***Dedicated to commenter Nicole M. from the post ‘High as a Kite’ who asked for a certain update. Hope you all enjoy!***
“What are you doing here?” I yelled at the top of the loud pumping music.
“Can’t a guy ask for a drink?” Will grinned.
When Will waltzed his way into the club and towards me, I had but one thing and one thing only on my mind: how the hell did he find out which club I worked? I didn’t know whether his stalking skills were creepy or cute yet; or whether he was actually in fact stalking me and not here on business of his own. Whatever the reason, he was definitely dressed for a laidback night. The lights in the room made his dark skin glow intensely as traces of neon pink, blue, green, and red bounced off of him.
“Sure,” I replied, putting on my best customer service voice, “what would you like?”
Will smiled at the added sweetness to my tone, sort of like artificial sweetener, really. “Whatever’s your favourite drink.”
“I don’t have a favourite drink,” I said.
Will’s brows furrowed. “Impossible.”
I shrugged. “It’s true, I’m afraid.”
I had drinks that I liked, but no favourites. I was beginning to feel like Johnny Depp’s character in Chocolat where the protagonist had a confident knack of guessing people’s favourite chocolate…but she couldn’t guess his until the very end when it only seemed like an afterthought. Maybe Will may be Juliet Binoche to my Johnny Depp.
“So what are you doing at the agency exactly?” I asked after he muttered some other drink.
“Remember my friend that owns that jazz club?”
I nodded. “Keigo Murakami.”
“Well, since he’s trying to expand into New York, I’m helping out with the advertising. I’m leading the account and will be responsible for most of his marketing strategies. Hopefully, by the time he finishes construction on a replica bar in New York, we will be done with a campaign so amazing, it’d be lucrative for both parties.”
“Sounds like a good deal.”
“And what about you?” he asked. “Have you always wanted to be in advertising?”
I never thought this was the place to have a conversation about ambitions and career goals, but I also never thought this was the place I’d find Will. Even though it’s one of the hottest destinations in L.A.
“I want to be an editor, as well as a writer,” I said. “I don’t see it happening though.”
I shrugged. “I don’t know, just feel that way I guess.”
“You need to take that kind of mindset out of your head. It’s a waste to be so self-deprecating when everyone has the ability to be great.”
He was right, but it was going to take a while for me to erase almost twenty years of such Debbie-downer-ness.
“Besides,” he continued, “what is an aspiring editor and writer doing in advertising?”
“I figured it’d be a good way to go. To get into the business of things.”
Will shook his head. “Look, come into my office the next time you’re at D&G, I’ll give you some contacts in New York or L.A, whichever you prefer. “
“You really would do that?” I asked, touched.
Will nodded. “Sure, why not. Just email a folio of your work or something. Anything that I can send to potentially interested parties.”
I nodded as he spoke. The fact that he mentioned New York was a bit of a surprise to me. I always thought that L.A was the place I’d end up being, where everything would take place in my life, where I’d live my life. Up until this moment, L.A was the mother ship. Up until now, I never gave that much thought to moving to New York, and to be honest, the whole idea excited me. What if I did move?
“So why are you here then?” I asked, moving on.
“I’m meeting a couple prospective liaisons about my campaign for Keigo Murakami, as well as Murakami himself. We’ve taken a VIP room out in the back; I swear I didn’t even know you worked here until I walked into the club.”
I smiled. “Am I cramping your style?”
“Absolutely not,” Will said. “I actually quite like it. You’re like my good luck charm. Don’t go anywhere,” he winked, sending my heart into a frenzy.
“Well, enjoy your night then,” I said.
Will nodded and then began departing. “You too.”
Last night was an unusually slow night for work. It was almost as if something was hanging in the air, floating around, making everyone decline to appear in the one place at the same time. But then again it happened every now and then. When morning came and I awoke, I had the strangest feeling. Like life was finally going my way and nothing could stop me. Granted, Will and I were in a tough position: working in the same company while being equally attracted to each other, but it was a challenge I was ready to tackle. The old me may want to keep the new me from creating a folio of my own one night stands, but it wasn’t going to keep me back by making me too safe.
As I lay in bed, pondering what to do besides laundry, my cell started buzzing. I quickly ran through a list of people in my head of who it could possibly be, but once I stared at the lit screen, my heart thudded and my lips parted to let out a breath of surprise.
Daniel’s mother had always been the kind of woman I admired. She had qualities unlike any one of met before (although some similar to my mother), and she was only ever happy to see Daniel and me together. The parents are usually the obstacle of a relationship, but in this case, she was the bonus! But since Daniel and I broke up, I hadn’t found an appropriate reason to keep in contact with her, even though I very much wanted to. I thought it rude not to answer her though; secretly, she had always been like a second mother, and that meant a lot to me.
“Hi Jade,” I answered.
“Dear,” she said brightly, “I’m so glad you remember me.”
I was about to mention that it was her name that popped up on my screen that alerted me to who was calling, but I figured I liked it this way better.
“Of course I remember,” I said. “How are you?”
“Oh sweetie, I’m fine. I’ve actually been undergoing some chemo and well, it is awful as they say it is.”
I placed a hand on my heart, worried. “I’m so sorry. I hope everything goes well.”
“Everything is darling. But how about you?” she chimed. “What are you up to?”
I gave her a rundown of everything I could remember, excluding anything that involved another man. Throughout this entire conversation, I was hoping that she wouldn’t bring up Daniel and was holding onto that hope for dear life!
“…that’s all very lovely, dear, I’m very happy you’re happy. You know, I just spoke to Daniel a couple days ago and he’s getting along fine too.”
Our conversation paused as I processed what she said, trying to figure out what to say to that. Do I act like she never mentioned him or divert the conversation into another direction?
“That’s wonderful,” was all I replied after quiet deliberation.
“Have you spoken to him since?” Jade asked.
I sighed. “No.”
“You should,” she said, “I’m sure he misses you.”
I closed my eyes and gripped my cell harder. “I’m sure he’s very busy.”
“Nonsense,” she said, “he’s never busy for you.”
I wanted to say things were different now, but I loved Jade. She was so sweet that I forced myself to bite my tongue. “He must be very busy,” I said, “he’s helping out his mother.”
“Oh yes, he is. He’s being very supportive.”
“Plus, he’s chipping in some costs,” I added, “which must be hard work on him. Therefore, too busy for me.”
“What costs, darling?”
“The costs for your treatments.”
Jade’s little giggle was reminiscent of the sound a butterfly’s wing would make if it ever had a sound: moderately short flutters of happiness stringed along one after the other. “Oh honey, I’ve been putting away money aside since I met Richard. He may have brought home the bacon but I’m the one that assembled a delicious fund. Lucky I did. Then Daniel wouldn’t have had to slave away for me.”
I angled my brows downwards. “He never offered?”
“He always offers,” she said, “but I always turn him down. He needs to focus on himself, you know? He’s working in New York, trying to make a name for himself. In the beginning he didn’t take no for an answer and kept sending me some money, but that was until I called him and talked him down.”
I was taken aback as I listened to every word Jade was saying. Why had Daniel never told me about this?
“I’m very happy for you, Jade,” I said.
“Thank you, sweetie,” she replied. “I must get back now. Lots to do.”
“Thank you for your call.”
“Please do keep in touch, Anna. I so do love our conversations, and you are an amazing young woman. I wish you all the best.”
I nodded, my eye beginning to well up. “I’ll do that. All the best to you, too.”