As soon as I got home from the advertising agency, I called Daniel. But he didn’t answer. And he never answered, even after the second and third ring. By that time I thought I’d just convince myself that he was either too busy to answer or his cell wasn’t on him. One or the other. I just thought that he’d send me a text or something, you know? Say that he was busy. Or maybe even after I’ve waited around for him to answer back, hours upon hours, until about half past eleven at night, that he’d send a ‘goodnight, talk to you in the morning’ kind of text. Nope. Nada. One of the other downsides of long-distance was the fact that you couldn’t just rock up to your boyfriend’s house. Especially if he weren’t returning your calls that he was obviously ignoring.
I really had to think about our argument, and I got to say, I didn’t think it called for ignoring-calls material. Granted, we had our bad moments in that argument, I think we both need to say something about it, in the aftermath though. When both our heads were clear. The funny thing is, if I stayed a little longer, if I didn’t go straight to the airport, I think it would have made a difference. Maybe not a big difference, but at least a slight.
Unfortunately though, because Daniel hadn’t returned my calls or sent me a text by the next day, my meeting with James ended up a little distracted.
The entire feel of David and Goliath was a mix of laid-back busy. That was as best as I could describe it. Depending on how you look at it, it could be laid-back but in actual fact, busy, or vice versa. It was a well-oiled machine. Not to mention there was an ongoing honey coloured theme going on. A lot of art pieces trailed my path. I’d see it pop up here and there, acting like it had always been there, but I wondered if they were actually gifts from their clients or something. Plus I wondered how long they’ve been dusted. Weird thing to wonder I know, but sometimes I do that.
I met James’ assistant at the entrance. I took the elevator to the creative sector, where the wires of this business interlocked; like the central nervous system. Dina, a blood cell, in her late twenties, had blonde hair and looked like she weighed about the weight of a photograph of herself; led me through the arteries and nerves. We passed the busy bees at work, Dina giving me as much of a tour as her job title required. Either way, one advertising agency is similar to another, so I pretty much got the big picture, I just needed to know the titbits of how they usually run things here. Eventually, Dina and I met up with one of the coronary arteries of the heart; the creative director himself, James Gordon.
James greeted me with a bright smile. Immediately after Dina and I walked in, he stopped what he was doing, stood and took my hand. Finally, someone who was professional!
“Nice to see you again, Anna,” he said.
I nodded. “Pleasure seeing you. I appreciate the opportunity.”
“It’s nothing,” he and I sat down. “Thank you Dina,” he said. Dina turned away, leaving the front door open. I don’t know if it was because I was working with such a crappy boss or not, but it seemed like this place was a lot better hands down. No competition. “How do you like David and Goliath so far?”
“Like? I love,” I said.
James laughed. “Well I’m glad it’s getting positive reviews. The hard part is getting the internship though. Because internships are more often than not pathways to a job, it’s pretty competitive. Unfortunately, a couple of our interns had to jump ship a week ago and we’ve been needing hard-workers since. Our workload is killing, not to mention we’re trying to make a killing with our ads for our clients. Losing time isn’t an option for us, so I need to make sure you’re a hundred per cent invested in working for us, if you are. Meaning, you might actually have to drop the other agency.”
I nodded, and stopped myself from waving my hand like it was an easy-breezy sort of drop. Rule number whatever: never make out your other workplace to be bad in the eyes of your employer. Not a good way to go.
“I’m very interested,” I said. “And I assure you, my heart’s in it one hundred and ten per cent.” My mind, however, was occupied with Daniel.
James smiled. “Fantastic.” He wrote down something on a piece of paper and then handed it to me. “This is the name, email and phone number of Rosa from HR. Send her your resume, and Cc me in the email. She’ll probably respond almost immediately considering our situation.”
“Are you ready to work with us?”
I smiled brightly. “Absolutely, I’m so excited. I should be glad I had to pick up my boss’s suit that day.”
“Serendipity,” James said.
I nodded. “Indeed.”
I was buzzing as I left, feeling the excitement still bubbling inside me. It was on a full blown boil while I entered the building and had the tour, met with James, but now it turned into somewhat of a simmer. I was loving the experience and I wasn’t even guaranteed a spot in the internship! It at least made me feel a little bit better that Daniel wasn’t taking my calls. More so, it actually made me infuriated to be honest. I was thinking of apologising, truly knowing that part of the battle was my fault just as much as his. But right now, he’s childishness was starting to get on my nerves. If he didn’t want to return my calls, not even shoot me a text, then so be it.
“How did it go?” Chloe asked when I entered through the front door. I saw her sitting at the couch, watching some television. She lowered the volume almost immediately.
I gave her a quick rundown.
“I wonder if he’s going to put in a good word for me with Rosa and the team and whatnot,” I said.
“Why would he?” Chloe asked.
I shrugged. “I did make him laugh. It sounded like it went smoothly.”
Chloe rolled her eyes and laughed. “Jeez, you think that if you make a guy life that he’s going to bend over backwards?”
I went red. “No, but,” I thought about for a minute. Maybe she was right, but you never know with these things, and that’s exactly what I told her. “When you don’t know, I guess you don’t know. The possibilities are endless.”
“So it seems,” Chloe said. “What about Daniel?”
“What about Daniel?” I replied, with a little acid in my tone.
“Oh come on, you’re not even going to talk to him?”
“He won’t answer me.”
Chloe shrugged. “Well, what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Well, oh well.”
Chloe stood, ending the conversation pretty early, which I found to be just a tad strange. I usually end up having a satisfying eye-opening talk with my friends, but this quickie didn’t satisfy.
“Maybe I should just fly over there and talk to him,” I mused. “I won’t even let him know I’m coming. I’ll just pop up.”
Chloe rushed back. “No, no, that’s a bad idea.”
I furrowed my brows. “Why?”
“Well, for one, he’s probably still mad at you and he won’t want to talk to you. What will you do then?”
“And,” she held up her finger to continue, interrupting my thoughts, “it might just exacerbate things. Just leave it alone. It’ll all blow over soon enough.”
More often than not, talking with the girls gave me a little perspective. This time, however, the perspective seemed a little blurred. I get what Chloe was saying, but I didn’t think it was such a good idea. Still, what if Daniel was actually still mad at me? I mean, I’m sure he is, and that’s why he’s not answering me back, giving me the silent treatment and all. Imagine how worse it’d be if I was actually in the line of fire. It was like being stuck at a T-intersection, and finding both roads to be in ruins. Which road was less ruined?
There was no sense in mulling over it though. There was nothing I could do but wait and see what happened. I just hated the fact that I was waiting for a response from Daniel, while all the while, for all I knew, Samantha was still there. I couldn’t help but wonder, was Samantha to Daniel, Derek to me? Was this silent treatment coinciding with punishment?
Friday night at the club went smoothly. Nikki couldn’t work that night, which meant I didn’t have to see Derek and be forced into awkwardly talking with him. Customers were being generous with their tips, and the music was as good as always. One customer in particular told me about a new club opening up soon, supposedly as highly anticipated as this one once was.
“You should come,” he yelled over the music.
He looked like a suit. Grey eyes that seemed to glow in the dark club were hypnotising. My green to his grey was practically dull. He had blonde hair, probably strawberry blonde, but I couldn’t really tell. All things considering though, he looked like a mix between a hot Russian and Christian Grey without the scarring childhood drama.
“Can I bring some of my girlfriends?” I asked.
He grinned. “The more the merrier. I’ll put your name on the list.”
I felt like saying, ‘oooooh, there’s a list?’, instead I just stuck to nodding and smiling. The safer option. If he had a hand on who goes on the list, then he must have been a person of interest to that new club. “Great, I’ll see you there.”
He wrote down something on a napkin and then handed it over. “Here’s my name and number, just in case you girls need my assistance,” he winked.
“Thanks,” I said.
He dissolved into the crowd as I put his details into my back pocket. By the time I was in the car, sitting on his name and digits, and ten minutes into my drive, I had forgotten all about the napkin. I crashed on the bed as soon as I got home, not even bothering to change, and too mentally and physically exhausted to even think about Daniel.
I was groaning and moaning, waking up to a muffled voice. At first I thought I was still dreaming, still not woken up from the cat that wouldn’t stop scratching me and then turning into a balloon and flying away. Freud should study me. But as it turned out, I wasn’t. And as I got closer and closer to the light at the end of the dream, the voice was gaining. Becoming clearer and crisper, soft as silk and slow like honey.
“Anna,” it said, “wake up.”
A hand was rubbing my back in smooth circular motions, almost doing the opposite of waking me up. I began stretching, changing my body from a swastika to a starfish. I rubbed my eyes, and turned onto my back, now remembering that at some point in the middle of the night I had taken off my top, but not my jeans. Finally, I opened my eyes to find Daniel, sitting on the bed with a bouquet of flowers.
“Hey, baby,” he smiled. “How are you?”
I stared at him, at first wondering if it were my mind playing a cruel joke on me. Then I lifted myself up, practically propelling myself onto him. He moved closer to the centre of the bed as I wrapped both my legs around him.
“I’m sorry,” I said, tears starting to build up.
“Aww baby,” he said, softly caressing my cheeks, “I’m sorry too. I was hoping to say it first,” he chuckled, “but I’m sorry too. We didn’t handle the situation that well, but at least now we can talk about it.”
“But you didn’t answer my calls or text or anything. I really thought you were pissed beyond repair.”
Daniel laughed. “How else was I supposed to build up the suspense of the surprise? Of course, I was mad. But I was only mad for a little while. Didn’t last long.” He kissed me once, then twice. “Didn’t last long, promise.”
“How did you even get in here?” I asked, now realising certain things.
“I made a deal with Chloe,” he said. “She’s going to stay with Jodie for the weekend that I’m here, and she let me in. She told me she panicked when you suggested flying to me. It was going to ruin my plan you know.”
I laughed. “Oh my God, you’re amazing.” I kissed him, slipping my tongue inside just for a little taste.
“So,” he said when we came up for air, “how about I’ll go make us breakfast while you shower, and then when you’re finished we can talk about you and me, and figure out some things?”
I nodded. “Sounds good.”
“Good,” he tapped my butt with his full hands, “go on then.”
I hopped off and headed straight for the shower, taking off the rest of my clothes as I walked. The hot water and steam started to wake me up even more, charging every nerve of my body. My chest felt lighter, my mind felt lighter; I was so glad Daniel was here so we were able to talk about what needed to be talked about. It was just so sneaky the way he surprised me; and I can’t believe Chloe was in on it. No wonder she gave such shitty inhibiting advice.
By the time I got out of the shower, I was on a high. My smile wouldn’t go away, and I didn’t want it to. I wanted Daniel to know how happy I was to see him. I’m just grateful that we lived through our first big fight. We both went in with guns loaded and then out with scars; but at least we were able to face each other again afterwards. The war was over, here comes the truce.
Breakfast had already been made and was sitting on the dining room table. Daniel wasn’t there though. I figured he was in my room, and as I rounded the corner into it, I was right. Daniel looked up from his hands, my jeans were in them and so was the napkin, now scrunched down from an adult’s hand-written note to a nine year olds ineligible writing. Well, almost ineligible.
“Who’s Nicholas?” Daniel asked.