I hope you all enjoyed this new feature as much as I did! Your wild imaginations made for a great story line! To read the completed tale you all helped create,
"Next time we go wine tasting, can we please do it on a Saturday instead of Sunday?" I typed to Sandra from the office Mac.
"I am super exhausted and have a wine hangover!" "Maybe if you hadn't DRANK so much Kammie," Sandra said. "I can't believe you got drunk from a wine tasting. What was that all about anyway?"
I knew I should've told her yesterday that I had seen Marcus from across the room. He wasn't alone; he was with a girl and what looked like a toddler, too old to be his that was for sure. He had everything I had ever wanted with him, but it was what he wouldn't give me.
L-O-V-E. They were four single letters that meant nothing without one another and everything when put together. Sure he had cared about me, but I cared about the barista that made my iced non-fat vanilla latte too, but that didn't mean I wanted to spend my life with him. The fact that he was clearly playing for the other team didn't help that fact either.
Kammie sighed and started to type back her usual tirade about men and how she was going to join a convent if her love life didn't pick up in two weeks. In the middle of a paragraph, she stopped and started to re-read what she had just written. With a sense of purpose, she highlighted and deleted the self pitying e-mail and typed "Give me a break. It was free wine! Anyways, it's lunch time now. How about we try the new retail diet? It's guaranteed to make your waist line AND your bank account shrink at the same time."
"Oh yeah. Where?" Was Sandra's quick reply. "Hush on Union Street at noon." I typed back. I've been dying to check out the new boutique since it opened in August. I'm sure I'm going to have to max out at least one credit card, but I'm dying to get my hands on a new DVF dress and some wide leg pants before winter gets here.
Now, back to work. Why couldn't I get this bank statement to balance? Maybe because I had a headache so bad I can't see the numbers straight. Why did I have to drink so much?!? I head to the kitchen to grad some Tylenol from the drawer, only to find that someone took the last one and put the empty bottle back in the drawer. I guess I'll .just have to wait on that. I grab a citrus Italian sparkling water from the office fridge and an oatmeal muffin and head back down the hall.
Tabatha, the office gossip, is heading towards me, giving me that I know something that you should know look. "Kammie, you will not believe who I just overheard saying that she saw you drinking a lot yesterday at Stone Villa Winery."
"Somebody else from the office was there? Oh sh*t," I squeaked. "Can you please tell me who, I am really hungover as you now know and I want to eat my muffin sooner rather than later."
"Laney Ridgeway," Tabatha said. "She was there with her fiance and her daughter." "Wh-who's her fiance?" I ask remembering that I saw Marcus with a slightly familiar face. "Marcus Ambrose. He works on the other side of 46th and 7th street I think at that new agency," said Tabatha.
"Yes, I'm familiar with that agency. Thanks Tabatha, that's juicy. I gotta go now." I didn't want to give Tabatha any ideas that might fuel her motor mouth. I took off down the hall and was totally engrossed in my thoughts when I turned the corner and ran right into Laney Ridgeway looking like she had just stepped out of the pages of a magazine.
"Why?" I screamed in my head as she shifted to the side to avoid colliding with me. "Hi Laney. How are you? New bag?"
Laney took in my limp, unwashed hair, and the wrinkled shirt I had picked up off the floor five minutes before running out the door this morning and frowned slightly. I squirmed under her gaze and literally just wanted the floor to open up and swallow me whole. She looked down at the gorgeous, quilted Versace bag in her hand and nodded curtly.
"Yes, my fiance bought it for me as a surprise. In fact, I think you two know each other. He seemed to recognize you last night at the wine tasting."
"He what?!? I mean, I didn't even know you were there last night. What a surprise! I'm sure he was just mistaken. People always mistake me for other people." Laney narrowed her eyes. "Don't you want to know his name in case you actually do know him?"
Saved by the bell.. My Blackberry chimed just in time. "Ready? I'm downstairs," Sandra had sent to me. "Gotta go! Bye!" I half-heartily told Laney, or should I say Snotty McBoyfriend Stealer. Okay I know she didn't "steal" Marcus but the smug self-pleased look in her eyes told me she knew we had history.
Alone, finally, I looked into my reflection on the elevator doors and felt like my heart was being wrenched out of my chest. As my sad face disappeared as the elevator doors opened, I was staring into the face of none other than Marcus Ambrose.
He was there picking up Laney for lunch. We did a little dance trying to get off and on the elevator, and sheepishly said our goodbyes.
Once I got off the elevator, I walked through the crowded lobby out into the fresh air. I needed that after the last 45 minutes took me for a ride. Sandra was walking towards me from the cab. "What the hell took you so long Kam?" Sandra asked. "Get your butt over here, otherwise this cab ride will cost us about as much as we want to spend today."
"Sandra you will not believe who I just ran into and what I just heard. It was crazy up there for a bit. Tabatha told me about Laney being at the wine tasting with her fiance and her fiance turned out to be Marcus, who I saw at Stone Villa yesterday," I said in one breath.
"WHAT? Do we need to walk to get the whole story? Should we be shopping? Let's get out of the car, find a cafe, order heavily caffeinated drinks and talk about this. Driver please stop at the next cafe, Starbucks, whatever comes first," Sandra said.
"OMG do I need a latte with a shot of espresso," I said. "Sorry about the shopping San, I know you were looking forward to it. How about this weekend?"
"Honey, when you have gossip like this, shopping can wait. And besides, this way you have to buy me something in return for listening to your life story," Sandra said.
"Ma'am, I got you Starbucks; that's be $24.50 ladies," the cabbie said.
After talking to Sandra over our Starbucks lunch, I felt much better. What could I do about it anyway? I went back to the office and ducked into my office quickly, so nobody could see me. I needed to refresh and get this whole mess off my mind so I could do my work and get the hell out of here.
I turned on my monitor and noticed that I had received a new e-mail since this morning. It was from an unfamiliar address. I didn't have time to mess around with personal matters, and the subject line didn't seem very business-like: "What is Going on With You?"
I was about to crack a folder open to start research for the new company ad we just received moments ago when my phone rang.
"Kamron Smith," I said. "Hi Kam. What is going on with you?" Jim said.
I knew instantly that I could safely delete that e-mail because it was from Jim, "my office buddy" who was 2 offices down, but always decided to call me instead of dropping in to chat. "Jim, you realize that we are 2 offices apart and can just come in anytime. I don't think either of us have anything to hide."
"I know, the secret phone calls are just too thrilling to me though. Nobody knows who either of us are talking too," Jim breathed. "So what is wrong with you? I saw you this morning not looking so hot and really frazzled."
"Oh, Jim, why worry your pretty little head over these issues? You know you don't have to pretend to care right? It's only sex between us, not emotion," I said you under estimate me, Kammie. I care about you much more than you give me credit for. So what's up?" Jim was so convincing sometimes.
"You do not. Anyway, I just found out that my ex is marrying Laney Ridgeway and after a night of drinking too much at a wine tasting, I just wasn't ready for that." Why did I feel safe confiding in Jim? He was so easy to talk to.
"Well, you are better off without him, and she probably deserves him. You know, I heard that she isn't even sure who the father of her kid is? Okay, so let me take you out tonight and you'll forget all about what's-his-name?" Jim said.
"I can't possibly go out tonight, I feel like I've been hit with a garbage truck." I sighed. Jim was very firm in his reply. "Then I'm coming over and we'll order in and get cozy on your couch and watch a movie."
I agreed and hung up with Jim. Only three hours to go until our "date." Until then I needed to focus on this research project.
The afternoon seamed to drag on. Finally it was 4:50 and I shut down my computer and tidied up my desk. Just as I leave my office I catch a glimpse of Jim getting in the elevator. I decide to take the stairs. My Blackberry rings, it's Sandra. "Hey Kammie, do you want to grab a bite at the new Italian restaurant on Lincoln?" " Sorry hun, I just need to go to bed. How about tomorrow?" I know I should not have lied, but I don't want her to know about Jim just yet. "Oh, of course. I'll talk to you later." Sandra hung up. As I entered the parking garage noticed a letter tucked under my wiperblade.
"What was up with all of the notes and e-mails today," I said under my breath. The envelope was addressed to Kamren. Nobody who would tuck a letter under my wiper would call me Kamren. The note read:
I'm sorry for the awkwardness at your office today. I didn't think I would see you since I have been coming to pick up Laney every Monday for lunch since we've been together. I should've told you before you had to see us together or heard from someone else about us. P.S. was the wine really that good yesterday? I didn't think so, but we never could agree on much, could we? Cheers, Marcus.
Where does he get off ending his letter with a cutesy little comment like that, I thought. I threw the letter in the backseat as I turned the key to start my car. Speeding out of the parking garage, I finally see daylight. This afternoon was drab, perfectly matching my mood and look. Suddenly, Pearl Jam is blaring from my phone as it vibrates and rings.
"Hello?" I say. "Kamren, hi. How are you?" "I'm doing ok, but who is this?" "Oh, um, Marcus. I guess I thought you would remember my voice or still have my number programmed or something." "Oh, no. I just cleaned house when I got a new phone; I took out of the numbers that I don't use anymore," I said.
No, I took that out of my phone and my memory when you took out my heart you bastard, is what I really wanted to say.
"To what do I owe this pleasure?" I sarcastically said. "I just wanted to call and make sure you were okay. You looked....well you looked miserable when those elevator doors opened up." "Gee, thanks. You sure know how to charm the ladies," I said ,while silently cursing life." "You were the best girlfriend," Marcus suddenly blurted out.
I was shocked and nearly hit one of those annoying bike messengers. The silence dragged on and I asked "Why are you telling me this now? It's been almost a year since you broke up with me."
"I - he truth is, I feel guilty. I still have dreams about you and in them you're always yelling at me and calling me a bastard. I know I really hurt you and you didn't deserve it one bit. I had some things I needed to get over in order to move on and I just wasn't ready to let go of them during our relationship. You were a fantastic girlfriend and I'm sorry I didn't trust you enough to give you everything I had."
I was shocked. There was not a single thought floating in my head for a good 10 seconds. I was finally hearing everything I had wanted to hear. Did I really want Marcus back? No, but it hurt so deeply when he ended it and despite all the "independent woman" messages we're barraged with every day, I felt like somehow I was to blame for how things ended up. What is it about matters of the heart that can take a perfectly confident woman and reduce her to a quivering, self-pitying, puddle?
"Kamren, are you still there?" Marcus stammered. "uuummm...yeah...I'm here." I took a deep breath and tried to pull myself together. Why!!! Why, why, why???? My head is racing with a zillion thoughts. "I don't know what you want me to say," I tell Marcus as I try and keep an eye on traffic as I inch along. Please I silently beg, please just let me get home. I am going to need a long hot bath to be able to deal with Jim. "I am not sure either..." Marcus sighs heavily.
"You called me and unloaded all this on me and you cannot even tell me why!!" Cause I am supposed to know how to fix everything!! Why do men do that? Why couldn't he have just stayed lost in my past??????
"Marcus, I appreciate your honesty, but I am finally moving on and I think it would be best for everyone involved, especially your fiance, if you just forgot my phone number like forgot yours. Good luck Marucs, and good bye."
I hung up the phone and felt a huge sense of relief - and surprisingly excited about my date with Jim!