Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No More Waiting

Michelle didn’t answer her call or texts.  After her make out session in the hallway Diana didn’t know what to do.  Why didn’t I just stop him?  Why does that man do that to me?  Even with Aaron things hadn’t been that passionate.   Yes there was passion, but he took his time about it.  She liked the slow steady way they had started out their relationship.  Much like her and Mitch, well at least in the begging it seemed to be going that way.  With Alex it was right in her face… and down her neck and breast.  “Get a grip woman!”  She needed to talk to a friend before she went on a date with Alex and couldn’t turn back.  

The next afternoon Michelle returned her call; “You okay?  You sounded a bit out of breath.  What’s up?”  Diana had just read a text from Alex asking her when she’d be ready to finish what they’d started last night.  Her first thought was to run to his place and answer in person, but that would just be irresponsible and so damn good in theory.  She was lost in her fantasy when Michelle called.

“I had just been assaulted in a hallway and wanted some advice.”

“Assaulted?  Did Mitch finally make a move?  Was it amazing?  I knew this trip would be good for you!” 

Michelle would have kept on going but Diana interrupted, “No, it was Alex.”

“Um, now who’s Alex?”

It was time to confess.  And confess she did.  All of it from the moment she first saw him stalking towards her to her walking into his house after the rain and last night’s up against the wall make out session.

“Two weeks and you’ve not told me about ‘Hot Guy’?  Why would you withhold such delicious information from me?  And can you please tell me the details once more, but perhaps a little slower.  I didn’t get it all down on paper yet.”  Michelle laughed and sighed.  “Oh honey, I almost want to trade places with you.  You know; if I was single and not happy with my guy and you know… you said long hair, sexy accent?  I’m writing this down.”  In the background she could hear Stan teasing her.  “Stan says stop filling me up with ideas.  Ignore him.  Keep the ideas coming.”   

The two talked awhile longer, discussing the merits of both men but neither coming up with an idea of what to do.  “You are free to do whatever you want.  Didn’t you already sign the divorce papers?”

She hadn’t.  They still sat in her room safe.  Abandonment; she never thought she and Aaron would divorce, but to think it was because he’d lied and left her without a word was still unthinkable.  “I’m a mess.  I’m still married.  What am I doing running after two other guys?  And across the ocean no less, I should pack up and hide in the house again.”

“No you should not!  I’ve watched you do that for too long!  You have a few more weeks and from what you say you have a chance to stay longer, take them up on it.  Start over.  Get away from everything that reminds you of before."

“But I can’t.  I’d miss you and my family.”

“Be honest, you’d not miss your family that much.”  Michelle laughed and said something to Stan.  “Stan says I can come visit, but he has to come and supervise.”  There was a pause as Stan and Michelle talked in the background again.  “I would miss you dearly, but this might be the change you’ve been looking for.  You didn’t just sell the store on a whim.  I know you want to get out of this town and no one would blame you.  Just try it out.”

“What about my house?”

“We can keep watching it, or you could sell it.  See what the lawyer says when you sign the papers; whatever you decide I’ll support you.”

“Thank you.  I love you both.”

“We love you too.”  

“Before we say good-bye, any suggestions on Mitch and Alex?”

“Oh honey, just try both flavors.”

“Michelle!”  

“Bye honey.”  The phone disconnected.

“Bye you crazy woman.”  She said to herself.  “And still I have no idea what to do.”

As she got up from the bed to charge the phone it rang suddenly.

“So did you have some brilliant advice for me?”   Thinking it was Michelle calling her back she didn’t bother to check the ID.

“No advice, but I was thinking lunch, unless you’ve already eaten.  I’m sorry to call so late.”

Mitch’s voice caught her off guard.  “Oh I’m so sorry.  I thought you were my friend.  I mean, I thought my friend Michelle was calling me back.”

“So what advice did you need?  Maybe I can help.”

She thought to herself that he certainly could, but to him she said, “Lunch sounds wonderful.  I can ask your advice then.”  They decided on the location and Diana quickly gathered her purse and shoes.



Having not taken the tour of the brewery the first time, they decided to give it a go again.  The waitress that had served them before waived to the two of them and hurried to their table.  “I couldn’t stop thinking about you.  Your story had us all trying to figure out what happen to Aaron.  It’s such a tragedy.  I mean, he could still be alive right?  And you’ve no idea.  How does that work?  I mean the marriage.  Can you divorce him or do you just keep living like your married?  It would be so odd.”

Mitch was about to interrupt when Diana spoke.  “It is odd and I do have divorce papers claiming abandonment.”  

At that news Mitch asked, “Have you signed them?”

“No, I haven’t.  I want to, but I don’t know how I can.”

“Didn’t he lie to you?  I mean about work and travel?  Isn’t that enough?” 

“I thought so till I held the papers.”  She wasn’t sure why she was admitting this.  “It’s so final.  And it doesn’t give him a chance to explain.”

No one spoke for a moment, “Do you think they might be lying to you at his job?”  The waitress, Jill asked.  Diana remembered the slip of paper with her name and number on it from before.

“Jill that has never sat well with me; I still can’t believe it was all lies.”  Diana hesitated, in mid thought she realized something; “It was his boss that first suggested abandonment.”

Jill and Mitch both replied; “What?”

As if lost in her own thoughts Diana began talking again, “I remember sitting on the lobby couch and asking myself what I was supposed to do now.  And his boss suggested divorce due to abandonment.  Then he gave me his divorce lawyer’s business card.  I didn’t think much of it.  I mean, once I started working with the lawyer I didn’t talk again to the company.  There was no need at that point.”  She looked at both of them, “Doesn’t that seem odd that he’d be so quick to suggest that?  I think that’s odd.”  

They both nodded in agreement.  “Something isn’t right.”  Jill said as she pulled her pen and pad out.

“I agree.  I need to call the detective and see what he thinks.”  Diana made a mental note to call in the next day or two.  “But today I was promised a tour and then lunch.  Or are we doing lunch and a tour?”  She smiled at Mitch, hoping to lighten the mood before they went too far off.  

“Let’s get those dozen drinks you wanted last time and then the tour will be all the better for it.”  He ordered the sampler and Jill left.  

“I apologize; I didn’t mean to get started on that again.”  

“Don’t worry about it.  It sounds like you might have discovered something.”

“I doubt it at this point, but it’s worth letting the police department know.  Okay off me, on to you.  How is your mom? And your dad is he handling things better?”

“Actually, that was part of what I wanted to talk to you about.”

Jill dropped off the beer samples and handed them both a list that corresponded.  “Let me know which ones you like and the next batch you want to try out.”  When she walked off they both tried one of the beers, each in their own tiny beer steins.  Diana admiring their detail and asked; can we buy these?  They’re adorable.”  

Mitch toasted her with his little beer stein and said, “I have the whole collection.”  When he smiled she was reminded of how handsome he was, even more so now that she’d had the opportunity to spend time with him.  

They sampled a few more, picked the next set they wanted to try and Diana prompted him.  “So tell me about your parents.”

He took a moment to answer; “Dad called the other night and finally admitted that things were getting bad.  Not to say that mom was doing worse, but that he couldn’t keep up with things.  I asked him to explain what was going on and he simple said she’d forgetting things.”  He paused to take a drink as if to fortify himself.  “I think it might be Alzheimer’s and dad can’t manage the house and take care of her.  I asked about getting her a nurse but he said they tried that and it upset mom.  He asked me to stay with them for a while.”  

“I’m so sorry to hear this.”  She reached over and squeezed his hand.  “Oh course you have to go and help.  I bet you’d be a huge comfort to her and your dad.  Would you stay there a few days a week, or go on the weekends?” 

“Dad’s wants me there all week if possible.”

“How soon?”

“I’m headed there tomorrow.  I’ve a lot of things already there since I visit them a few times each month.  So I don’t have to pack up everything.  I’ve some friends, the ones I talked with last night, who can watch the place for me and the store runs so well that my employees have it covered.  I just have to come in and sign checks and okay a few things once or twice a month.”

“So today’s the last day I’ll see you then?”  Diana was surprised by the suddenness but could kick herself for feeling left behind.  She was leaving in a few weeks, what did it matter?  But it did.

“It doesn’t have to be.”  He turned his hand over and laced his fingers with hers.  “You could stay.  You could live at my place, I mean, just to help me out so I know the place is cared for.  And I could visit when I’m in town for work.  I could also use someone like you at the store.  My guys are good, but they’re good at keeping things going as is.  You’d bring new life into the place.  Get authors to come in for signings and maybe the children’s area you talked about in your old shop.  I could use you.”   

Diana looked at their laced fingers and felt his warmth.  He’d become a dear person to her over her short stay.  She could see herself in his store, by his side.  He’d be good to her.  Whoa, don’t get ahead of yourself Diana; he said help with the store, not get married and have kids.  She pulled her hand away, thinking he could feel where her thoughts had gone and worried he’d take everything back.

“It sounds like a wonderful offer, but I’d hardly see you.”

“I know.”

“You wouldn’t even know for how long.  It could be years.”

“She might respond better to a nurse if I’m there for a while with her.  But I don’t know.  I’m worried about dad too.”  He ran his fingers through his hair, looking a bit frustrated.  “I’ve spent the last week getting to know you and trying to do it right.”  He smiled up at her.  

“When I saw you in the store that first night I had grand plans of seducing you and not letting you go.  But when you told me your story I knew things would be complicate.”  He leaned forward, “It would be worth any complications, but I thought it wiser to get to know you and let you get to know me.  I assumed my pull to you would either dissipate with so much contact or you’d warm up to the idea of an “us” and we could move forward.   

When I heard Ian and Sandra talking about you staying I jumped on the idea.  I know this is forward of me but you’re in my every waking thought.  And a few of my dreams that may never see the light of day, but I sure hope they do.”  He smiled shyly at her and continued.  “This is too much too soon.  I know.  And if things were different I’d spend the rest of your holiday trying to convince you to stay.  But I can’t.  And I won’t.  I’ve no right to ask any of this from you.  I almost said nothing, but I had to try.”  

While he spoke Diana kept seeing the vision of her next to him in the store, but Aaron kept showing up in his place.  It would be like moving her memories with her.  Or maybe it wouldn’t and she was just scared by the idea.  It was too fast no matter what.  But he was just offering her a room and a job… right?

“I’m not good at the waiting.  I’ve sort of done that already.”

Mitch looked crestfallen and nodded his head.  “I knew I was asking too much.  I’m so sorry.”  He put his hands out again and she gladly took them.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me; a job and a place to stay, but the waiting?  This trip was to help jump start me back into life.  Okay, the trip wasn’t my idea, but I’m starting to understand the fuss now.”  She tried to smile but could feel it fade from her face fast.  “If I said I wanted to keep you as a close friend, would it be assuming too much?”

“No it wouldn’t.  I’ll take it.  I’ll take whatever you’re willing to give.  I know you’ve been through a lot and it was presumptuous of me to even ask.  But the offer to stay in my place and the job is still available.  No strings attached.  I can promise you that.”

“But that would feel like using you.  I couldn’t do that either.”

“You wouldn’t be using me.  You’d be helping me out.  The place is paid for, you could pay the utilities and I promise to pay you very little for helping out at the store so you don’t feel like a burden.”  They both laughed, “Oh no, I expect excellent pay and I promise not to feel like a burden.”  

He put his right hand out for a shake, “Deal?”

“I’ve not decided to stay yet.”

“But if you do?”

“If I do decide to stay, then yes, we have a deal.”  She put her hand out and they shook. 

He leaned down and kissed the top of hers.  Looking into her eyes, while his lips still brushed the top of her hand and his breath stirring the skin around it; “Just know that when things settle down, and I come back, if you’ve not met anyone, I’d like a chance to see if we’d do well together.”

She wasn’t sure if it was the way he was looking at her, or the fact that she’d not eaten today and had already consumed a few beers, but she was ready to take him up on his offer… all of them, right then.

“I’d like that.”  She was proud of herself for not saying anything else.

He kissed her hand once more and then raised another tiny beer stein.  “To friendship and the possibility of more.”  He winked and they drank.  “Now for the tour so we can eat lunch.  Unless you’d like some more samples first.”

“Oh no, I’ve had my fill for now.”  She looked over her 8 empty steins and tried to do the math in her head.  Was that two or four full beers?  She wasn’t sure, but even two was enough to make her tipsy on a good day.  “Let’s walk this off before we sample more.”  

"Wait, what was it you wanted advice on?"

She'd almost forgotten her slip up on the phone.  "Oh, you already answered my question for me."

"And what was that?"

"No more waiting." 

Mitch looked confused, but said nothing else.  "You ready to do this?"  

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Still a work in progress, but thanks for reading.