Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chapter Three [It's a Novel Idea]

The days that followed were not nearly as interesting. It was a blend of sleep and work and quiet evenings. It was the usual pattern only broken up the changes in the weather. The days were warming and the sun was shining more. I was planning on taking a walk after work on the river front.

I had not seen Him since Monday.

It was crazy, really because I didn't even know who He was. He was just a kind stranger on a desolate Monday morning who had a coffee craving like I did. But those eyes. Blue Eyes. Just the thought of them made me swoon. I don't even know what he wore. Did it matter? I couldn't tear myself away from the eyes anyway.

I shouldn't even think about it anymore. He was obviously not in my social circle. Or dot. Or whatever my social situation was. I probably would never see Him again.

As it turned out, on this Friday evening, there were lot's of people out walking. Many people were eager for the change of season. 

I had parked my car near the Victoria Bridge. Then I trudged along the street and down the steps to the walkway. I stood just under the bridge and leaned against the rail. It was quite the improvement to this area. It was so nice to come here and sit on a bench or wander the path. I could nearly walk all the way to the weir if I really wanted to. I started to walk to my left which would take me somewhere near the Bessborough if I wanted to walk far enough. 

There was still a coolness in the air and I turned the collar of my trench coat up to shield my neck. I wish I had a scarf. But I didn't. I was being a rebel. I hadn't walked very far when I came to a barrier. There was a crowd of people here. There was always things going on in this area so I didn't really think anything of it. Maybe it was a cultural event like Taste of Saskatchewan or something. 

I was about to turn and walk back the way I had come when I heard my name.

“Stacey!” Pause. “Stacey Anders!”

I gazed around trying to see where it had come from. I saw a hand flailing frantically. Gradually I saw the body it was attached to. It was Emily.....from work. She fought her way through the crowd and to her way to me.

Finally standing in front of me she says, “Funny running into you here!”

I shrugged not really knowing how to respond.

She grabbed my arm and led me a short distance away. “Hey listen, a few of us from work are headed out for drinks. Wanna come?”

“Sure.” We all know that I didn't get out very often. “Who else is going?”

Emily pointed around to some other familiar faces. “There's Nate, Alex and Matt.” Looking more serious now, “Frankly, I'm a little worried to be the only female. I'm so glad we ran into you!”

The others were coming forward now. I nodded a hello to them. They were all just customer service people like myself and probably about the same age. “Where's the other girls?” I asked. Obviously, there were other girls at work.....”Madison, Olivia, Julia....” I struggled to remember. I really needed to socialize more. Or take something to improve my memory.

“Everyone had plans.” Emily looked disgusted. “With boyfriends.” She rolled her eyes at the words.

“Ah.” I nodded my understanding. “So where are you off to?”

“6 Twelve.” Nate answered. “It's supposed to be the newest place to go.” He was probably about the trendiest of this little group. He always wore what looked to be expensive and up to the minute clothes. I looked frumpy next to him in my new dress pants, blazer and trench that had been an indulgence.

“Well, we can't get through this way.” Emily looked back to the barricade.

“I have my car.” I volunteered. “But it'll only seat 3 of you.”

“That's alright.” Matt broke in. “I don't know if I'm really up to the Friday night crowd. I'm thinking of heading home. I work tomorrow morning too” Matt was probably the most like me. He was newer to the city after growing up in rural Saskatchewan. He didn't have the expensive city taste like Nate did. He was much more down to earth, but nice just the same. 

“I work tomorrow too, but it's your loss.” Alex piped up. “More hot chicks for us.” He winked at me. Ugh! Alex was rumored to be the ladies man of the bank. I didn't see why myself. He had boyish features and a playboy attitude.

We walked back to my parked civic. Matt had gone his own direction. Everyone crowded into my little two door. It certainly wasn't a family car. Emily sat in the front with me. When I turned on the ignition loud pumping music filtered through the stereo system. It did have an exceptional stereo.

“Sorry!” I apologized reaching quickly to turn down the volume.

“Stacey, you are a mysterious creature.” Nate and Alex joked from the back seat. I glanced in the rear view mirror to see their long legs twisted up like pretzels even though both Emily and I were short and had the seats moved up considerably.

I zipped quickly through the downtown traffic. I found a parking space easily in front of the Sheraton. “So tell me why you guys were walking on the river front when there are much more direct routes from the bank?” 

I unfastened my seat belt and opened the door. Nate and Alex were getting out of Emily's side of the car. They were stretching from feeling the effects of riding in my little sports care.
“Emily heard something about a movie being filmed on the river bank.” Alex answered. I looked over to see Emily's pained expression.....or was it embarrassment? “It turned out to be nothing but a hoard of teenagers.” Alex finished.

Really? A movie? There had been a made for tv movie filmed here a while back and a rock group had filmed a video at the university.

Emily spoke next. “Well, I had heard there were some movie stars in the city.”

I joked. “Oh Emily. Are you star struck?” Her face blushed and I immediately felt bad. I wouldn't want to admit to it either.

We all traipsed into the hotel and found a nice blue booth in the lounge. I realized I was starving. I had skipped supper to go to the river front. I had told myself I'd stop and get a salad on my way home. But now I decided I was ravenous.

“Have any of you been here before?” I asked looking at the menu. “What's good?”

No one had been here before. We were all newbies. I looked the menu over. It was pretty expensive for my meager pocket book. I decided to go with an appetizer. Edamame seemed like a good middle of the road choice and maybe a healthy one. I thought back to my gym days. I had lost a few pounds during those painful days, but when I stopped going I quickly put them back on my short frame.

The waitress came and took our drink order. There were terrific names for drinks. It was hard to choose. I ordered a Pomegranate Margarita thinking I'd be able to sip it slowly. After all I was driving and really shouldn't have had a drink at all. I did want to find my way home after this! I remembered one time at Red Lobster ordering the drink of the day only to have it arrive in what was sized like a fish bowl. Ooooh.....the room had spun after that!

The conversation bantered back and forth. I should go out more often. I didn't have to broad all the time did I? I was downright enjoying myself. Maybe even a little too much. I had drained my cocktail.

The waitress brought me another drink.

I protested. “I didn't order this.”

“Oh I know.” She pointed across the lounge. “But there was a man over there who said he needed to repay you the favor.”

I looked past her, but the seat she had motioned to was empty. All eyes around the table were looking at me.

Emily spoke teasingly. “You have a secret admirer!”

“What did he look like?” I asked. I didn't know many people. 

“Let's see.” The waitress was thinking. “He had messy hair and beautiful blue eyes.” She smiled. “Pretty cute if you ask me.”

It was Him. Blue Eyes from Starbucks. I scanned the room trying to see if he'd just simply moved, but no, he was gone now.

That's when the jabbing started from my companions. I was never going to live this down. Emily's earlier embarrassment was nothing compared to this. 

And that's when I decided to down this drink too.....and probably many more that evening. Because the next thing I remembered was blinding light and the pain and throbbing of a migraine the morning after.

I took stock of myself. Yup, I was still dressed in yesterdays clothes. My shoes were off and my blazer was tossed on the floor. I didn't remember how I got home. I didn't remember who I came home with. I wedged myself up onto one elbow and squinted around the room. I appeared to be alone. Then I spied a note on my night stand.

Things got pretty crazy last night so I brought you home and tucked you in. See you at work. Alex.

Thank God. 
 
I thought real hard. I remembered the drink arriving at the table. I remembered lot's of drinks to follow. I remembered something about singing and clutching onto Alex.....or was it Nate? As we walked down the street. No, it was Alex. Why did it have to be him? I groaned. 
 
I squeezed my eyes tight really hard. Maybe if I squeezed them really hard I could erase last nights memory. Giving up, I tumbled off the bed and shrugged out of my rumbled clothes. I found my favorite sweat pants and t-shirt and shoved my feet into my slippers. I padded out to the kitchen to make coffee. I was in no shape for Starbucks today.

What time was it anyhow? I stared at the clock on the microwave. It couldn't me right. It was after 1pm. I had slept most of the day away. But then it was the weekend and I didn't work weekends so what did it matter? In actuality I could go back to bed until tomorrow if I really felt like it.

I had the coffee maker going in no time. It made a loud gurgling sound as the liquid filled the carafe and the air with wonderful awakening aroma. While it perked I grabbed a glass of water and yanked the Advil out of the cupboard and downed two capsules. I wasn't going to spend the day hungover.....what was left of it anyhow.

As I walked around the counter with my coffee mug I saw the light flashing on my answering machine. I pressed the button and winced at the seemingly loud noises it made while it readied the message. Everything was too loud today.

Hi this is Alex.....I'm just phoning to check on you and make sure you are okay.....you had a lot to drink last night.” Laugh. “Anyway I wanted you to know that I had a good time and wondered maybe we can do it again sometime soon.....let me know.....okay I better get back to work.....bye.”

OH NO! Now I had Alex making offers. This was a lot more than I had bargained for. The next time I saw him I'd have to set the record straight. I sat down at my kitchen table and rubbed my temples and started to plan the speech I'd have to deliver on Monday.

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