***BONUS POST! Enjoy!***
The entire time before our flight to New York City, I had been buzzing with excitement. I could feel my skin tingling all over, my smile wouldn’t quit (of course, hurting my cheeks), and I hadn’t eaten breakfast hoping that in that case, there would be no chance of chucking because of nerves since I had nothing to chuck. But as soon as I was strapped into my seat, I was freaking out! Let me tell you why. The night before we had an all-girls movie night, and that night was scary movies or thrillers. One of the geniuses (Janet!) decided watching Final Destination, the first and original, would be awesome. I guess I was partly to blame considering I thought nothing of it at the time. Now here I am, seated in coach and, because I clearly love myself so much, I thought of that awful, terrifying, gruesome scene at the beginning of the movie, where everyone is being burned alive! Blood splashing everywhere, the works! I couldn’t have picked a better moment to think about it. I must be a genius too.
“Relax,” Daniel laughed.
“But so many things can go wrong,” I breathed. “It could just be a mistake. A malfunction.” I was grabbing the armrests hard, my knuckles were protruding. “I need a drink.”
Daniel laughed again. “Oh come on. You want to get off the plane, on our awesome vacation-slash-date, drunk?”
I sighed and turned to Daniel with worried lines. “Help me,” I pouted.
“Believe that you can fly,” Daniel grinned.
I narrowed my eyes. “Not helping.”
“How ‘bout this then?” Daniel cleared his throat and then, out of the blue, started singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ in the worst possible rendition I have ever unfortunately witnessed.
“Stop Daniel,” I said, widening my eyes and scanning the plane in the hopes that no one cared…or they’re all deaf.
“…I believe I can touch the sky…”
“Daniel!” I started laughing, unable to help it.
“Feeling better?” Daniel asked, curling his fingers into mine after he belted enough humiliation out of me.
And you know what, I did feel better. I guess one thing more frightening than potential for death on a plane is your boyfriend, singing his heart out in a tube!
“That’s an actual thing you know,” Daniel said, “people are more frightened of giving speeches than death. It’s a census.”
“Where’s ‘your boyfriend distracting you by getting you to feel embarrassed’ on the list?”
“I’ll get back to you on that one,” Daniel winked.
As soon as we landed I was freezing. Everything looked beautiful, but going into it, phew! I mean, I’m a total lover of the cold, I’d favour the winter over summer any day, but wow, it’s like ice cold here.
A bit of our cab ride in and I realised I had no clue where we were going. Daniel had made all the accommodation arrangements, while I tried putting at least my two cents (literally!), he continuously declined my offers. I know I won the bet and everything, but going into the relationship, having one partner pay for almost everything and the other not even letting up fifty per cent, is kind of weird. Or maybe that’s just how I thought it should be. I mean, what if not all relationships are fifty\fifty? What if sixty\forty fit better, and the balance shifted naturally? Either way, it didn’t feel right to me. But hey, Daniel insisted.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“You’ll see,” Daniel smiled, rubbing my thigh.
Ladies and gentlemen, drum roll please. We pulled up at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Manhattan!
I looked at Daniel, stunned. “Are you serious?”
“Hell yeah,” Daniel smiled proudly, “it’ll be fun. Trust me.”
“Okay, I have to chip in.”
“Don’t even think about it. This is my treat. Do not take my thunder.”
“Daniel, this is massive,” I said. “I feel like the chubby, German kid in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Daniel laughed as he helped me out of the car. “Will you please just let me do this for you?”
Daniel’s wealth hadn’t been entirely unknown to me, but it hadn’t been entirely clear either. He never elaborated and I never pressed, and it had always been an unspoken topic between us. But it’s so awkward. When is it ever a good time to talk about finances in a relationship? We’re in the ‘in between’ zone, where we’re not hitched, so not everything is out on the table, but we’re also not strangers, so we let ourselves into one another’s world equally. When is it ever a good time to get serious about serious stuff?
I sighed. “Fine. But I’m treating you in my own way,” I leaned closer into him so our coats covered up between us and grazed my hand along his groin. “And I’m not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”
Daniel half-smiled, revealing only one dimple. Lord have mercy! Still made him look hot, and had that effect on me. “Baby, it would be a crime to refuse such an offer.”
When we settled into our rooms we immediately started taking off our clothes and hitting the bed. Unfortunately, the bed was just way to comfortable to do anything else besides rest. And because I was so jittery on the flight, I slipped into a nap in seconds. Daniel even suggested that I do so. When I woke up, Daniel left a note saying that he made reservations at 2West restaurant. Fine dining at its peak. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to Chloe and sneaked in just one dress.
I hopped out of the bed in a hurry, so much so that my foot got caught on the blanket and I skipped, wobbled and then dropped to the floor. Thankfully, no one was here to see that and I didn’t get embarrassed. In the haze of putting the dress and the jewellery on, I started thinking about if this was Daniel’s treatment gone too far. Not on his side, because he was so sweet to even think of anything like this, but on my side. I felt so rude, and it surely didn’t feel like my, ahem, treatments (wink, wink), would be enough. I sighed, thinking about the fifty\fifty. It was already starting, although in a way I didn’t want it to start. It occurred to me that I had already began trying to match up his generosity with my own, instead of just appreciating the fact that he was doing this for me and enjoying us being together. Was appreciation enough though? Oh, jeez, I didn’t know anything. I’ve been out of the game for so long that I’ve completely forgotten how to…be.
When I spotted Daniel at the bar, he looked incredibly done up! “You look—”
“—goofy, I know.”
“No, not at all,” I said quickly. “You look like…wowsers!” Daniel laughed. “I couldn’t find the right words.” I leaned closer to his ear. “And incredibly sexy.”
Daniel lifted an eyebrow. “Really?”
I nodded. “We better eat quickly,” I laughed.
Daniel joined in. “Fantastic, that’s exactly what I was going for.”
We savoured every moment of the dinner. It was extravagant. Glamorous. Amazing, and with a touch of sparkle. I didn’t want the night to end. I felt like we were two posh couples just hanging about. All that was missing was a dog named Fifi! And if you don’t know that Carl Barron reference, slap yourself silly right now!
Afterwards we took a walk in the park. I was yawning the entire time that Daniel couldn’t hold his laughter anymore, and decided that we should go back to our room. I tried to refuse, acting as if I wasn’t sleepy at all, but ended up yawning again.
It was super early in the morning when I woke up and Daniel was still sleeping. I don’t know when he went to bed, but of course he was exhausted, I mean, he must have had to waddle the entire way back to our room probably from the burnt holes in his pockets from where his money used to be. I got dressed in just casual attire and decided to take a solo stroll in the park. I took up one of the benches and just started perusing my eyes across New York. I was mesmerised. I’ve been to New York before and everything but this time it just felt different. I felt like I could live here. Not just take up residence but actually live here. That prospect got me brimming with excitement and potential.
“Anna?” a man asked. I scanned to find the person when they called out again, holding up a hand to get my attention, “Anna!”
I smiled really wide and stood. “Oh my God! Adam!” I gave him the biggest hug in the world. “What are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing. You’re on my turf now, remember?”
“I’m with someone here,” I said. Adam never really liked Daniel, and I didn’t want to bring him up if it wasn’t necessary.
Adam looked different. New York has done him justice. Although his stubble had been cleanly shaven off, which I missed because it was always one of his best features, his eyes seemed to retain their striking deep-set blue. Maybe they were even heightened by New York…and his pale cold face.
I always thought of Adam as the kind of laid back friend you could confide in and trust no matter what. Girlfriends are great, and I’m truly equipped with the best of the best, but sometimes I just needed a guy’s opinion on things. Not just perspective, but opinion counts also. He honestly looked so dashing it was almost unbelievable that this was the same Adam from California. I mean, he looked dashing in California as well, but a different kind of dashing. Less business man, more surfer dude.
I wondered if that’s what New York does to new people. Would I be the same person as I was in California if I ever did decide to move here? Biological science states that our cells are regenerating every seven years, we’ve already become different people a few times over, but I’ve still remained quintessentially myself. Or at least, that’s what I thought because I’m not on the outside looking in. And the changes have been happening without my knowledge and, in the end, my permission. So maybe I have no choice but to change who I am. I’ll be twenty-two this year, so who will I be then?
He scanned behind me. “Is Chloe here? Janet and Jodie, too?”
“Adam,” I said, trying to steer the conversation away from who I was with, “how is everything?”
We parked our behinds on the bench. “I’m doing great. Got a shitty apartment, living the life of an assistant. Thankfully I’m assistant to a good guy, knows my potential. I think I’m on a good track here.”
I smiled, genuinely pleased. “That sounds great, Adam. I’m so happy for you.”
“I’ve missed you a lot.”
“I’ve missed you too. I’ve wanted to talk about so much with you.”
Adam nudged me. “You should have called me.”
“I would have…I should have really, but I had so much going on.” I looked down at the fingernails I was picking at.
“You want to grab some coffee, talk about it now? I’m all ears. Blue ears, but all ears.”
I laughed and then looked at him, about to say something when my cell started buzzing. I shot up and walked just a little farther away from Adam as soon as I read the name on the screen.
“Hey,” Daniel said.
“Hi, I’m just outside, I’ll be back soon.”
I heard a shuffling sound. “I need to go to the Hamptons,” he said, his voice strained.
“Is everything okay?”
Daniel sighed. “It’s my mother I think…” Daniel sighed again, this time shakily. “I just need to go see her. I’m sorry. I wish we could ride this weekend out.”
“Don’t be silly,” I said. “You definitely have to go so, we should go.”
Daniel chuckled, humourlessly. “You don’t have to come along. My father called me and me only.”
A lump formed in my throat. “Oh, I’m not…welcome?”
“Of course you are, I just thought, maybe—”
“—I do,” I said quickly so he didn’t suggest it. “I do want to come. I would like to be there for you and your mother.”
“Don’t deny me my thunder,” I said quickly.
Daniel laughed. “You’re so sweet. I love you. Of course you’re coming with me. I need you there.”
“It’s settled then.”
“See you in a bit?”
“Yes. I love you, too.”
I couldn’t see it, but I felt like I could almost hear Daniel smiling on the other side. “I’ll see you soon then.”
I returned to Adam after we hung up. “I have to go.”
Adam stood and put his hands in his pockets. “Everything okay?”
I nodded. “Yeah, yeah, it’s just…” just say it! Just say it! “Someone needs me.”
Adam smiled. “Does this someone have a name?”
I sighed. “Daniel.”
It was quiet for a moment. “Oh,” Adam said, still retaining the smile.
“You guys are official then?”
Adam mimicked me. “Cool, cool. I should get back anyway.”
“Where are you off to?” I asked.
“Just living the life in NYC.” Adam hugged me. “It was good seeing you.”
“You too.” I smiled.
“You have to come back again to visit,” Adam said. “I’ll show you around. Free of charge.”
I watched as Adam walked out of my life just as quickly and suddenly as he came into it. I knew I missed him but I didn’t even realise just how much I missed him until I saw him again. But I guess that’s just what it feels like when you bump into an old friend in New York.