The rest of that day I spent twirling around my head in a field of imaginary peonies. I was in a state of absolute bliss. I was also fortunate to work in a salon where I could get the mani/pedi and a new set of foils all done before the end of the week. One of the girls here could just do me after work one day. And that also meant paying a pretty cut rate. So the $1,500 American Express was really going to help me. I could fill up my car for the trip and buy a few new outfits from TJ Maxx for the weekend and the rest I could use to pay bills. (Thank God for the gifted Coach bag.) Wow..I thought to myself, it is amazing how things work out like they do. I was so behind on every bill. Behind on everything basically. That money was really going to help me out.
I was so happy that I had dressed myself up that day. As I was leaving work, carrying my humongous bouquet of pink peonies and red roses to my car, I felt so good about myself. Holding my (gifted) designer purse, wearing my best clothes with my makeup on point. I rode all the way home with those flowers seat belted into my beater of a car and I literally felt like I was driving home in a Mercedes. It was an amazing feeling. I cannot explain it and it may sound silly but I felt 10 feet tall. I felt so pretty and so appreciated. Accordingly so, I had never had a flower delivery and this one was more grand than any I’d ever seen be delivered before.
But that appreciation soon turned to doubt, and questions, and fear of not knowing. What in the hell did I just get myself into? What is he going to want in return? I’m assuming sex, eye roll. That’s all men ever want. Speaking of men, I hadn’t even texted Eric when I got home because I was mulling over a way to tell him I needed a break. But a break that would end once I had my rendezvous with LB. You see, as crazy as it sounds I didn’t want to screw up my definite O’charley’s date on Friday nights for something that could be so fleeting. There was no way I could have a real relationship with someone LB’s age. What would my parents say? But, then again, I am very sure they also wouldn’t approve of me walking down the isle with Eric and his mad crew of clowns in tow either. So what the heck did I have to lose? I guess I am all in.
That following day was extremely busy and daunting for me at school. Although very diligent in my studies, I have never really loved school or been that great at it. Most things I could do well but some none at all. I just cannot grasp the concept of any sort of Algebra. A week before, I failed a test and after this weeks class I had to spend an hour in a session of math mentorship with a kid that smelled like burnt grease because he wore his work uniform from the fried chicken place to school, and he breathed really loud. I was beyond annoyed. The salon was closed so it was my evening to just unwind. When I got home I was exhausted, annoyed and just wanted to chill, smoke some grass and relax. I came in and did just that. Changed into some comfortable clothes and sat down. Scrolling through my phone to find to solace, I just couldn’t stay focused. My mind kept wondering. I couldn’t take it off LB. What was he doing? Where was he? Why hadn’t I heard from him yet? I was antsy and although tired I just couldn’t sit at home.
I lived with my parents at that time and they would always know when I was there and when I wasn’t. They were cool, not overly worrisome and generally let me do as I please, but they were always nosy. So when I came through the kitchen with my purse, my mom was cooking dinner and she said “Where are you going? Thought you were in for the night? “Ahh I’m bored and Cecilia from work called and wants me to met her for dinner. I’ll be back later.”
As I pulled up to Carrabba’s I wondered to myself if this was the only restaurant I knew about because in all honesty I didn’t have a dinner plan with Cecilia. I just did not want my mom asking too many questions as to why I didn’t want to stay at home and instinctively told her this is where I was going. I made a note to myself to try and pick a new spot. But then I thought to myself, why did I really come here? Was it because It was the last place I had seen my friend and felt some sort of connection with him here. I will be honest, yes, that is exactly why I went there. I was hoping I could send vibes out to him that I was thinking of him and maybe he’d call and being in this place might help me conjure the juju that I needed to get it to him. (Yeah, I know, I was losing my mind) Then I realized how silly I was being and if he wanted to reach out to me he would and there would be no reason to summon Marie Laveau at this time. Besides what on earth did I want him to call for? I knew we could never advance in a relationship. So why was it bothering me so bad that he hadn’t contacted me.
As I sat at the bar eating my dinner by myself, I thought over all the reasons why I wanted him to call. It wasn’t because I was smitten or love at first sight although he was very handsome and turned out to be very lovable and quite a catch. I knew there was no way a true relationship could form between us. He was just a little too old for me, and I would feel weird with him sitting beside me at my moms table for Christmas dinners. But I was so curious by how confident he was, and by what he had said about financial freedom. What did he mean by that? Did he want me to marry him and be his young wife? Was he going to give me a job? I had so many questions and so little answers. I am sure everyone sitting at the bar around me could tell I was in a total haze because I didn’t pick up my phone, I just sat there and thought while I ate my meal, not really ever looking up or at anyone. I had taken a big bite of a bread when I looked up and across the bar from me sat LB. But he wasn’t alone. He had the most Devine looking human being sitting beside him. She was GORGEOUS. Long black hair, very thin petite woman. She had on a tank top that pronounced her chest well. Her breasts silhouetted a perfect pearly white smile. And of course he had a smile from ear to ear. I could tell she was being sweet to him. Whispering something. I could also tell he was really into her. The bite of bread I had taken moments earlier had now lumped up so tight and dry in my throat, that I felt like a snake swallowing prey too big for them and had to either choke it down with a big gulp of tea or regurgitate it right there. Holy shit….. I was so nervous that I started to scramble. Like the fight or flight response had kicked in and all I wanted to do was RUN. I was heartbroken. Wait.. what..heartbroken? Maybe that is not the right word but it felt like heartache in my chest. But it wasn’t heartache because I loved him of course, it was heartache because for once in my life I felt like I was good enough for a man out of my league. Now I felt less than I did before. I didn’t feel good enough for him when I seen her. Her beauty radiated and every man in the restaurant had noticed her at some point. You couldn’t miss her. And here I sat off in the only spot in the bar that is hidden, where no one really looked, the bartenders even overlooked that spot. And I always sat there so I wouldn’t be noticed. He had just given me money and sent me those beautiful flowers and now here he is with someone else? I was so confused. I paid my tab and tried my hardest to not let the tears flow down my face. Thankfully, they were sitting in a place that was off to the side and I, of course was relatively out of view. I snuck right out without him seeing me. I drove home telling myself the whole way that, of course this was too good to be true. What was I thinking? And had it all planned out when he contacted me again I was just going to tell him I hadn’t spent anything on that card yet and he could have it all back. But I just wasn’t comfortable with the situation. Thank goodness I hadn’t blown things off with Eric.
The morning sun had came and I wasn’t feeling so bad about myself. I woke up and had decided that I was going to keep putting my best foot forward and dressing myself up no matter what the circumstances. My granny could have died that day and I was still going to wear those black patent leather pumps to work and pretend I was on top of the world. I guess I had some new profound confidence from the jealousy that set in after seeing the perfect specimen of a woman that was in LB’s presence the night before. Wednesday was the day I worked behind the desk at the salon. I got to answer the phone and make appointments so wearing these cheap heels would be ok because I wasn’t going to be doing much walking. I have always loved a tall shiny black heel. It just exudes confidence and sex appeal. I, of course never could afford a decent pair, so I just got a cute pair by Jessica Simpson from the Ross dress for less, one of the heels was a tiny bit shorter than the other one but no one would ever know. I had only worn them a few times but I felt like a rockstar in them. I paired the pumps with a black denim skinny jean that hit at the ankle, with dramatic slits down the thigh. I threw on a dark grey lacy undershirt and this really rad, fake leather, biker jacket and took off to work.
I felt like a badass as I walked in. No one said anything but I never wore stuff like that to work and I know they noticed. But something had come over me and every since meeting LB. I felt like I needed to keep myself in better condition because you never know when Mr. Right is going to walk by. It was a new perspective I was taking on. So all day I walked around the salon, clicking around in my Jessica Simpson heels feeling good about myself. And trying hard to not think of the night before. It was coming up on lunch time, and I was broke because I had spent my cash taking myself to Carrabbas’s the night before. The plan was to use the AMEX, but when I seen LB with another woman I knew I couldn’t take his money. That also would mean I would be lunch less, unless I wanted to spend money off that card, inwhich I refused to do. I was giving that card back come hell or high water. So of course as we shut down for lunch and everyone left the salon to go eat, I walked to the back where the kitchen was and started grazing through whatever chips, cookies or snacks that were left behind to try and satisfy the need to eat when I heard the salon doorbell jingle. “Oh shit, they didn’t lock the door when they left” I said to myself. I hurriedly swallowed the snacks in my mouth, dusted the crumbs off my shirt, gathered the other free treats in my arm and the big cup of ice water I had made and started heading to the front of the salon to tell the unknowing customer we were closed for lunch. There was an L shaped hallway leading back out front and once you turned the corner you could see the entire front of salon. So I was making my way, just a clicking them heels down the hallway when I turned the corner and the actual heel of the left pump literally busted out from underneath me. My ankle and knee did that weird maneuver where it contorts like your possessed by the devil. As I collapsed to the ground the goldfish and Oreos that were opened up already from where I was being a fatty back in the kitchen, went up in the air basically exploding all over me. Along with the big ass cup of ice water I was carrying. It was the most awful disaster you can imagine. When I looked up to tell the customer I was ok, because obviously it looked like it hurt. My eyes landed on a pair of sky high, red bottomed stilettos and followed all the way up the most gorgeous set of tanned legs.
there she was, LB’s angelic friend from the night before standing over me.
Talk about mortified…..there really isn’t a word for the feeling that I felt when I looked up and seen her. I would have rather been dead than for her to have seen me fall. Behind her stood LB, wearing his expensive blazer, jeans and tanned leather loafers. I was so so embarrassed. He immediately came to my side knowing I was embarrassed and helped me to stand. Me not knowing at this time that the god damn pair of cheap heels I had on were the cause of the fall, I was trying to stand but couldn’t because the heel of that one shoe kept buckling. I kicked the fucking shoes off in a fluster and tried to straighten myself to the best of my ability. Wiping off goldfish, Oreos and standing in ice water, I said “thank you I think I’m ok now that I took off the death traps there” glancing down at the broken pair of cheap high heels. Humor was always my way of taking the spotlight off of my shortcomings, I thought if people laughed at them they wouldn’t be laughing at me, so I tried to make a joke of it. It worked, he chuckled and started helping me pick up the carnage of my snacks. I ran and got some towels to clean up the spill. The whole time the chaos was ensuing LB’s lady just stood quietly and waited for us to clean up the aftermath with a smug look on her face like it was beyond her to see such clumsiness in her view.
After the hallway had been cleaned up from my disastrous, embarrassing fall. LB looked at me and asked why I was eating snacks for lunch when I had the AMEX. I didn’t really now how to respond to him. Considering I was so mad that he was on a date the night before with whoever this was with him. I was too embarrassed to call him out. I just didn’t have the guts to say “Because I think your a scoundrel and don’t want your money”. I was actually at a loss of words. I stuttered around, trying to formulate a sentence. Because in all honestly, now I was even more curious as to who she was, and more so, why he brought her here.
“Colette I want you to meet Adorina. She is going to be like a mentor for you. She is going to help you every step of the way.” Every step of the way? I thought to myself.
When you’re young and you don’t really know who you are in life yet, meeting someone who does know who they are, and confidently portrays that…can be terrifying
“Hi Adorina” I said meekly. She looked at me like my mother did when I was 8yrs old and wouldn’t stop talking in church. I shrunk even more so than before, trying to make myself become invisible to her.
LB spoke up and said “Colette, I have to fly to Oregon today for a conference. Adorina is going to see you are well prepared for the cocktail party. She will make all arrangements for you. I will see you both in a few days ok”?
Uhhh…ok…. thinking to myself, oh shit Adorina looks really happy to be helping me.
He looked at Adorina and gave her the most endearing and reassuring look and said “I’ll be back in a day or two, call Damien if you need anything”. She nodded gingerly at him and I couldn’t help but notice her facial features lighten up when she looked at him. She must love him. But still I hadn’t heard her voice yet. Was she a mute? She didn’t even respond to him? Strange.
LB glanced back at me and gave me a side wink and he walked out the door.