Goooooooood Morning!

***Just noticed I hadn’t posted here in almost a month o.O It wasn’t an uneventful month, let me tell you. In other news, I also updated Samson&Delilah. Hope you enjoy both. Soul xo***

I was woken up by a loud, persistent banging on the front door. My house, though small, was double story. Who knew I’d be living in a house with another level no less, and not an apartment, and still have money left over for food?

The top floor housed the bedroom so I tried sleeping through the knocking. But then the yelling started, the calling of my name by two different voices, and I threw my pillow across my room. It was 7:30AM! I only need to write today which means I should only get up five minutes before I sit at the desk to start writing!

“Coming!” I threw my blanket back and scurried down the stairs, with my eyes barely open I was half-convinced a fall would be my saving grace.

“Anna!” one of them outstretched the ‘A’ at the end.

I opened the door to Katya saying, “whoa, nice pyjamas.”

“Don’t diss Peter Alexander,” I mumbled. I was wearing my super-baggy and cute Mr. Bear pyjamas.

“What are you doing?” Lucy asked, aghast.

“Saving my front door from shattering?”

“You’re late,” Katya said.

“I’m late?”

“For breakfast,” she finished.

Lucy shrugged. “We do it all the time.”

I furrowed my brows and looked around. “I did just move here didn’t I?” I muttered, mostly to myself thinking that when she meant ‘we’ she was including me.

Katya laughed. “She’s so inebriated right now.”

“Look,” Lucy said, “we have breakfast together almost every day, clearly you’re not a morning person and we didn’t give you the heads up, our bad, but we really want you to come.”

“Even if it’s in your purple and white bear pyjamas,” Katya added, smiling.

I popped the collar of my top. “This is styling, you know.”

Katya nodded seriously at my half-assed joke. “Duly noted.”

“We’ll wait,” Lucy grinned.

I gestured my head backwards and let the door go. “I’ll be a couple minutes,” I said, running up the stairs.

***

We sat at a diner with bright red, patent booths rimmed with shiny silver accents. All out of a 50s movie but with colour, even the waiters and cooks were super happy. I mean, I’ve seen people in hospitality be happy, but not like this. These guys looked like they were having the time of their lives. I wondered if it were a family owned business. Maybe that was the secret to happiness, keep it all in the family.

The waitress with the name tag Olivia propped down my pancake stack and eggs for Katya and Lucy. I dug in as soon as I could and man I’m I glad they woke me up. I think I was hangry and sleepy; so shlangry?

“Breathe? Maybe?” Katya laughed.

“These are really good?” I muffled. “Have you had these pancakes? They’re amazing!”

Lucy chuckled. “Man, small towners have the best food.”

“Really?”

Katya rolled her eyes. “No, but Buzz does.”

“Buzz?” I furrowed my brows.

“Mr. Buzz Lightyear himself, Bob Hannigan, the owner and chef.”

“You call him Buzz Lightyear?” I asked, confusedly.

“Everyone in town does,” Lucy said.

“Because with his food he takes everyone to infinity and beyond,” Katya said.

Lucy widened her eyes a fraction of a second. “On a journey.”

That may be the corniest thing I’d ever heard. Actually, Daniel has done some corny things but I think I enjoyed it because I loved him; here it was like I was like I was sharing the same fate as Reese Witherspoon and Toby Maguire in Pleasantville.

“Buzz!” a man called out smacking the bench, startling me. “Couple of coffees to go, please!”

“Jeesh,” I mumbled, “who the hell was that?”

Katya smiled. “You should know.”

“Shut up,” Lucy hissed.

“Umm, what’s the deal?”

“She’s going to find out sooner or later. My money’s on Ricky.”

“Find what out?” I asked.

“Thanks a lot, Katya,” Lucy rolled her eyes.

She shrugged and grinned. “You’re welcome.”

“That’s the, uh, guy we met at the party.”

I furrowed my brows and thought for a minute. “I don’t remember meeting anyone.”

“Oh, really? Oh. Oh well.”

I nudged Lucy. “Who is he? Tell me.”

Katya leaned in against Lucy’s reluctance to divulge any further information. “That’s Jasper.” I looked at Jasper and in the same moment he caught my eye. So I smiled. “He’s the guy you kissed.” I dropped my smile and he laughed.

“What?” I whispered. It was all coming together. “Oh, no, no, no…” Great, I’m that out-of-towner.

“Good morning, ladies,” Jasper grinned, baring his straight, pearly whites.

“Good morning, Jasper,” Katya and Lucy harmonised.

“Hi,” I said. Unable to look away from his brown eyes and his cocky disposition. He was wearing a leather jacket, black jeans and a white shirt. His hair coiffed up and pushed back. The kind of hair I saw on Wall Street types, so it didn’t surprise me when I was told he himself was a recent out-of-towner.

“Nice to see another one of my kind,” Jasper joked.

“Heeeey,” Katya pouted.

“Oh don’t worry,” Lucy said, “we all know you’re from another planet.”

I could only smile while both girls laughed. I was waiting for a moment to apologise for the spontaneous kiss from a stranger but it clearly wasn’t now. Especially when the diner door opened to a blonde woman decked out in an olive green suit making a beeline for us.

“There you are,” she said before taking us in. “What’s this?”

Jasper continued staring at me; I think he was waiting for a reaction.

“Oh, Julie, this Anna, she’s the new girl; Anna this is Julie—” Lucy eyed me— “Jasper’s girlfriend.”

I held my breath and then puffed out a deflated, “Oh…” Jasper looked down and laughed. I guess that was the reaction he was waiting for. I cleared my throat and made an effort to ignore him. “Nice to meet you.”

“Julie is our resident lawyer.”

Julie rolled her blue eyes. “Sort of. This town has nothing to offer a lawyer of my calibre. No offence.”

“None taken,” Katya said. “I guess you can run scams easier on New Yorkers.” She fluttered her eyes and smiled. Okay, that was good; Julie half-assed a smile and narrowed her eyes, and her reaction made it that much sweeter that I giggled.

“Well,” Jasper sighed. “I guess we should get going.”

“Finally,” Julie muttered the same time Katya said, “It’s about time.”

“Nice to meet you officially, Anna,” he said.

I nodded. “Sure.”

“Do you think she knows?” I asked as we watched them walk away. Julie wrapped her hand around Jasper’s waist, he abruptly shoved her clutch away.

“No way,” Lucy said.

“But if Ricky knows…” Katya shrugged, chewing on a strawberry.

“Ugh, God,” I planted my face into my palms.

“Who even cares?” Lucy asked. “Everyone knows they’re not going to last.”

“Yeah, Julie hates it here. Can you tell?”

I shook my head. “Places can grow on people.”

“I don’t think so. Shrubs have committed suicide by the sheer force of Julie’s presence,” Katya said.

“Either that or eventually she cuts them down,” Lucy added.

Apologies

Michael and I hadn’t spoken for a long time. We didn’t see each other, we didn’t talk, and we didn’t even text. I’d been swamped at work to even think about him but when I did, I missed him. I went over and over our fight in my head and wondered if we were both wrong, one of us, or none of us. How do parents spend their whole lives worrying about the kind of crowd their children mix with if friends aren’t a factor in who we are? Maybe when we get older, it becomes clearer. I can’t count the number of times I hear we’re not supposed to generalise an entire people based on just a few people, couldn’t it be the same for the people we know?

I honestly didn’t know, what I did know was that I wasn’t fair to him. I should know better. It’s not like me to just judge a man’s character based on his friends’, or anyone’s for that matter.

Colour me surprise (I know, totally clichéd phrase) when I saw Michael entering the office with Ahly’s ex and friends. As per usual they were having a great time and laughing their asses off. Ahly was smiling because obviously it was infectious, but I was immune.

“When are they going to higher security so they can be shot on site,” Toby sighed.

“Oh pipe down party pooper,” Ahly said.

“This is a place of our work!” He said.

“Uh huh, is that why you keep texting your new girlfriend?”

“What new girlfriend?” I asked.

Toby turned red and kept his warning eyes on Ahly. “No one.”

“I thought the only person you’ve been seeing is…” I stopped short when I thought of the only person I knew he could be calling a girlfriend by this point. But they just met!

“Who?” Toby asked.

I shrugged and acted like I didn’t know. If Chloe didn’t tell me then she didn’t want me to know, and that was a separate issue altogether. My best friend didn’t want me to know she was dating someone I was working with. Like, for real dating. Like, this wasn’t just a fling dating. Why though?

I slipped a glance Michael’s way and he caught it. He half-smiled and looked down then back up at his friends. It was so unbelievably awkward. I guess he wasn’t ready to talk to me either, which is convenient for me considering I wasn’t entirely ready to admit I was wrong.

He ended up leaving and I got back to work to what felt like a long time until I had my break. I asked if they wanted anything before I left, and all I thought about was food. I was mentally calculating what I should get that when I exited the building my name being called out repeatedly sounded like it was from the distance coming closer.

There was Michael, leaning up against the building, smoking a cigarette. “You sure do take forever to go for lunch.”

I fixed my bag over my shoulder and walked over to him. “I’ve been busy.”

He blew a puff of smoke. “Yeah, me too. I think this wall and I have become one with ourselves.”

I smiled at his ridiculousness, trying and failing to keep it composed. “Mm-hmm.”

“So, we haven’t spoken in a while,” he said, matter-of-fact.

I shrugged and gazed on into the distant traffic. “I’ve been busy.”

“Thought you’d say that.”

I sighed. “Yeah, well, I wouldn’t say I liked the freeze.”

He took a swig and then nodded. “Yeah, I’m more of a settle-this-here-and-now type. But can you blame me?”

I looked up through my lashes and smiled. He tilted his head and I shook mine, giving a little huffed laugh. “No, of course not.” I mumbled under my breath, “You can blame me though.”

“I fucking missed you.”

I shrugged. “I maybe, kind of missed you, too,” I joked.

“Especially when I saw some guy named Mark and you on Facebook having a good time,” he said, suggestively.

I rolled my eyes. “Just a friend.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Mm-hmm yourself.” He laughed and I cleared my throat. “I’m sorry about the fight. I was an asshole and should’ve known better.”

He lifted his brow impressed and brought the corners of his lips downwards. “Say what?”

“Come on, don’t make me say it again.”

He laughed and clutched my jaw to angle his lips down and press them on mine. “I missed that, too,” he said when he pulled away.

“Me too,” I breathed.

“Come on—” he grabbed my hand— “let’s get out of here.”

I shimmied back and out of his grasp. “I have work.”

“Ditch.”

I tilted my head. “What are we in high school?”

“I mean take a personal day, come on let’s go.”

“Why? Got something Valentine’s Day related planned?” I winked.

“Yeah, right, like I’d celebrate a bullshit holiday.”

“Oh. You don’t like it?”

He shrugged. “I just think it’s stupid.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah…” I nodded.

“But…I’m gathering you like it?”

“It’s whatever,” I said, waving my hand forwards.

“You sure?”

I nodded. “Hey, I really do have to get back to work.”

“Thought you were going to lunch?”

“Right. Lunch then work.”

“How about we have lunch together then, since you won’t ditch?”

“Uhh, you know, it’s going to be a quick one for me. In and out, sort of thing. I’ll see you later.”

“Anna—”

I was already on the curb about to set foot to cross the street. “Bye!”

First Fight

***BONUS post! Enjoy! Soul xo***

Literally everyone wanted to forget the night. When Stanley took a swing at Brandon I knew all hell was going to break loose. Michael tried to break up the fight while Janet and I rushed over to the side. I can’t help but feel proud over one person only: Stanley. It might be a medieval concept, but Brandon deserved what he got. Barely that actually, he was asking for it. Who says that kind of stuff and doesn’t expect backlash back?

Anyway, the party pretty much broke up after that and the crowd dissipated until we were left going home. I asked Janet wanted me to come with her but she was totally fine. I think she wasn’t as bothered by the comments as Stanley was. Janet was a fighter; she’s experienced a lot of bullshit all her life and I knew she thought this was just another day in the life. Which is why Stanley was the one that appeared to need more consoling, funnily enough. Even though it seemed as though he was there for his woman, Janet was there just as much for her man. It was pretty cool.

Michael and I were quiet in the Uber ride back to my place. I guess you could say it was an uncomfortable silence. I was still fuming over Brandon and what happened that I wanted to vent with Michael as well. He didn’t seem as outraged and it kind of bothered me.

“Did you want to come up?” I asked Michael once we stopped outside my apartment building. “I can fix you some ice for that hand.”

Oh yeah, he got in a few punches as well. Mostly from his friends which is so beyond weird for me.

He sighed. “Yeah, sure.” His voice unstrained and loose. He sounded way too calm for the ruckus that happened. I started to think I was overreacting.

“Didn’t think you’d be in here for ice,” I joked.

Michael chuckled. “Yeah…” he clutched the sides of my face and pulled into a long French kiss.

I pushed at his chest. “Hey come on. Now’s not really the time.” I placed the ice over his hand.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean,” I shrugged, “shit did just go down back there.”

Michael shook his head and scoffed. “It’s just Brandon.”

I lifted my brows. “Oh. So that’s normal?”

“They just like to mess with people.”

“Ummm…I think that’s a little more than just messing with people.”

“It was a joke.”

“A joke!?”

“Yeah, if Stanley was an actual friend of ours he’d be playing along, too. And Janet would be laughing.”

“And if Brandon was our friend he’d know he shouldn’t be saying shit like that about my best friend, but I guess we’re not the type of people to make those kinds of friends.”

Michael’s nostrils flared and he stood up straight. “Oh, and I suppose I’m a piece of shit to be running around with other pieces of shit.”

“I can’t believe you’re defending this guy!”

“And I can’t believe you think my friends are a reflection of me!”

“Well, some people say you are who you hang with!”

“Fuck this,” he threw the ice pack onto the counter, “I don’t need this bullshit. Call me when you can learn to separate me from the people I know.”

“Are you seriously leaving?” I scoffed and rolled my eyes as soon as he closed the door behind him. “What a cheap move.”

I checked my cell to see if Janet messaged but found a message from Mark instead: ‘Hey, sorry, I was out. Are you still up for a good time?’

Menopausal C****

***Thank you to all those who viewed and\or voted for FSo BLACK SILK; it’s almost at 100K views! Soul xo***

One of the better albeit not so evidence-backed test that a new relationship has potential to last is the meeting before meeting the parents. Meeting the friends. I was already on good terms with He Who Shall Not Be Named a.k.a Ahly’s ex-boyfriend\beat bunny, so I figured I was half in. To break the ice and make me comfortable Michael suggested I bring a couple friends to a gathering one of his friends was hosting. And by hosting I mean he had free space in his artsy loft that could account for a ton of people.

I wanted to drag all my friends to this party but only Janet and Stanley could come. On the way there I thought of Mark and texted him and when I got there he still hadn’t replied. I figured he was out busy but didn’t think too much of it.

“Hey!” I waved at Michael when I spotted him.

“Oh shit, I forgot he was cute,” Janet mumbled.

“Oh my God, like so cute!” Stanley piped in.

Janet slapped him on his chest. “Shut up and get us some drinks will ya?”

“Well, only because you said ‘please’,” he grinned at his own joke and winked at me. I giggled and stopped short when I felt a hand slide around my waist.

“Hey baby,” Michael whispered into my ear.

“Hi…” I grabbed the back of his neck as he kissed mine through my hair. When I turned around he pushed back the hair from my face and gave me a long kiss. We were that annoying couple for a moment that pushed Janet to clear her throat suggestively.

“Oh, Michael you remember Janet,” I said, wiping my lips.

“Of course, how could I forgot?”

“And her husband?” I gestured to Stanley who was holding a couple of beers. He will never learn that I don’t like beer, so I gave mine to Michael.

“Oh. That I did forget,” Michael said, unapologetically.

Stanley narrowed his eyes slightly. “That’s fine.”

Awkward. I think it was completely overlooked by Michael because he just kept getting handsy with me without a care in the world.

Later on in the night Janet, Stanley, Michael and I were chatting to a few of Michael’s friends, one of which was Brandon, a guy I regularly see attached to Michael whenever I saw them at the office. Brandon was definitely the heavy drinker, clearly with a high tolerance, he kept boasting about how it was his seventh beer and he wasn’t feeling a thing. I’m not sure if that’s an Olympic sport but apparently he’s super proud for some reason.

“…can you believe these marches that are happening? All because some people hate Donald Trump. A bunch of pussies if you ask me,” Brandon laughed.

“Nobody’s asking you, dude,” his friend laughed with him.

“Fuck off! Seriously, like why are we protesting anything anymore? World’s fucked as it is without a bunch of menopausal cunts holding signs on the street.”

“Well that’s a disturbingly vivid image,” I said.

“Exactly,” Brandon pointed.

“I meant it’s disturbing that that’s the only image you seem to have.”

Janet snickered. “You can say that again.”

“This is always what happens when politics get throw into the conversation. Don’t listen to Brandon he just likes to ruffle a few feathers.”

“As I recall, someone else likes to fuck with people, too,” Brandon eyed Michael.

“Yeah, I barely do it with politics.”

Brandon harrumphed and took a swig. “Did you go—” he pointed at Janet— “being that you’re black and all?”

“Ummm…” Janet responded.

“Hey man,” Stanley warned.

Michael dropped his arm from around my shoulder as we felt the intensity of the atmosphere grow threateningly dangerous.

“I think you had enough to drink, man,” Brandon’s friend said, laying a hand on Brandon’s shoulder.

Brandon pushed it away without taking his eyes off of Stanley. “Let me ask you something—” he leaned in and smirked— “do you gotta put on a night light on to see what orifice is where when you get down and dirty?”

More Soup

***BONUS post. Enjoy!***

“How’s the soup?” Michael asked.

I winced. “It’s sort of burning my throat.”

He grinned and wriggled his brows. “Good. It’s killing all the bacteria.”

“Oh God…”

“What?”

I heated up quickly. “This is just so weird to me.”

“What is?”

“You seeing me like this, in all my sickness, cleaning up my apartment—”

“—which I did a great job I might add. Almost impossible,” he joked.

“Shut up. I’m way too vulnerable right now.”

“Stop being so self-conscious.”

“I’m not.”

“You are.”

“I’m not.”

He tilted his head and lifted a brow. “You are,” he warned.

“Okay, fine, whatever.”

He chuckled. “Look, if it’s making you that uncomfortable then I can go. But believe me when I say that I really, really, really, like taking care of you. And I really, really, really like you.”

I narrowed my eyes. “How come you never came up?”

He blinked confusedly. “What?”

I shrugged. “How come you never came inside with me? Every time we went out on a date or whatever, sometimes I’d ask you up, sometimes it was obvious I wanted you to come inside but you never did. Why?”

“Oh,” he smiled. He sat opposite me on the coffee table, and I dropped my legs from it.

“I thought you wanted…”

“I do, believe me, I do. It’s not like me to wait.”

“What are you waiting for?”

“I just…I just don’t want to ruin this. Argh…I fucking hate getting all sensitive and shit. Should be your department.”

I laughed. “We’re making jokes to avoid this are we?”

“Lucky for me I’m actually funny.”

“Maybe you don’t know this about me until now, but I have no energy to be annoyed when I’m sick.”

“Or no energy to fight back because you know you’ll lose?”

“Michael,” I tilted my head.

“Anna,” he mimicked me.

I laughed. “Wow you really can’t open up can you?”

He sighed, running a hand through his dark hair. “I want to see where this goes. I just don’t want to fuck everything up because I want to fuck you.”

“Ummm….”

He shook his head. “That’s not what I mean. I just mean, I have this on-to-the-next mentality and I don’t want to be on to the next.”

I smiled. “Does this mean we’re exclusive?”

“I don’t know,” he said. “Do you want to be?”

I feigned my sigh. “Guess that would mean I’m going to have to cancel all my booty calls.”

He narrowed his eyes and I laughed. “Oh you got jokes, huh?”

“Okay, serious question. What if we’re building this up and in the end it’s not going to be great.”

He shrugged. “Then we fuck up and try again. Easy.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that. Oh now don’t tell me you’re one of those first time quitters. Because I’m not a quitter.”

“You sound like Rocky.”

He huffed a little laugh. “Stella!”

“It’s Adrienne.”

“Whatever.”

“Okay. We’re exclusive,” I nodded.

“Jeesh so demanding, okay fine, we’re exclusive,” he grinned.

I rolled my eyes. “Shut up.” I handed him my empty bowl. “Go make me more soup.”

“Like a vacuum, you are.”

“Fuck you.”

“Gladly.”

***The Alice in Wonderland reference in the previous post was in the title: Beautiful Soup. Soul***

Beautiful Soup!

So every date Michael and I have been on we’ve been ending the night with a kiss before my apartment door. The date was always fun. We’d go anywhere and let loose; it didn’t even have to be dinner, sometimes we grabbed breakfast, or we took a walk on the beach. We were just so comfortable around each other, not to mention Michael being a self-proclaimed asshole was somewhat enjoyable whenever I had a chance to annoy him as much as he annoyed me whenever he got the chance. It was great.

There was only one problem. He never ever came inside the apartment, even when I asked.

He always had some excuse waiting at the seams of my proposition and it became increasingly apparent it wasn’t going to happen any time soon. I started second guessing myself then, as you do. Must be that extra chromosome thing he’s always said (jokingly). I started to feel pathetic at one point and ended up just holding back from asking. Oh, it isn’t without difficulty I could tell you.

I’d be up against the door with my back, and he’d have my hands running up and down my body. I’d taste the aftermath of a cigarette lingering on his tongue and it wasn’t so overpowering that I couldn’t stand it. It was an interesting, almost bitter taste. I’d want him so badly; he’d make me so wet to the point where I’m gripping him and pulling him closer into me. I’d grab a fist full of his white shirt and pull him forcibly. He’d place his hand on my neck just under my jaw line and push me back to make way for a string of kisses down my neck. We all but had sex in the hallway! But he never entered the apartment with me. And I always wondered why.

That was until I got sick.

I’d been obsessing to the girls over this situation when I fell sick. They of course had no clue what to do and my brain kept rattling for understanding, but nothing came up. When I left I came home with nothing but a sickness that I had to cancel my next date with Michael. The weekend would just have to be spent wallowing.

On Saturday at around noon my phone started vibrating up on the bedside table. Did I tell you I got a new phone? Yup. It buzzes a lot less shockingly than my old Blackberry so now I can stand it being on vibrate.

“Hello?” I answered coarsely.

“Whoa. You don’t sound too good.”

“Mmm Michael?”

“Yeah, babe.”

I groaned. I so did not want him to hear me in all my sick glory. “I thought I cancelled already.”

“You did. I’m just checking to see how you are.”

“I feel like shit.”

He chuckled. “I can tell.”

Groan number two. “Do I really sound that bad?”

“Of course not. Like a sick angel.”

I laughed and it hurt my chest. “Fuck you,” I squeaked.

He laughed. “Aww poor baby. That’s what you get for acting all sass with me.”

“I’m not sass.”

“Oh, like a cat.”

I chortled throatily. “I better get to resting up then.”

“Have you eaten?”

“No, not yet. I’m too tired to make myself something. And I didn’t eat too much last night because I was too excited for our date tonight.”

“Well I was thinking about that and figured, why do we have to cancel?”

I paused. “Huh?”

“I mean, I’ve been looking forward to it too.”

I moaned. “Sorry.”

“You better be.” We both laughed. “Which is why I’m bringing the date to you.”

I hesitated just in case I was hearing things, but there was a rather large lull that I was forced to break. “Say what?”

A knock sounded on my door and I lifted the 8-ton blanket. “Are you seriously here?”

“Yup. And I come bearing gifts.”

I started to panic. I wouldn’t say I was entirely a neat freak, but on my sick days my dwellings tended to look like a wild habitat. Clothes were strewn everywhere, opened food packets and cutlery covered nearly every table top, and towels were all over the bathroom floor. It was a sty and nothing a pig would be proud of, just saying. So lucky me, the guy I’m seeing is going to be seeing my apartment the one time I haven’t prepared for it. On a day where I look as shit as my apartment too.

“I didn’t exactly prepare for this, Michael,” I blushed, trying to fix my frizzy hair in the entryway mirror.

“Just open the door. I’m sure it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

I hung up and did as he said, pressing my head up against the door as I leaned into it. “Hey,” I greeted, sleepily.

“Wow.”

“I know,” I looked down.

“Who’s looking after you?”

I eyed the plastic and paper bags he was carrying. “You apparently.”

“I really wasn’t kidding when I said I was coming bearing gifts.” He grinned. I smiled. “Arrrrre you going to let me in?”

“My apartment is a little messy.”

He shrugged. “I’m a guy with a crazy sister and a deeply dysfunctional family. I think I can handle it.”

“Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

He made a beeline for the kitchen and placed the bags on top before turning around and scanning the apartment. He looked at me and smiled. “I won’t say it.”

“Oh my God,” I hid my face into my hands.

“I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Nothing I can’t handle, remember?”

I nodded. “So what did you get?”

“Oh, a secret recipe for homemade soup. Plus chicken soup I picked up to hold you over until the cooking and cleaning is finished.”

I widened my eyes and it felt like it took all of my energy. “No way.”

“What?”

“Cooking and cleaning? You’re not my personal maid.”

He laughed. “Oh come on.”

“No, this is so embarrassing,” I mumbled, shaking my head. “It’s just…I didn’t…I wasn’t…”

“Hey,” he walked towards me, “shut up okay. Fucking relax. I want to take care of you.”

I eyed speculatively. “Why? I don’t get it. Why?”

He shrugged. “Why not?”

“Don’t do that.”

He laughed. “Okay, okay. Aww you look so cute when you’re all pissy and dishevelled.”

I weakly shoved him and he barely nudged. “Shut up.”

“Come on, let me take care of you. I swear you’ll start feeling better once you have two bowls of soup. Lots and lots of lemon. The whole shebang.”

“Mmmm…” I moaned. “Okay. It seems I have no choice,” I said, jokingly.

“Good.”

“Good,” I nodded.

He gently brushed his fingers across my cheek. “I wish I could kiss you right now.” I smiled, about to gush and turn into a puddle of mush. “Alright, go rest with the bought soup and then go to sleep. I’ll wake you when the cooking is finished.”

***Can anyone guess the Alice in Wonderland reference? Soul xo***

NYE

Jodie rarely hosts parties because she hates having randoms over to her apartment, not to mention the clean-up and the constant pressure to host and make sure everyone has a good time. However, she picks one day out of the year specially designed for just that. Jodie lives in a high rise roof top that pretty much has the best view of the city out of all of us. New Year’s Eve we were packing it in. She told everyone to invite everyone. Naturally, since Michael suggested to split our parties last time, I decided to ask him out.

I didn’t know how to start since everyone is usually booked out like a year in advance, but for guys like Michael, I imagined he was waiting until the last minute. So I called him up.

“Hey,”

“Hey you,” I said a little too eagerly.

“How are you?”

“I’m good, good.”

He chuckled breathily over the line. One of those chuckles to be polite and fill the air with. “That’s good.”

“Yeah…” Why was I feeling so jittery?

“So…”

“So, yeah,” I laughed awkwardly, “reason why I called.”

“Mm-hmm.” I heard the popping sound of when he detached his lips from his cigarette and blew smoke.

“One of my friends is having a party for New Year’s Eve and I was wondering if you wanted to come with me?” I cringed, lifting the top corner of my mouth and closing one eye as if I was in pain. Hearing the words now, inviting him out, I should’ve waiting for him to invite me out. This is a true testament to me not being one of those type of confident girls that can walk right up to a man and ask them out.

“Are you asking me out on a date?”

“Shortof,” I said, emphasising the ‘r’ and accidentally sounding like Mugsy.

“You sound so cute when you’re uncomfortable,” he muttered, chortling.

I smiled, slightly relieved he found it a somewhat endearing quality. On the other hand I’m sitting in my underwear with conflicting emotions getting ready for a date with my girls while thinking of how early it is that I’m calling him up.

“So…?”

“I can’t.”

“Oh,” I said, trying to not sound so obviously disappointed.

“Yeah, I already made plans to go to another party.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Sorry.”

I shrugged and held it up. “No it’s fine, it’s fine. I mean, of course you do. I just thought if you weren’t doing anything…” I sighed, dropping my shoulders. “It’s good.”

“I’ll see you soon?”

“Yeah, see you next year, ha!” Oh God, lame joke, much? My little laugh faded.

“Okay. Bye.”

“Bye.”

I rolled my eyes after we hung up and fell backwards onto my messy bed. That was a headache.

***

New Year’s Eve came quicker than I had anticipated, and so did the crowd. Jodie wasn’t playing when she said she goes all out. Unfortunately I was the only one without a date; Janet was with Stanley, Jodie has been seeing someone for a couple months now, Chloe even came with Toby. Is it weird that I’m a little weird about them two being together? Anyway, it was totally out of my comfort zone spending New Year’s without a date; I don’t even remember the last time that happened.

“You can kiss me if you want,” Jodie said and puckered up.

I rolled my eyes. “Jodie…”

“Or him,” Janet pointed to a beer belly bearded beau ogling me.

“Oh come on,” I whined.

“What,” Chloe shrugged, “he’s cute.”

“Hey” Toby said.

Chloe smiled. “Sorry, but he is.”

Toby fluttered a laugh, shaking his head. “What’s with the need to kiss at midnight? It’s become such an obligation to bring a date now that there’s so much pressure involved. So tense round this time in a year. Party planning, looking good, and now we have to bring the vessel we’re going to kiss at midnight? It’s so much.”

“First of all,” Chloe began, “you better not be calling me a vessel. Second of all, you better be kissing me at midnight.”

“Oh, I’m definitely kissing you at midnight,” Toby laughed.

Chloe shimmied her shoulders bashfully. “Cool.”

“Great, so I guess we can all agree we can take that speech and throw it out the window,” I said.

“Or off the roof,” Janet said. “Seriously, Jodie, this is an awesome spot you have here.”

“Thanks,” she replied high-pitched. Then she pointed to me. “Offer still stands…”

I rolled my eyes. “Thanks guys, but I think I’m going to go.”

“Oh come on, we’re just joking,” Chloe whined. “Don’t be such a party pooper.”

“How about if we make a pact that we all don’t kiss at midnight,” Toby suggested.

“Or we all kiss each other?” Janet wriggled her brows.

Toby and Stanley scanned the girls with keen interest before landing their eyes on each other. They both shivered and warped their faces into disgust and tore away.

“No, fuck no,” Stanley shook his head. Janet laughed, the only one in the know.

“I’m out guys,” I said, above the persistent protest. “I’ll see you next year!”

I wasn’t even in a bad mood or anything, I just felt like going. Imagine watching the fireworks on the beach, or through the window of my place, or—

“Hey, thought I’d find you here,” Michael said, climbing up the fire escape I had only just started.

I grinned. “What are you doing here? I thought you had other plans.”

He shrugged and crinkled his nose. “Yeah, well, wasn’t as good.”

“As good as…?” I stepped down a couple.

He grinned and shrugged again. “As good as…well, I sort of missed you okay.”

“Wow.”

“So?”

I laughed. “You’re cute when you’re uncomfortable.”

He chuckled, and I hoped I could see him better to analyse if he was blushing or not. He sounded like he was. “Alright, I guess I walked right into that one. So what’s going on, you leaving?”

I hopped down the final step and gazed over the city. “Yeah.”

“Feeling like a home buddy?” He leaned over the railing beside me.

“I don’t know. I’m in a weird happy funk right now. Can’t explain it.”

“Maybe it’s good because you can’t explain it.”

“What are you saying? I’m happy because I don’t know how to identify what I’m feeling?” I chuckled. Seemed a bit farfetched.

“Or maybe you’re happy because you’re letting yourself be.”

“Mmm,” I pouted in thought, “deep.”

He chuckled. “Yeah well, they don’t call me Socrates…” I waited for him to finish but then realise that was the joke and giggled. “Took you long enough,” he bumped me.

I rolled my eyes. “Shut up. So what are you planning going to do, kiss me at midnight?”

He straightened up and clutched my arm, pulling my backwards against the brick wall of the building. His lips inches away from my mine, his breaths warm, his eyes intense. “I don’t need midnight.”

His lips were cold when he brought them down onto mine, but his tongue was pressing a warmth deep into me. His skin was so smooth, and his hair was a playground for me to hold onto. I could feel his erection instantly.

I could hear the party counting down above us; ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, THREE, TWO, ONE! Cheers sprayed as fireworks lit the sky. People shouted Happy New Year. And I was kissing Michael through it all. I opened my eyes to sneak a preview of the fireworks and smiled through his kisses.

He parted. “Happy New Year.”

I grinned and whispered, “Happy New Year.”

***For those that want to know I am continuing posting on Samson&Delilah. Currently there are two latest ones “Five.Five” and “Six”. The beginning of that particular story is from “The New Chapter: One”. I hope to keep it up and I hope you are looking forward to reading that story. The comments section over there is not closed so feel free to flourish. If you missed the previous post also, please know that posting will most likely be sporadic from now on. I’m hoping to keep it to the same day once a week, but at the very least once a week. Thanks for your patience! Soul xo***

An Edition

***So clearly I’m going to have to change at least the time in which I post. From now on it’s the same day; any time***

“Daniel,” I said, a little too cheerily. I hopped on my tiptoes and hugged him. “Hey. How are you?”

“Not bad,” he nodded, putting his hands back into his jean pocket. Then he eyed Michael.

“Oh, Michael this is Daniel, Daniel; Michael.”

“How’s it going, man,” Michael said, holding out his hand.

Daniel chuckled, shaking Michael’s hand. “Good, good.” For a split second he angled his brows downwards.

Mmkay, so this is weird. A gap in the conversation spilled over us and we were just giving polite glances to each other.

“So, how do you two know each other?” Michael asked.

“Oh, Daniel and I—”

“—We go way back,” Daniel cut in.

“Okay.” Michael nodded. “I guess I’ll leave you to catch up then.”

I smiled, trying to figure out if that was the way to go when it was too late. Michael had already left.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Stanley invited me.”

“No, I mean, don’t you have anything going on in New York.”

He sighed. “So you think I’m that sad, huh?”

“No, of course not, I—”

“—Relax,” he laughed, “I’m kidding.”

“Oh, okay,” I breathed.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” he asked.

“Umm…” I looked down and then at Janet who was waving a hand from side to side mouthing ‘go, go’. Oh, Janet. “Sure.”

***

“It’s so much quieter outside,” I said after we were walking in silence for what seemed like a stupendous amount of time, “usually it’s the other way around.”

“Mmm. So, Michael, huh?”

“We’re just…” I shook my head. Here we go.

“No, I mean it’s good.”

I looked up, astounded. “Say what?”

He laughed. “I thought I’d be my usual angry self but, I don’t know, seeing you two together—”

“—We’re not together.”

“Just the same. Seeing you happy made me happy.” He shrugged. “This might be weird to say but he sort of reminded me of me back when we first met. God, I remember being so carefree, riding around with my bike.”

“Having a reputation with the ladies,” I added.

He laughed, nodding and blushing. “Yeah, that, too.” He sighed. “I don’t know. Suddenly, I just wasn’t angry.”

I smiled. “I’m genuinely glad.”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t love you.”

Argh, what a blow to the chest. “Daniel…”

“Janet said you still have feelings for me so I, of course, jumped on the first plane out of there. And of course that wasn’t true.”

“I’m so sorry.” I’m going to murder Janet. And Stanley! Guarantee he was an accomplice.

“Don’t worry about it. I’m not saying it for you to pity me I’m saying it because I know seriously have to move on, but I’m starting to realise I can’t.”

“What about the girl you’re dating?”

He shrugged. “What girl?”

Wow. Just like that, huh?

“This is me,” he pointed to a car on the curb. “I’ll drive you back.”

“That’s okay, I can use the walk back.”

“Oh come on, don’t do that nice thing we’re people do one thing but really want the other,” he eyed me.

I laughed, feeling put on the spot and my cheeks burning. “No, I’m being serious. I want to walk.”

“Okay,” he grinned, opening the door and pulling out a present. “This is for you.”

“Daniel…but I didn’t get you anything…”

“Who cares? Open it.”

It wasn’t in the usual colourful wrapping paper. He was gloved in cardboard paper, tied by a wiry piece of white string. My hands were shaking and I didn’t know if it was because of the weather, or just Daniel. He uncovered the paper back and held it as I inspected the present.

“It’s an early edition,” he said.

I looked up. “Oh my God. It’s Wuthering Heights.”

“I knew you’d like it.”

“Like it? I love it!” I gasped. “How did you even…?”

“I always knew you like that.”

I held the book against my chest. “Daniel…”

He leaned in and pecked a kiss atop my head. Then, he pressed his forehead against mine and whispered, “Merry Christmas, Anna.”

***Happy New Year! Soul xo***

If he insists…

I literally want to kill Chloe.

So I had my first date with rich bachelor number one and it didn’t go so well. He was so dull to the point where I could feel my brain cells committing suicide just for the hell of it. The only life he had in him was when he asked me to join him back to his place.

“What?” I asked, surprised.

He shrugged. “I sort of don’t want to spend so much money on this trip. I think I’ll be too busy to go, too. I just want to have sex, not make an investment.” He laughed and literally snorted.

“Oh,” I breathed, smiling politely. I feel so special.

After that horrendous date I figured two more would be just begging for it. I texted Chloe demanding that she not let me go through with this, but she was holding my keeping onto Daniel over my head that I needed something to push me.

What’s two more dates?’ she asked.

I’m in it for the free trip to Fiji at this point,” I texted back.

Work was pretty slow. Ever since the party Ahly has been continually all over her ex, and he all over her. I swear, it doesn’t even look like they’re not a couple. Toby wouldn’t even talk about the party, but he’s always on his phone, which is rare for someone like Toby. If he and Chloe hooked up and I’m stuck with Stranger Joe, I will lay all of Chloe’s shit back, tenfold.

“Uh oh,” Toby rolled his eyes, “here comes the brigade.”

We started hearing them coming in from outside. The muffled voices creeped up louder and finally exploded into the common room. Owen jumped out of his office and demanded Ahly’s ex to wait for him inside. He and Michael said their goodbyes before they departed. Ahly’s ex didn’t seem to even care, though it was apparent Owen was fuming by his tomato-red face.

I thought Michael was going to leave but he just plainly walked into the kitchen like he owned the place and started rummaging through fruit bowls and snacks and drinks in the fridge. No one seemed to notice, but I couldn’t ignore it. I didn’t want to feel like I dobbed on him if I told anyone like it was grade school, so I decided to take the situation into my own hands. Maybe because I was inside the building the place would serve as my safe haven. I know what you’re thinking; you’re thinking it’s a bad idea. Well fuck it!

I had the balls up until I was right behind him. Then I wondered what I was doing, what I was going to say, and I stopped short. I was too busy thinking and was about to turn back when Michael spotted me. I feigned my courage and carried on.

“How weird,” he smiled. “Fancy seeing you here. Come here often?”

“I’m just getting a bottle of water, Michael,” I sighed.

“It’s right there,” he pointed to the fridge door.

I grabbed the cold bottle and straightened up. “Thank you.”

As I was cracking open the bottle, Michael slid a black box over to me. “Your present.”

“You’re kidding,” I said.

He smiled. “I told you I got you something.”

I narrowed my eyes. “I thought you said you didn’t know it was my birthday party.”

He grinned knowingly; calling him out made me smile wide for the first time. “Open it,” he nodded, ignoring my deduction.

I turned back and the office still seemed eyeballs deep into their work. Ahly was playing with her faded hair and Toby was lost in his phone.

I grabbed the box and flipped it open. Inside was a dainty, diamond necklace. Uber shiny; uber expensive. “It’s pretty.”

“Try it on.”

I scoffed, incredulously. “I can’t accept this.”

“Why not?” he shrugged, seemingly confused. “Don’t you like necklaces?”

“I do, but—”

“So…it’s yours.”

I stared at his gaze confusedly, searching for a semblance of truth behind his actions.

“This is too much,” I breathed. Then, I cleared my throat. “I hope you don’t think this means I like you.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he smiled, pleased.

I nodded, avoiding his steel regard. “Good.”

“Good,” he nodded. “See you around.”

Guess Who’s Coming…And Not The Good Kind..

So even though I refer to Janet and Stanley as husband and wife, they’re not actually married yet. Yet, being the operative word.

“October is right around the corner!” Janet bubbled.

“I’m so excited!” I exclaimed.

“Are you, really?” she reached for my forearm. Did I mention she was a little tipsy? We’d been sneaking in pre-drinks before we hit the club. Strip club, I mean.

“I couldn’t be happier.”

“I know!” she clapped her hands and snickered. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Finally! I keep telling everyone you guys are husband and wife,” I scrunched my nose. A knock on the door turned my head. “It’s open!”

“Are we ready to see some hot naked guys or what?” Chloe said, Jodie following behind her.

“I sure am,” Jodie said. We all stared at her. Even Janet stopped swaying. “What?” she shrugged then rolled her eyes. “Just because I bat for the other team doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the others’ sportsmanship.”

We all laughed. “Alright,” I clapped my hands. I got up and hopped into the kitchen to make us all a drink before we headed out, “cheers,” the girls surrounded the kitchen, “to a great friend—a sister—I know you’re going to be getting a lot more toasts on the day, but for now, I want to be the first to wish you nothing but happiness for you and Stanley.”

The girls lifted their glasses. “Here, here!”

***

“Why did she have to pick this strip club?” I whined to Jodie. “Of all the clubs in L.A.”

“Shhh,” Jodie hissed. “Is this you’re big day, or hers?”

“But…Eric works here.”

“Who’s Eric?”

“Jodie….Eric!”

“Ohhhh, right, Eric.” She paused for a moment. “That is weird,” she chuckled.

“It’s not funny,” I smacked her, unable to contain myself.

She put her hands up in surrender. “Alright. You have to admit, though, it’s pretty funny.”

“It’s pretty weird.”

We got a table all the way in the front, and the entire time sitting there, waiting for the music to change and the guys to come out, I was hoping Eric couldn’t see me front row and centre. He’ll legit think I’m stalking him. I’m all for investigating digital footprints, but when it comes to seeing someone everywhere they go, that’s creepy.

“He’ll totally think I’m already obsessing with him or something,” I feared.

Jodie rolled her eyes. “If he thinks that then his jewels would’ve shrivelled into sun-dried tomatoes.”

I scrunched my nose. “Huh?”

“Then he has no balls,” she clarified before taking a sip of her martini.

“Oh,” I laughed. I need a drink.

Thankfully, the night began painlessly. When the music changed and the guys came out, Eric barely spotted me and the girls and I were having the time of our lives. That was until the announcer asked if there were any soon-to-be-marrieds in the audience and of course Janet sprung up from her chair like a meerkat bobbing upwards to check out the scenery. She got called on stage and guys started gyrating on her. Eric was on the side, but for one fleeting, discrete moment, he gazed into the audience and we locked eyes. He turned away without neither of us having any time to either elongate or shorten our smiles. It was awkward. Should I be acting like I didn’t know him? Not like he said anything to me. And not like this is fucking Coyote Ugly; rule number one: appear to be single!

“Woohoooo!” Janet squealed once she met back with us. A second round of drinks hit our table. “That was fun!”

“I want him,” Chloe pointed as the men walked off stage, “and him, and him, oh, and him…”

“You know, it’s so brave of you to be coming to the wedding,” Janet said.

I smiled. “Oh, my mother. Right.”

She doesn’t even know I’m living in L.A now. She doesn’t even know Daniel and I broke up. She doesn’t even know. And I don’t even know when or how to tell her. One thing’s for sure, I didn’t want to tell her at Janet’s wedding.

“Noooooo, no, no,” Janet furrowed her brows, shaking her head. “I mean Daniel.”

I tilted my head. “Daniel?”

“Janet,” Jodie hissed, shooting her a death stare.

Janet brushed her off and returned to me. “Yeah, well, of course he’s coming to the wedding. He’s Stanley’s best friend.”

I rolled my eyes and shifted in my seat. Chloe and Jodie seemed to relax next to me, dropping their shoulders. “Yeah, I knew that.”

“I just didn’t think he’d already be bringing a date,” Janet added.

“Janet!” Chloe cawed.

“He’s…” I smiled, looking down— “he’s…bringing someone? A…girl?”

Janet stared at me wide, bleary-eyed. “I thought you knew…”

“Oh,” I pushed a smile, “of course I knew. I was just making sure…you guys…knew.”

And they did, didn’t they? Chloe and Jodie were quick to shut Janet up, but the news has been leaked. It’s all out in the open. Why would they keep something like that from me? Shouldn’t I be the first one to know, considering?

“Anna—”

“I’m going to get us top ups,” I interjected Jodie. “Anyone need any more?”

“You haven’t even finished yours,” Chloe noted.

I grabbed my drink and gobbled up the last of the haze before I jumped to my feet, wiping my mouth like a thirsty tiger. “Anyone want another?” I panted.

Janet was halfway putting her hand up when Chloe gripped it and placed it down. It was funny, but I didn’t have the energy to laugh.

***

I was tapping my fingertips in a wave up on the bar when I felt a presence hover near me. I turned and found Eric.

I smiled. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to know something was on your mind and you were intensely thinking about it.” He held an index finger up when the bartender looked his way. “Hey, Ricky. Can I get whatever she’s having?”

“Another tequila shot and straight-up vodka coming right up,” Ricky iterated my order.

I sighed. Thanks Ricky!

Eric cornered his mouth upwards and sucked in a sharp breath. “Ohhhh, bad day at work?”

“You know, it’s not a big deal. Besides, a lot of people order those types of drinks. Not just me.”

“And snippy, too,” Eric grinned. “Do you want to talk about it or should I guess?”

“You know, I’m here for my girlfriend.” If anything, I could change the subject and throw him of my tracks.

“Yeah, I noticed. She getting married?” I nodded. Eric nodded with me and turned his back to lean on the countertop. “Strange. She’s so young. Your age, right?”

“It’s not that young,” I mumbled.

“Well, here’s hoping there’s open bar at the reception,” Eric said, raising the tequila shot in hand before sucking it down.

That sparked an idea. “Would you like to come?”

Before you say anything, this isn’t petty. I just didn’t want to be the only one there without a date, so back off!

Eric laughed. “Weddings. Hmmm…”

“Just, you know,” I shrugged, “as my date.” When he didn’t say anything, I tempted him with, “There’s going to be open bar.”

He chuckled, before looking at me in all seriousness with a hint of a smile, just to keep the mood light. “You know, I don’t want you to be getting the wrong idea about us.”

“The wrong idea?”

“I like you, Anna. A lot. But I’m not looking for anything serious. Coming as a date to a wedding where close friends and possibly relatives of said date and close friends will make this relationship between you and I seem like more than it is, when it’s not.”

“Oh,” I breathed. “Well, I wasn’t thinking of it like that. You won’t have to meet my parents, I promise,” I chuckled, shakily.

He laughed humourlessly with me. “Just the same. Wedding aren’t my scene. Sorry.”

“No, no, no, sorry I invited you—” I gasped and looked up, shaking my head— “that’s not what I meant. I didn’t mean it like that, I meant—”

He laughed, sincerely now. “It’s alright. I get it.”

“Okay,” I smiled. My vodka mocking me on the countertop, proclaiming how much of a logical option it was to drown myself with at this point.

“I better get back to work,” he finally said.

I nodded. “Yeah. Go. I’ll see you.”

“I’ll call you, okay?”

I nodded. “Okay.”

As soon as he left, I began to wonder if, after that speech he gave me, he would really call me.