We returned to New York, with newly set high spirits for our future. It may seem somewhat odd that a trip to and from my divorcing parents’ would lead me into a positive attitude but it did. I can’t deny myself that and I can’t deny my mother that; for if she hadn’t told me what she did—sometimes love just isn’t enough—I probably wouldn’t strive harder to prove her wrong. Hard work is involved, obviously, life is no fairy tale, but I know love always keeps bringing me back to Daniel, so I know there was something to say in that. I know what you’re thinking: what do I know? I’m in my early twenties, I’ve been on-again and off-again with Daniel, and I’ve been feeling homesick since I got to New York. This time was different. How so, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
There’s a certain point, on our trip back to New York where I was thinking of how lucky I was. How fortunate and how happy I should be; that I was pissing away all that into in the wind with my snotty, bratty, ways. Well, I should give myself some credit, I know I’m not that bad but yeah, there’s a point where I just stopped and looked at my life from a distance. Like some educational spiritual outer body experience; I had Daniel, a job that I love, friends that I love (both in California and New York, so it’s a double-whamy!), great parents regardless of their divorce, and everyone else’s health, including my own. Honestly, what more could I ask for?
It was then also that I started thinking about living with Daniel. It just felt so right to want to live with him; and yet at the same time, I wanted to live on my own in New York. Get by by myself. Plus, I already told him I couldn’t live with him, even after all the times he asked. I couldn’t go back now, especially after time and time again, he had reiterated my sentiments about living apart for a while and then coming together when we were both ready. And he was right. I was right. We needed to live our own lives while we were young.
Daniel and I dragged our luggage down the hallway, tired from an emotionally heavy and physically exhausting trip. “Happy to be home?” Daniel asked, plugging his keys in and opening the door, pushing past envelopes on the floor.
“More than happy,” I sighed with relief, rubbing my forehead with the back of my wrist, “I’m so ready to just take a shower and a massive nap. Get rejuvenated for work tomorrow.”
“I’m glad this trip has given you a step in your walk,” he said, pleased. “Is that the phrase? Step in your walk?”
“I think it’s skip. Anyway,” I shrugged, “I’m happy too. And I think this is all going to work out for us. I also want you to meet a special someone.”
Daniel lifted a brow. “Oh really?”
I grinned, nodding. “Oh really. His name is Paul. I think you’ll like him.”
“Don’t be so sure.”
“Well I am.”
He pulled me in at the waist. “Well I don’t want you’re hopes to be so high to only be crushed.”
“He’s a great guy,” I said. “I actually think he’ll be good for me, you know? A positive friend.” I didn’t want to put too much emphasis on all the mistaken so-called ‘friends’ I’ve made in the past.
He ran a hand over my ass. “A positive friend. So far so good.”
Daniel slapped me on the ass twice and walked to pick up the envelopes at the door.
“That’s some service,” I noted.
He shook his head, his brows knitted. “I don’t think they’re bills or anything like that. They’re unmarked actually.” He opened one and pulled out a handwritten note. His eyes filled with fury the further bottom he went.
“What is it?” I asked, genuinely worried. Could it be the mafia? Was I missing something?
“Nothing,” he opened the other letter and did the same thing. Throwing both on the kitchen counter-top. “It’s nothing.”
“Daniel…” I urged.
“Ugh, it’s just Richard.”
“You’re father, Richard?” I hadn’t heard from him since the funeral.
Daniel shrugged. “Just wanted to congratulate me on moving up in the company. Wanted to do it personally but didn’t find me home so he figured to write me a letter, asking me out for drinks.”
Oh yeah, did you hear? Daniel’s up for a position opening up in a couple of months! I guess his father knew because he’s such a creep.
Daniel began taking off his clothes, beginning with his shirt. I followed suit, the both of us ready to take a shower with an apparent mutual unspoken understanding that we were going to go at it together.
Daniel shrugged. “I don’t know and I don’t care.”
“You don’t think it’s genuine?” I turned the squeaky faucets to a balanced warm and then hopped in, talking to Daniel on the other side as he shaved.
“Not at all,” he called out. “I’m sure he’s got something up his sleeve.”
“What if he doesn’t? What if he’s played all his cards and he’s got none left?”
“Yeah,” I pulled back the curtain, my hair dripping wet of conditioned cream, and stared at Daniel.
“…He did want to know if I wanted something to do with my mother’s jewellery.”
“What do you mean?”
He shaved a few bits and washed his face. He jumped in the shower afterwards, hogging up all the water. He laughed at how he towered over me, and the only way I could stay warm, considering I couldn’t be doused with warm water since he was blocking it, was to curl up into his embrace. Not going to lie though, it felt gooooooood.
“In the letter—this is weird mind you, suspiciously weird—he offered for me to take the jewellery since I had you as a girlfriend and you might want them. As in I might want you to have them.”
“I actually hadn’t thought about my mother’s will, but I think that’s what he was talking about. He must be an executive on her will, and I must be in it. Plus there’s a lot of money involved and I guess he just wants to discuss all of this over dinner or something.”
It was unnerving to hear him talk about it with little care in the world. Or perhaps he was hiding it very well. Either way, I felt like it was well within his right to have this meeting with his father.
“You can call it a business meeting,” I suggested. “Whatever the case, this sounds really important. Sounds like something you just can’t gloss over. If there are things your mother wanted you to have, and certain things your father is supposed to give you on behalf of her, as an executive on her will, then I think it’d be wise to find out for yourself.”
Daniel gazed at me quizzically. “You don’t object to a dinner-meeting with my father?”
I shook my head. “Not when it concerns you and your mother’s wishes. It’s totally up to you, but I’m just giving my two cents. Throwing it out there.”
“It’ll be headache.”
I wrapped my arms around him and stood on my tip-toes. “If it ever gets to that point, just leave. Honestly, I don’t think there’s any more Richard could do.”
Daniel scoffed, kissing me. “He’ll find a way. He always does.”
You know when you go on a trip and you come back to work newly invigorated and confident? Well, I felt like that for like the first five seconds when I entered my building. I was practically hopping and skipping to work, but once the elevator ding-ed onto my floor, I felt a tiny worm of worry seep its way back into my mind. I really know how to psyche myself out of things.
I ignored everyone on my way to David’s office. I know it was rude of me, but I also knew that if I didn’t tell him what I needed to tell him quick, that I’d be a lost cause. And my little change-into-a-stronger-more-independent-woman speech in the beginning was all for nothing. I was an editorial assistant, not a pushover. That much I had to remind myself of.
“I can’t get you a black lesbian!” I burst out into David’s office. But just my luck, he had a couple of clients in there. The three faces blank and somewhat confused.
“John, Tony, this Anna, my editorial assistant,” David introduced us.
My cheeks flashed hot-pink. “Sorry.” John was pudgy and pasty, hair almost white but had somewhat a young face. Tony was short but built well, he had a head full of thick brown hair and thin but thick eyebrows of the same colour. Both were gripping the arm of their chairs as they peeked around to take a good look at me. I stood there like a doofus (yes, I said doofus!) my lips parted but no words came out. Then they turned.
“Thank you gentleman,” David nodded.
They both gathered their briefcases and took one last glance at me on their way out. David was following behind them, stopping at the door, a mixed look of amusement and confusion on his face.
“I—I’m so sorry. I—”
He put a hand up and I ceased speaking. “Word to the wise,” he started, “whenever my door is closed, I usually have guests in here. Knock first. I figured you’d have already know that,” he titled his head.
I turned tomato-red again. “Yeah, I guess I was just—”
“What’s this thing about a black lesbian?” he asked.
I rattled on, and even though I had a big start to my day, where David praised my assertiveness, my little indiscretion put a slight dent into it. I was just glad that tomorrow night, Daniel was going to meet Paul; and on Friday, he was going to meet Richard. Here’s hoping it’s going to be an up-and-up!