alone.

Checking in with the front desk administrator, she gave me the okay as I shuffled toward the bay of elevators. The door instantly opened as I walked up with perfect timing. Stepping into the compartment, I pressed the third button to the left immediately standing quietly against the back wall. Surrounded by various other business men and women, all consecutively going to different floors. The business life was a busy life. In the quietness that was office small talk, I relaxed moderately as I sipped my coffee, waiting patiently for the twenty second.

The car stopped with a light jolt as the door opened slowly, giving me enough time to find proper composer. Straightening the bottom of my suit, I walked out the metal doors, dropping the half full cup into the trash bin. Maybe I was so generous in the beginning, because I was always so wasteful in the end.

Walking down the long hall, I opened the first door on my left; there were at least four people sitting at the large oak table and three standing against the wall. All chatter stopped almost immediately, all having been waiting on me to arrive. Strolling in with false apparent confidence, I walked coolly to the table, making eye contact with various members of the company.

Unbuckling the flap of my satchel, I spread the papers out in front of me, laying the more important pages on top. Peering quickly up at them, I motioned for the three standing to take their seats. Grabbing up a pen, I tried preparing myself, monotonously clicking the tip nervously.

Pulling out their chairs, they sat readily to listen as I passed out the pages of information, peeking at the clock. Twelve forty-five, right on time. Clasping my hands together, I mustered a sincere smile.

Here we go.


Standing in the middle of my living room, I leisurely pulled on my Navy trousers tucking in the bottom of my crisp white button down. Strolling into the kitchen, I buttoned the cuffs of my sleeves as I pulled the shirt straight and tight. Catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror mounted over the dining table, my suit gave off the impression of confidence and assurance; everything that I simply was not.

Opening the china cabinet to my right, I retrieved one slender globe from its resting place, pouring myself a glass of white wine; I couldn’t help but feel indifferent about the upcoming events. I hated going to the annual get together; it was another needless reason to put us all in the same room to talk about the same damn things we did everyday.

What I wouldn’t have given to just stay home, watch a movie or clean; anything is less intolerable than being forced to socialize; but being the CEO and head of the operations team, I had to be there; it was completely mandatory for team leaders and those in management positions to attend.

Peering over my shoulder, the clock had just blinked eight causing me to exhale heavily. The party started at nine, but I had to be there by quarter til, in order to let Derek in on the good news of earlier’s successful pitch. Lifting myself off the edge of the counter, I dumped the rest of the wine into the sink, rinsing the glass. Snatching up my needed belongings from the breakfast bar, securing my watch to my wrist. Heading to the door, I opened it, throwing my coat over my shoulder as I headed out; still feeling completely unprepared.

Stepping into the hallway, I left my apartment in complete confidence that I was not only remembering everything, but that I would be home soon enough that it wouldn’t really matter anyways. Making my way down toward the lobby, where I was kindly greeted by various members of the staff cleaning up for the night, I walked through the revolving doors and out into the nippy night.

The Karma was already waiting for me curbside; climbing in, we only had to drive a few blocks before stopping again to pick up, Tara. I know what you’re thinking, and no: she is a mere business associate. Assistant. Coworker. Friend.

Creeping forward, the night traffic wasn’t as thick as usual making our travels much faster and smoother. Coming to a slow halt, we pulled up to the front of her apartment within five minutes, finding her already waiting on the outside stoop. She was decked out in a forest green dress that came to her ankles, her feet strapped in what appeared to be 90′s styled platform heels. The dress was very modest, only revealing the skin on her arms and collarbone.

Her hair was in a tight bun, one that was neat and smooth despite its few loose strands. Her shawl was tied gently around her hips, her face shadowed with a slight comfortable smile. Bouncing forward lightly, she slid into the car with ease as she smiled at me, closing the door behind her.

“Where’s Jace?” I asked, having expected her husband to accompany her and on the brighter side, making the inevitable small talk easier and more comfortable. I wanted to keep my mouth busy and her mind occupied before anything else could be said.

“He’s staying home with the kids, the babysitter cancelled on us at the last minute.” She answered with a nod. Almost as soon as she had spoken, she then turned her attention up front to ensure that it was just her and I. “How ya doing, Alex?” She whispered, trying to seem nonchalant in asking.

That was exactly what I was trying to avoid. “I’m fine, Tara, really.” I smiled sideways, not really meaning it. She reached over without looking and squeezed my hand; I squeezed back lightly. She was a good woman, and although, I don’t appreciate bringing up something I’m obviously avoiding, I knew she was doing it with good intentions in mind.

“I am sorry.” She smiled kindly, taking her hand back. “We’ve been friends for so long, I hope you do know I am here to talk...if you need to.” Moving my hand elsewhere, I began to feel the hollow sadness coat my insides once more. The car went silent.

Checking my watch periodically, I didn’t want to be very late, despite the fact that I didn’t want to be there at all. Lifting my wrist to my eyes for the fifth time, her hand shot out, lowering my hand forcefully. “It’s eight fifty-five...a minute later than it was the last time you checked it.” Smiling calmly, she looked away; her hand laid to rest on my arm. It was a warm touch, a well needed friendly one at that.

Pulling up to the curb, I jumped out quickly to my left running to open her door. Opening it, I held my hand out; I may be uptight at times, but I’m nothing if not a gentlemen. She looked at me for a moment, before I leaned in grabbing her hand gently, lifting her from her seat.

“Thank you.” She whispered, pulling her shawl behind her. Gently grabbing it, I wrapped her shawl around her shoulders. Taking that first step forward, I grabbed a hold of her hand, holding it tightly. “Ready?” She asked, smiling delicately.

Squeezing, I nodded lightly as she took that next step forward leading the way. Up the rounded stairs and into Catrio, it felt so monotonous entering that place as I had so many times before. Holding open the large glass door, we entered into the darkened lobby. The room was dimmed in an effort to appear more relaxed and classy.

Moving swiftly together, we joined into the group ahead, all waiting for the elevator to take the next group. Eventually the doors opened, the square compartment blinding us all with its brilliant fluorescence against the nonexistent light in the hall. Stepping forward at once, we all squeezed in together, fitting into the elevator as we were all going to the same floor.

Waiting patiently and chatting amongst ourselves, we were heading to the spacious seventh floor; that floor was where all the company and corporate parties and luncheons were held. The room was immense in size with various rooms attached for other purposes and needs. Containing a small kitchen, a bar, a coat room, and then the main room where everyone gathered to socialize; which was basically all that was done there.

When the doors opened and everyone dispersed, I felt a moment of stalled feeling as I felt the need to cower away toward the wall. I hadn’t seen these people in weeks and after recent events, I knew the topic that would be up for discussion that night. Pulling me forward gently, Tara nodded to me, coaxing me out into the room. Walking in, the first man I met I handed him my over coat and hers as he went on his way to the holding room. Feeling slightly timid, I loosened my tie and went in search of a quieter place to linger and maybe a good glass of wine.

“Alexander–” She whispered, squeezing my hand. I knew she was asking if I’d be okay alone, in so little words. She was a good friend. Leaning in, I kissed her cheek lightly.

“Go.” I motioned, pushing Tara to go off on her own. She was an assistant and a friend, not my guardian or in any way obligated to keep me company. She nodded curtly, before drifting into a medium sized group over by the food table.

Finding a small single sofa, plush and white, I decided that would be my spot until the party was over. In my opinion it couldn’t end fast enough; I disliked social gatherings such as these, it was uncomfortable and a usual failed attempt at trying to prove that in some way we were all alike opposed to our jobs.

Looking about the room, I watched the others socialize, all laughing and giggling, small talks, and serious conversation. Dancing and drinking, eating, and seducing. All the luxuries of a company party bottled into one gigantic room.

A server walked by slowly as I reached out to snag a glass of wine. Sitting back, taking a sip; Cabernet Sauvignon. Excellent choice. Looking out over the dance floor, the usual women and men that I see everyday sitting behind desks and typing in cubicles, all looked flavorful and fierce.

Who is that? I asked myself as a particular woman had caught my eye; looking at the backside of a very amorous red head. Her dress was a matching fiery red, one that came mid-thigh, no lower; her legs were like creamsicles, netted in pale stockings; soft and smooth, glistening in the low light. She appeared to be a dazzling beauty.

The red hair spilled in waves down her back, bouncing with each twist and turn of her erotic dance. Biting my lip in the corner, I couldn’t picture her face or pinpoint a name; she wasn’t someone I seemed familiar with in the office.

Standing up, I straightened my suit; downing the last bit of my drink sitting the glass confidently aside. For once I was going to give myself a night of guilty pleasure, putting all past aggression behind me. Maybe I was being a bit naive and arrogant, and maybe I had the wrong intentions in mind for a man who wasn’t even close to getting over his own drama. But just for one night, I wanted to go home with someone I didn’t know, one night of understanding a stranger, one night of peaceful bliss, one night of no caring. Or in other simple terms, a one night stand–and no, I wasn’t usually as slutty.

Coming up behind her, I put my hand on her shoulder as she turned with a brilliantly welcoming smile. Her eyes pierced into mine heavily, everything falling away at once. Those delicious red lips curled into a devilish smile as my jaw fell open in disbelief as her entrancing beauty was one that had captured thousands of hearts before.

“Alexander.” She whispered, wickedly.

I was definitely in hell.


“Janine?” I gasped, her eyes continuously looking me up and down in feverish lust. Her hand outstretched to tenderly rub my upper arm as she smiled with an infernal twist.

“Hello, Alexander. Long time, no see.” Her voice was twinkling, she sounded so...pleasant? Laughing humorlessly, I had stepped out of her reach, her hand falling lightly to her side. How could she be so naïve? So pleased with herself? This had been the first time we had seen one another since the incident and my attitude wasn’t bound to improve.

“Yes. A very long time.” I answered coldly. It’s been what–three and a half weeks? Biting my tongue, I hadn’t wanted to get started on something I may not have been able to stop or control.

“God, why so glacial? How have you been–”

“Janine cut the small talk. I have nothing to say to you, and I could honestly care less what you have to say to me.” Cutting her off, in one swift motion I turned to walk away as she did her usual prissy, hand on the hip move.

“Excuse me? You’re the one who came over here, need I remind you,” She had spoken loudly, trying to draw attention to us. Various people in our vicinity began staring between us as if it were a live soap opera unfolding just for them; they weren’t bound to ignore it either. It was about as interesting as some of their lives would get that night, “Besides, I honestly don’t know why you’re so upset.” She rolled her eyes.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked leaning forward, loudly whispering. “I’m not upset, I’m pissed off! Janine, what you did–”

“It was an accident! An honest mistake. We never meant to–”

“Meant to what? Leave without an explanation? Without a decent goodbye? Or back out of our marriage for a man you haven’t seen in four and a half years?” Her eyes seemed bored, her lips pursed, but not once had she looked directly at me. She connected with everyone else, even him; whose presence I could feel closely. But not once with me,“Janine, you’re not even listening to me.”

“I explained myself!” She argued, immediately boring into me with cold eyes. “I think it’s time for you to let it go.”

“You hurt me...you severely wounded me. Just let it go?” I scoffed. “You were supposed to be my partner, the love of my life, yet all you did was hurt me. And you didn’t even have the goddamn common courtesy to look me in the eye and do it!” At that point causing a scene was bound to have happened either way, why not have just lost all control?

Looking quickly away from her, the sight of her had made me almost despondent and ill. Since that day, I had played the scene over and over in my head; the various things I’d love to say to this woman, and now, I wasn’t holding back.

“Alex, stop now while you’re ahead of the game. I am here out of courtesy of my resignation. Not to continue to emotionally scar you as you would like to think. I know you are well aware that I have accepted the same position in California. I’m leaving. And this, this is my final goodbye to you.” Leaning forward, she pursed her lips to kiss my cheek; turning my head away, she grinned ruefully. Walking away leisurely she joined arms with Richard, heading hellishly toward the exit.

I needed to sit down.

Moving at a sedated pace I had found a vacant chair in a far off corner, dumping myself in. I couldn’t comprehend everything that had been said between us. Was it wrong to say I hated her? That I had hoped to never see her again? Maybe it was the typical feeling, but in the end it was a true feeling that felt real.

Eventually voices rose above a whisper and the conversations erupted around the room once more. The room felt as if it was moving way too fast as I looked for the nearest waiter with an alcoholic beverage. I had sincerely needed a nice chilled Bruichladdich X4.


Five heavy alcoholic drinks later, my body tingled all over; I, at that point, was as light as a feather. Not light as in weightless, but light as if all the burden and feeling had been lifted off my shoulder and had vanished.

“Alex, are you ready to go?” Turning sloppily toward Tara, I had been immediately rushed with the overwhelming sense of shame. Checking my watch it appeared to be closing in on eleven, the party already dying down. Mostly everyone had work in the morning and I honestly had no real reason to stay there anyways.

Looking up at her for a moment, I had slightly pondered on the idea of who Tara really was. The thing about Tara Blake was, she wasn’t rich and she had three young children with her lazy husband who had been out of a job since last May and honestly quit looking for a new one that same moment. She didn’t have a car and had only enough money to feed her family; nothing more and nothing less.

Nonetheless, she was a generous woman who had devoted her days to being my assistant and my warming friend. Maybe being a partially arrogant man with tons of money had been the reason behind my misfortunes. Looking over me worriedly, she grasped my wrinkled sleeve pulling me gently to my feet. “Yeah, let’s go.” I whispered; my senses tragically impaired, my vocals slurred and my vision blurred a bit. Bouncing back and forth in between the scarce people, my motor skills seemed to also be lacking.

“Mr. Rowan, hows about I drive?” She nodded suggestively and encouraging. Thinking hard, I slightly remember having dismissed my driver for the night, leaving us with the keys to get home on our own. Wanting to argue, being that the car was so expensive and I honestly didn’t feel that intoxicated, and yet I was building a strenuous list already of my own continuous bad judgement.

Handing her my keys stubbornly, she wrapped her arm around me stumbling awkwardly into the elevator. As it went down slowly, I stood leaning against the wall, vowing deep inside that I would never drink again–or at least publicly. Not because I felt so horrible or an overwhelming sensation of indignity, but because it had gave me a sense of relief and it was that relief that was too hard to bounce back from when I would open my eyes the next morning to a false sense of hope.

When the elevator finally opened back on the first floor, she lead me by the arm to the revolving door as we whirled outside into the chilly air. Leading the way to the sleek black car she opened the back door, dumping me in.

There you have it, I was pathetically useless.

I’m not sure when and I’m not sure where, but somewhere from here to there I passed out in the seat giving into the excessive amount of alcohol, leaving me with only my last coherent thoughts to occupy me.


“Alexander, uninvite him!” She burst through the common room door, closing it heavily behind her with her hip; locking us in the break room alone. “He cannot be at that wedding!” Leaning back onto the counter using my lower back and arms for support, I listen, bracing myself for her strenuous rant.

“Who? Janine there over a hundred and fifty-two guests. Need I ask you to please be a little more specific?” Sauntering forward slowly and seductively, she drops the manila folders on the round lunch table. Leaning up against me she locks her leg around my thigh, tangling her feet with mine playing with my black tie. Kissing my face her delicate lips and tongue graze over mine, leaving me with her delicious taste. And just like that, she is gone, standing back up right.

“Richard! I said no ex’s at the wedding, that’s why we didn’t invite Claire. Too much can happen.” She pouts, sitting in one of the mix matched chairs crossing her legs tightly. I am beginning to gather, that my wife to be is possibly a tease.

“That was before college, Janine, none of us have feelings for each other anymore. Not you and Richard, not Clarie and I.” I shrug, turning back to the brewing coffee pot.

“You don’t believe in the past coming back to haunt you?” She pushes. What does it matter? This day is suppose to be about us, not them. Turning back, I blink at her in strange amusement.

“We didn’t invite Claire because I haven’t seen her in about four or so years.” I whisper to her, my attention turning back to retrieve a mug from the cabinet. “And no, my only past to remember is you, and I wouldn’t exactly call it haunting.” I tease.


“No, I believe the past is the past. We never actually relive that, only the present and the impending future, it’s impossible to work backwards.” I shake my head, turning to look over my shoulder. She is staring at me with those eyes...God, those eyes.

Bending down I pretend to re-tie my shoe before I kneel forward, sliding my hands along her lower leg as she leans in closer to my face. Reaching out, she holds my jaw between her hands as she presses her forehead to mine.

“Yes, but things can happen.” She challenges, gripping a handful of my hair. Opening her eyes to mine, the green emeralds dazzle me with smoldering beauty. Holding my hands out in front her, she cuffs them together looking at me deeply.

“It can only happen if you let it–if you want it to.” I press, suddenly all playfulness aside. Standing stiffly, I move away from her moving to the side. Sifting through her paperwork, she began to gather the sheets that have fallen on the floor.

“You never know. That flame...it could always rekindle. Bringing up old memories...It could be imperative.“Pulling her to her feet, I grip her behind her ear, pulling her face into mine as I kiss her soft, moist lips. That kiss, each time reminds me of why I love her; her tenderness, her stubbornness, and her jealousy–all the things, I found attractive in a woman.

“Why mess with the past, when we need to be looking at the future. Our future.” I whisper, nibbling on her ear in temptation.


Opening my eyes, I had practically jumped from the dream. Laid face down on my sofa, all the noise around me seemed to have been amplified times ten. Rolling over uneasily, I dragged a sloppy hand down my face in an attempt to pull myself from the tiring sleepiness.

Turning my head to the side, I looked around the room feeling as if I was truly seeing things with open eyes. Bookcases, table tops, walls, and shelves; everywhere around me had her name on it, whether it be something she purchased, memorabilia of our life together, or a simple photo; my home was no longer comfortable. She was there, everywhere; and yet, my house had never been so empty, never had there been so many blank faces.

That was it. That was where I had to listen to the truth, no matter how long I’d denied it. There was where I had to face it, the cold facts that haunted me deep down. I had to know, I had to–she wasn’t coming back. She wasn’t mine. At least not anymore.

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