3 TALK TO ME
There are some things you just can’t tell anyone. Sometimes you don’t even admit those things to yourself. You are too scared. You are confused, you don’t want to accept what your heart already knows. Some people call it intuition, some deja vu, others say it is only coincidence. It might only be our mind playing tricks with us. Whatever it is, you push it to the back of your mind, as if you let it manifest, everyone (including yourself) will think you are crazy. And like this you feel safe and secure. You relax, as you managed to convince yourself that nothing is happening, you just imagined it.
Until it happens all over again. And again… You can fool yourself once, maybe even twice, but if there is a message out there for you, these signs won’t stop until you listen. And you have to listen very carefully. And when you do, you will get more confused. At first you won’t understand. It will take a lot of time and concentration. Will you ever figure it out completely? Will you ever be able to fill that emptiness within your soul? You know something is missing, something is not quite right. You are looking at a big puzzle, and you can’t see the whole picture yet. All you have are small pieces. Pieces you have to put together in order to understand. In order to fill that hole. In order for these coincidences, deja vus to make sense.
And you don’t even have a guide. Some pieces you will put in the wrong place. Several times. Until you find where they belong. And then you start over with the next one. And the one after that. Until you get halfway through. And then another piece shows up, which fits in completely – in the middle of the picture, where you already placed a different piece. And adding the new one to it, the picture changes dramatically. You start questioning yourself. You discover that you can put the pieces together in lots of different ways, and get different pictures. This time you work faster. Maybe you can even finish it. This is the point when you get excited, and look forward to the result.
You are proud of yourself. You might even be able to put two-three different pictures together. But until then you only have pieces. Until then you have to believe that you will have the whole puzzle at some point. You need to have faith. Faith to carry on solving the biggest riddle of your life. I think I made it pretty obvious what (or who) is the centre piece in my puzzle. At first I did the obvious: ignored it. I thought he can’t be. Cause if he was, I wouldn’t be able to fill that hole. He was gone and wasn’t coming back. Or so I thought. From time to time I thought I saw his smile in crowds.
Of course by the time I looked back, he was gone. I was pretty sure it was my imagination. I could live with that. At least I had the gift of „seeing” Him with my mind’s eyes. Over and over again. Until it got too much. I couldn’t take it any more. Every time I „saw” Him, my heart broke a little. It wasn’t enough any more. I wanted it all. So I settled for nothing instead, just so it won’t hurt. People say that it doesn’t matter who could you imagine spending the rest of your life with. What matters is who you can’t imagine it without. You could quite rightly ask, how can I say after only seeing Him for 2 seconds that I can’t imagine my life without Him? How can someone possibly form such feeling in the blink of an eye? How can I be dreaming about Him ever since? For years?
Yes, you could ask all these questions. And I wouldn’t be able to answer. I just knew that he was the person I have been looking for all my life. It wasn’t his handsome face, or his exotic smell, neither was it his piercing blue eyes. It was his smile. It was the way he looked at me. In that moment, I knew. I knew that he felt the same. We were looking into each other’s eyes, but we saw each other’s souls. It felt like finally finding home. All the rejection, all the emptiness, all worries vanished. Just like that. I didn’t want that moment to end. But it did. And with that, the world came crashing in over me. I had to forget. I had to shut it off completely. I don’t know how, but I managed to do exactly that.
It hurt, but remembering hurt even more. Because I couldn’t have it all. I thought I was never going to see Him again. It was better like this. It was comfortable. Safe. I had to move on. For my own sake. So I left. I didn’t go back to that little cafe any more. But it haunted me. I had to move as far from there as possible. To be able to resist temptation. I couldn’t go back there again, as I knew He wouldn’t be there. And even though I knew, making sure would have ripped my heart out. I left and never looked back. It didn’t take me long to find a new place to live. A new job. A new life. A life without Him. Or so it seemed.
A couple of years passed and I haven’t seen Him. It would be a lie if I said I never thought of Him again. Although I tried my best to push every thought away. I didn’t allow myself to think about Him. I couldn’t control my dreams though. As if what I denied myself while conscious, came back to haunt me while asleep. Some people don’t remember their dreams. They don’t know how lucky they are! I felt that this was my punishment. For running away. And I was doing it again. Running away from my feelings. Although this time I didn’t have a choice.
"Lia, are you okay?”
I glanced up to see my boss looking at me with concern in her eyes.
"Yes Claire, everything is ok, thank you”
I tried to smile at her, but I guess she sensed that something was wrong. I haven’t been working there long, but she had a way about sensing everything around her. I guess that is why she was so successful. Because she cared for people. She tilted her head slightly, but didn’t say anything. I started to feel uncomfortable under her intense gaze.
"Well, I am always here if you want to talk about it. Anyway, this is the end of your first week with us. I am very pleased with your performance, you learn so quickly. From now on I am going to leave you in charge of my diary. So what have we on for today?”
Her words made me smile – this time genuinely. Without hesitation I opened up the oh-so-boring calendar. Although I have only been here for a week, I really started questioning my choice. I wanted to work in an office, but sitting around and waiting for phone calls doing nothing wasn’t really my cup of tea. Yeah, exactly, this time I guess I didn’t really know what I wanted… If it wasn’t for Claire and the fact that we were helping people, I wouldn’t even have considered working here.
"You have a meeting at 2pm with Lorian Grande, then a telephone conference with the finance team at 4pm.”
"Lorian you said?”
She sounded surprised.
"Yes. Is something wrong?”
"Well, yes. I know this will sound unprofessional, but I completely forgot about Lorian! I have a school meeting to attend with my daughter, and I will hardly be back for the conference. I want you to rearrange that for tomorrow, same time, 4pm. Now the other meeting…”
"Yes? Shall I reschedule that as well?”
Then she looked at me. There was something in her eyes I didn’t like. It made me defensive and uncomfortable, but didn’t know why. A little smile was playing on her lips.
"Well… This might be good actually. I wanted to introduce you to him anyway, as he will be the main contact for the work we do. Could you greet him instead of me?”
Whoa, after one week? Really? Well, I guess it can’t get worse anyway.
"Uhm, ok, but won’t he want to talk to you instead? I’m new here, he might feel offended.”
"Don’t worry dear, he will be happy to meet you. I already told him about you, and he can’t wait to meet you in person. And anyway, he should better like you, as I will soon leave you in charge of his contract”.
He can’t wait to meet me? What’s that supposed to mean? The way she looked at me suggested something I didn’t like. And all of a sudden I knew what my problem was with all her sweet and oh-so-fake smile. It contained a warning. I just didn’t know about what.
"Sure, no problem.”
"Great, see you tomorrow”
And with that she left the office. I exhaled sharply. I didn’t even realize I was holding my breath. Calm down Lia, he is only a client. Yeah, but an important one, as I gathered. Especially if Claire didn’t want me to rearrange the meeting. But who is this person? And if I will be in charge of his contract (whatever that means) then am I not supposed to know a bit more? Surely she remembered she had a meeting. Something was out of place here. I could feel the goose bumps already. Actually, now that I think about it, all day I had this weird feeling that I couldn’t push away, no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t bad, it was just unusual, and yet oh-so-familiar. A shiver ran through me and I tried o dismiss the thought. I glanced at the clock.
Ten more minutes till the meeting. To distract myself, I looked around the office. I didn’t normally come in here during the day, I had a small desk in the main office. Usually Claire came out to give me instructions for the day, but today was different. I guess I will have to spend more time here in the future. It is small, but cozy. I could get used to the thought of working here. The mahogany desk I was sitting at was nice and tidy, the black leather chairs comfortable. The whole room was clean, and Claire always made sure there were fresh flowers on the little table near the window. She chose roses for today. As I was looking at the flowers, something caught my attention. A little piece of paper, sticking out from underneath the vase. I stood up to look at it more closely. It seemed to be a note. I took it out and opened it
Beautiful flowers for a beautiful lady.
I just hope one day you will give me a chance.
I folded the note quickly and put it back where I found it, feeling guilty. Why did I just do that? This is so not my day… I don’t have right to…
"Khm, I don’t want to interrupt, but I guess you are Lia, Claire’s new assistant”
I nearly jumped, when I heard that voice. When did he open the door? And why didn’t I hear it? Oh that’s right, I was reading Claire’s note. But who is this guy? It takes me a few seconds to remember the meeting. But wasn’t he supposed to be one of our clients? Now as I heard, most of our clients are older, but this man… Well, his voice suggests that he is much younger than I thought. And why is it so familiar? And why is it so sexy? And why does it sound like Him? Oh Lia stop it, you never even heard his voice… But still, this voice would fit Him perfectly, just how I imagined it would be, deep as the ocean and sexy as hell…
"Uhm, not that I want to complain, but I thought I will meet you face to face”
Huh? Oh, of course, I am still with my back towards him. I completely screwed up, and if I survive this, I’m sure Claire will kill me. I don’t have too much to lose, so I quickly turn around, thinking about a polite excuse for my dumbness, and then I freeze. I can’t believe my eyes.
It can’t be! It is impossible!
For a brief moment it seems like he recognizes me as well. He looks at me, completely shocked. But then it is gone. Just like that. He looks me up and down, and I start shivering. How is this even possible? He is as handsome as the first time I saw him, but something is different. He cut his hair. Not that I can complain, it suits him. But I guess anything would suit him. I just stand there looking at him. What looking? Staring. I try to regain my composure, but I can’t. I have to sit down. Now! I manage a weak smile, but it takes all my strength.
"I know you are knew here, but don’t worry, I don’t bite”
Oh you don’t? What the hell is wrong with me? I guess I will need a drink after this. But for now, I have to keep it together. Does he not remember me? Or he just doesn’t care? It seems like he is ignoring the fact that I recognized him, and he is even laughing at me. Ok then, if he wants to play it like that…
"Oh it’s not that, I just admired the flowers while I was waiting for you, and you see I got so distracted I haven’t realized you were here.”
There, I did it. And I even managed to smile (hopefully) innocently.
"Is that so?”
He narrowed his eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes. But a smile was playing at his lips.
"Do you get distracted quite often?”
Shit, this is not going the way I wanted.
"Uhm, yes, if I see something beautiful and natural”
"You are like me then”
He says and looks into my eyes. His gaze is so intense I have to look away. I’m not so sure we are only talking about the flowers any more.
"Would you like a cup of tea?”
I offer instead.
He looks at me questioningly, as if wondering if now I’m the one making fun of him, but then he replies with a smile.
"Thanks, that would be nice.”
"Sure, please have a seat while you are waiting.”
And with that, I left the room. Suddenly I felt so hot, I had to go to the ladies before I made my way to the canteen. As I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me. Her eyes were beaming, she was happy and sexy as hell. Wow, no one made me feel like this before- except for Him in my dreams. Oh how many times I dreamt about this. Actually I might be dreaming right now. A stab of disappointment rushed through me at the thought. I had to hold it together. Just till I got home. Then I could forget this all happened (if it is really happening at all). Because clearly he is only here for fun. Maybe if I did stop back then, this would have been all we had: fun. I can’t bear the thought. All those years I believed that we had something special, even if only for a brief moment. Something we shared. Something He felt too. Well, maybe I was wrong. Then a horrible thought started to form in my head What if he looked at other girls like that? What if it didn’t mean anything to Him at all? What if I wasn’t the only one?
After what seemed like hours I walked back into the office, holding his tea in my shaking hands. I handed it to him, and waited for his reaction. He thanked me, and the way he lifted his cup to his lips was killing me. He did it so slowly, just as he did back then in front of the cafe. And he smiled at me, exactly the way he did that day. Lia, stop, he is doing it on purpose, and it’s not the first time either! YOU are not the first one either!
His whispering voice made my mind go blank in an instant.
"So is this your first week here?”
I managed to whisper back eventually. When did I start stuttering??
"I see. Did Claire tell you who I am?”
Uhm, did she? It is so hard to remember…. Oh, yeah, I remember now.
"Well, she mentioned that you are one of our clients whose contract I am going to be in charge of in the future.”
His eyebrows shot up, but he recovered quickly from his surprise.
"Is that so? I guess we will have plenty of time to learn more about each other then, Lia”
Oh my, as if his look and his voice weren’t enough, the way he said my name made my knees buckle. No, actually I forgot I had knees at all. Whether I was the only girl he did this to or not. (Probably not, as he was such an expert, he knew exactly what to say and when and how).
"Well, I’m afraid today’s one was a short visit only, just wanted to introduce myself. You know, first impression and all”
Oh, he is really enjoying this. Well, I’m not.
"Oh don’t worry, I guess we both know that there is no second first impression, right? But I promise next time I will be more prepared.”
I was completely and utterly shocked by his remark. I might even have let my jaw drop.
"Oh thanks for the tea by the way, it was very nice, just the way I like it”
And with that he stood. Oh God, can someone be this tall? He didn’t seem surprised at all that I haven’t answered him for like 5 minutes… He held out his hand.
"Nice to meet you Lia”
He held my hand just a second longer than necessary.
"I will talk to you soon.”
And with that, he left. I was never so glad that no one could see me as the tears started to roll down my face, ruining my make-up and breaking my heart – yet again.
4 THE INVITATION
That night I couldn’t sleep. How could I? His smile didn’t let me. When I lost hope of seeing Him again, when I was sort of ok with it, when I thought I have finally moved on, then there he was, as breathtaking as ever. I know I promised that I won’t think about Him. I know I pushed my feelings aside. Just because I thought I will never see Him again. And now, that the unimaginable happened? I mean, what were the odds? How is it possible that I meet someone I met exactly the same day years ago on the other side of the city? So much happened since then, and still it was as if nothing changed, as if we were still there, in front of that cafe. But it only lasted for a second, then his expression changed and I couldn’t read it any more.
Did he really know who I was? Or was it my mind playing tricks on me again? And why did he still have the same effect on me? It was hard enough to get over Him and find someone else before, as no one even compared to Him. Not even a little bit. And now? Now it will be impossible. At least then I didn’t know how he would sound like. I didn’t know how his hands would feel like holding mine. It was left to my imagination. But now I knew exactly what it was like, and I also knew that I wouldn’t be able to forget it.
What if I didn’t have to?
No! I can’t allow myself to dwell on that thought. He can’t possibly want me. He is so… out of my league. He will always be. He is gorgeous and smart. He is the type of man every girl is dreaming of, secretly. And I’m sure he knows it. And takes advantage. Even if he wanted me, it would only be to draw another line above his bed, like I’m sure he did with all his girls. Just trophies. Trophies he could win. And he didn’t even have to work hard to lure them into his bed. Not with that body. Not with that tempting smile. And you know what? I’m not even sure if I would want to resist Him. Not even if it was only for one night.
Not even if my heart broke to a million pieces in the process. Because he can’t possibly want more. Not from me. Not from the girl who was always looking at everything from far, who has always been left behind. But this girl didn’t mind being left behind, on the contrary. Somehow, she was all right with it. She didn’t want to be involved. She never thought that she should be. She convinced herself that it was natural like this, that she wasn’t supposed to fit in. So she found another way. She started reading. She escaped reality, so that she can experience what she thought the others knew already. She lived in her imagination, and only there, as she thought she will never have a chance to live in this world. She just didn’t fit in. She wasn’t one of those tall, blonde, slim girls. The „model type”. Every men’s dream She never wanted to be.
Well, at least not till she saw Him. It is strange how fashion and trends dictate who you should be, and who you shouldn’t. One minute they tell you to be yourself, and the next they give you the eye for doing things your way. Because you are not like them. Well, as I said, I never wanted to be. I was all right reading my books, imagining the heroes to rescue me, dreaming of a gate that leads me to another planet. A planet where I could be who I am, and not what others want to see. Where I don’t have to change for anyone, where they love me the way I am.
Everyone, including me thought that there is something wrong with me. Slowly they stripped me of all my confidence and made me believe that I should be like them, otherwise I am not good enough, that nobody would want me. But now I know that wasn’t true. I was just surrounded by the wrong people. It is all different now. Everyone loves me here. But still, I am not good enough for Him. I can’t be. I just know. Still I can’t stop imagining how it would be like to be with Him. To have him touch me. To have him kiss me.
He would move so slowly, so agonizingly slow, torturing me and leaving me wanting more every time his lips meet mine and his hands touch my body. He would whisper my name, and that would nearly be enough for my undoing. But he wouldn’t stop. He would drive me crazy. And I would love it. I would want that night to last forever. And when it would be too much, impossible to bear any more, then he would give me what I have always wanted – Him. And I could be His. I would want to be.
Oh God, he can’t even imagine how much I would want that. I wouldn’t want that night to end. But it would, eventually, when neither of us could speak or move from exhaustion. And I wouldn’t cry. Well, at least not till he can’t see me. And this time I wouldn’t want to forget. I wouldn’t want to push these feelings away. I know by giving in to Him, I would be like Ikarus, flying too close to the Sun and getting burnt badly. But I wouldn’t mind, not this time. Coz I would know that I lived. Really lived. I would know that I had the chance to experience what I read about so many times and in so many ways – the miracle of being loved, the magical feeling of giving yourself fully to someone and becoming one. For a night. I would be His and His only. And He would be mine.
With a sigh I sit up in my bed. I glance at the clock.
Great. Instead of lying back for another hour, I head for the shower. I need to stop. This is getting serious. No man made me feel this way before, and I don’t like it. How am I supposed to pretend that I am still all right being left out? And what if I still won’t fit in? But still, everything changed. I can’t be the girl I used to be. You know, there are just some moments, when you know that there was before and now there is after that moment. I can’t go back. Not from here. I have to face my feelings for Him and not fight any more. I have to be brave. I settled for nothing, and that’s what I have right now: nothing. But what if I could have it all? What if He did want me? Is it that impossible? Either way, I have to do something before I go insane. I have to find out if he feels the same. But how? What can I do? I need some help.
I run out of hot water, and I realize I must have spent more time in the shower than I realized.
I need to find it out, and it has to be quick, otherwise…
The bell didn’t let me finish my thought. I got out of the shower quickly, pulled a clean towel from the rack, draped it around me tightly and rushed for the door. Who on Earth could it be at 5:30am?
I glanced through my peephole. I sighed in relief (and disappointment) as I saw Lindsay on the other side of the door. I don’t know who or what I expected…
"Lyn, what’s wrong?”
Her expression worried me. She looked like she just saw a ghost.
"Oh Lia, you won’t believe what happened to me.”
She would be surprised…
"Go on and come on in”
She did as she was told. She sat down on the sofa. She picked up one of my cushions and started to fiddle with one of the corners. But she didn’t say anything. This was so not like her. Lyn could talk to anyone about anything, anytime. And usually she wouldn’t stop. But not now.
"Do you have anything to drink?”
"Uhm, of course. What would you like? Orange juice, wine? Beer?”
"No-no, I will need something much stronger than those.”
"Hmm. Well, Let me have a look. Martini?”
"Yeah, that will do. Thanks Lia.”
"Now tell me what happened.”
She took the drink I offered her, and gulped it down in one go. Then held out her glass so that I could fill it up again.
"You know the guy I have been dating for quite a while now?”
"You mean Paul? Yeah, go on”
"Well, yesterday was our anniversary. We have been dating for four years.”
"Oh, that’s good… And from what you told me, you love each other a lot”
"Aham, yeah… You know yesterday…”
"He asked me if I would marry him.”
I was completely shocked, although again I didn’t know what I expected.
"Oh and what did you say?”
"I didn’t say anything. And then he asked again. Oh God, he was so upset and worried I would say no. Finally I managed to nod. Can you imagine? Me getting married?”
No, I couldn’t. I was happy for her, of course I was, but somewhere deep I felt something I shouldn’t have. I felt that the only person I trust I can’t trust any more. I know it sounds stupid. But how could she understand what I was going through? And honestly, I couldn’t imagine what she was going through, either. Something broke in me. I wanted to cry. Why can’t I be the best friend I was supposed to be and be happy for her? And leave it like that? But suddenly I felt lonely. I felt alone with my problem. There are some moments when you realize that life has moved on, that others have moved on and you are stuck. Although you thought you were all right. Till then. But no. And you blame the world for moving on, instead of moving with it. But again, how could I, when His memory was so fresh still? When I saw him again?
Finally I managed to give Lyn the reply she was waiting for.
"Lyn, that’s wonderful. When are you getting married?”
"In May. I thought it would be lovely to have the wedding on my parents’ anniversary. What do you think?”
I was horrified. May was only a couple of months away. I won’t be able to get ready. Ready for what? It isn’t your wedding…But still, a wedding, when I know I can never have one of my own. I can never have one with Him…
"Are you sure you want to do it so quickly? What about the planning?”
"Of course I am. And I hope I can count on my best friend to help me.”
Now that would be me. I felt so bad for my thoughts, but to help her plan the wedding of her dreams? When I felt so miserable? She must have sensed my hesitation, as she shot me a questioning glance.
"Lia, is everything ok? You don’t seem yourself”
I couldn’t tell her. How could she understand? How could I do this to her? When she was so happy?
"Yeah, I’m fine, just a bit worried about the time we have. But if you are sure, then we will plan the most beautiful wedding that you could ever dream of.”
She gave me a big hug and then stood to leave.
"Oh and one more thing before I forget.”
She said, opening the door and looking back over her shoulder.
How much worse could this get?
"Make sure you bring a date.”
"But you know I haven’t dated anyone for God knows how long!”
I could only hope she hasn’t noticed the fear in my voice.
"Well, you have exactly five months then to find the perfect date.”
And with that she left...
To be continued...
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