Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Being THE OTHER Man - The Second Chapter

Mark looks at his watch.  It's half past 4am and he is still wide awake.  His mind is a cluttered mix of patterns and images.  He realizes he is still in love with Catherine but perhaps he is also deluded to expect that whatever he shared with her is logical and acceptable in every one's terms.  He badly wants to move on with his life, with her in it.  Certainly there are days when he can not help feel that he's just a piece of meat.  Although he completely understands and respects Catherine's duties, each passing day makes him feel more and more vulnerable, weak.
In a few hours it will be Saturday morning.  Saturdays are Catherine "days", they can spend a couple more hours for themselves.  He reached a resolve that they need to have a discussion and impose on her to make a life decision.  His thoughts wander as he thinks of her, he thinks of her smell, her taste, her touch; and he feels himself stir.  He wishes she didn't have that suffocating hold on him.  She makes it too easy to satisfy him, his wildest and most raw worldly fantasies and desires.  He gets annoyingly stiff.  He gets out of bed, walks to his bathroom and jerks off in the shower.  He curses himself as he does, but his desire for her is too strong.  He reasons with himself that he can really get prettier women, and single, desirable and wanting him; and yet here he is, a grown mature man ... he finally explodes.  Feeling a little light-headedness, he goes back to bed.  The minute his head touches the pillow, he snores.  

He awoke with an electrical jolt shooting through his nerves, something soft and hot on his dick.  Good god, it's Catherine!  Wearing only a smile, she was nibbling and licking on his morning hardness. She naughtily raises her eyes to him and murmurs, "Hey baby" and continues sucking.  With all humanly possible strength Mark could muster, he struggles to sit up, but she misreads this as readiness, so she jumps on to him and straddles him. He could not focus his eyes well, he was half-awake and the stimulation and sensation he was feeling was making his mind go foggy.  She rides him fast, she was slushy, and went faster, her perky breasts flailing on his face.  She starts making noises, raspy scraping sounds.  Mark tries to pull her towards him to kiss her, she pushes him down and continues to ride him, gyrating her hips, moaning and screeching.  She arches her back, she shrieks and curses as she goes through spasmodic twitching.  She grabs her breasts and mashes them.  She trembles and shakes, sweat beads rolling down from her neck.  Mark watched her through half-opened eyes.  She lets out what sounded like a high pitched howl and finally collapses on Mark's chest.  She mumbles softly, "Did I wake you Marky, I'm so sorry baby, I didn't mean to."
Mark looks at her sweaty body on him and said, "It's alright Catherine, it didn't look like you needed any help from me."
She sat up abruptly, scowled at him and said, "Well are we in a sour mood today" then gently, she reaches out to touch the morning stubble on his face; "You always liked surprises Marky, I though you would like that."
Without any warning, Mark this time, pushes Catherine down on her back, grabs her legs and spreads it, V-shaped, with both hands on each of her ankles, he lifts her up and brusquely rams into her.  
Catherine squeals but he started getting rough, and gruff, his eyes looked glassy.  He continued pumping and drilling her that Catherine nervously tried to kick herself away, but his hands clutched at her tighter, harsher.
She whimpered, "Mark, please -you're hurting me."
He looked cold and detached, he closed his eyes, his muscles tensed and then he growled, like a wild bear snarling at his prey, and he let go and yet kept on pumping, callously draining himself in her.
Finally his eyes open, she was sobbing like a little girl, and he spoke, more like, he barked; "Let's talk."
Still in tears, Catherine managed to say, "That felt like an assault Mark, I never thought -"
Mark rudely cuts her, and in a roaring voice said; "You never thought what?  That I had it in me to behave like a bastard?  To be an ass?  What do you fucking want from me huh?  What do you want from me?"  He stands and puts on his boxers.  He sees Catherine's coat on the floor and he imagined she came to his place wearing nothing but her coat. She comes to my place with one goal.  She was asking for it.  Mark muses to himself.  He picks up the coat and places this on the bed.  
"Put something on, we can't have a decent conversation with you romping around butt naked in my house," and Marks moves to his bathroom.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Being THE OTHER Man - The First Chapter

"Oh come on Mark, how long has it been? 3? 4 years? Dude, so many women, so little time." Dennis was talking seriously.  "Its not like the women don't throw themselves at your feet.  Why don't you just give it a shot?  Look, say Jenny, man, she's a goddess!  She's been trying to get your attention.  Or Keira?  Hot-ness!  Or Leslie? Geesh, if I am the single guy here, I would have jumped these ladies like a horny rabbit!"
"You're sick man, just sick.  You need to see a professional" Mark replied sarcastically.
"I'm sick?  You think I'm sick?  Fuck you!  I'm not the guy obsessing about some bitch who is already married and has a kid from another man!" Dennis piped back.
"She is not a bitch!  Don't you ever call her a bitch, again, ya hear?" Mark hissed and slammed his glass on the bar top.
A couple of guys drinking nearby stopped talking.
Dennis moved closer to Mark and back-pedalled, "Hey chill dude, easy now, I'm on your side here; man, we've been friends since first grade, okay?  I'm sorry, I was being an ass, but it's just that ..."
Mark cuts him in mid-sentence, "No worries man, I know, you're just being an asshole" and jabs at Dennis shoulders.  They exchange shadow jabs and punches and start laughing.  "Forget it bro, I'm good, really.  If it happens, then it happens.  Besides I have too much going on in my work now I am just too busy to get preoccupied with other things."
They both stare at the bar display.  It was Mark who broke the silence, "And we're here to drink!  Here's to "the man", hopefully this time you did it right and will have a boy.  So he can grow up to kick his old man's ass when he needs to.  For my best bud and a great Dad!  Cheers!" They raise, clink and downed their double shots.
Dennis thoughtfully shakes his head, "You just worry me bro, y'know.  See here I am on my 2nd kid and between us, I always thought you would make the better family guy.  Ashley came into my life and I didn't waste a heartbeat.  All the guys we hang out with are either married or getting a divorce, but since Catherine," Dennis pauses and breathes deeply; "Dude it's like you just stopped living."

Dennis words echoed in Mark's head over and over as he tried to sleep.  He knows Dennis is right.  He 'died' the day Catherine walked the aisle.   Except he couldn't really tell his best buddy what happened soon after that.  Barely 3 months from her wedding day Catherine had called him.  She was hysterical, sobbing on the phone and begged to see him to talk.  He jumped to his car to meet her.  They did talk.  After the talk however, they ended up fucking each other crazy.  She was frisky, fiery, hungry.  She left gash scars on his back when she practically clawed him each time she climaxed. That first time after her marriage was followed by another, and another and more days when they met and had wild, passionate sex.  They can't stop, they won't.  They became lovers.  Even when she was pregnant, she became needy and exceptionally horny.  She would call him at odd hours and they would have sex everywhere: in his truck, in her car, at a parking lot, by the lake, in a motel, the theater ... 
It was Mark who wanted they get a new start, but Catherine won't have a divorce.  She wanted to just run away.  Mark insisted that they cut clean but each time they discussed this they ended up fighting that led to fantastic make-up sex.  It's been almost four years of illicit love and Mark is feeling disheartened about the lying and hiding.

It was just one foolish night of indiscretion.  Mark and his work buddies were partying on a Friday night after an Ad campaign has been approved.  He had too much to drink and Leslie who always eyed Mark knew exactly when to get him and would be unable to resist her. One stupid night, a drunk man, a couple of weeds, a sinfully attractive woman, and a night of hard core banging.  Mark woke up feeling brain dead, dick-impaled and dirty.  It didn't take long for Catherine to know what happened.  
She was frothing at the mouth and furious during their confrontation.  She called off their engagement, and out of a whim, hardly six months after that night, on a desperate and senseless rebound decision, she married Brad, an ardent suitor from childhood who had the personality of a driftwood.  Although wealthy, with a Harvard degree and a practicing repugnant lawyer, Catherine is his childhood conquest.  However, when they finally married, he looks at Catherine as wife and mother to his kid and future children.  Brad is not beastly looking but he isn't fetching either.  He is rather plain and boring.
Mark on the one hand, is a drop dead gorgeous guy in his early 30's.  Catherine had always considered being Mark's beau as a source of great smug-ness, an envy of all warm blooded women.  But she is far from being a ravishing beauty.  She has an athletic physique borne out of her gymnast days but rather comely.  She makes up for this with confidence, bearing and intelligence.  Plus the magic of make-up.  Back in the days when she and Mark were dating, they generally fought about how her insecurities got in the way.  She was always jealous of every woman who would ever come near Mark, even if this was an honest and innocent conversation.  In spite of her insecurities, Catherine knew in her gut she would always have Mark.  Truly, she has an overpowering influence on him.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Victoria's Secret

Victoria surveys herself in the full length vanity mirror.  Dark burgundy long hair, faint plum lip gloss, sexy thong, 5-inch heels gold sandals, skin glistening with a bronzer; who could ever guess her real age?  Her body would make anyone half her age weep with envy.  She checks her face and stretches her jaw, hardly any visible lines or sagging skin there either. 
She smugly grins and does the pageant quarter-turns and chortles with delight.  She looks at her round butt cheeks and happy with it, decides to unhook her bra and throws this on the bed.  Her breasts, from a B cup, now a delectable Cup D stands firm and proud.  She walks to the dresser and searches inside her Black Birkin Hermes bag and gets a small bottle of Eau de Parfum.  She opens it and dabs a bit on her wrists, her neck, behind her ears, her decollete and on the back of her knees.  She inhales deeply.
She looks into her bag again, finds her Blackberry and turns it off.  She dims the room lights and walks over to open the drapes revealing the night sky and the city lights below. 
Victoria likes this 5-star hotel.  They are totally respectful of her privacy and her being a regular client has its rewards.  She chuckles as she thinks about the other members of the Board where she sits as a voting Director.  They will never guess in a million years her deepest, darkest secret.
Being married to the Chairman of the Board allowed Victoria the luxury of wealth, except the man that she has been married to for the last 30 years is pushing 80 years old.  He was intellectually stimulating, a charmer.  He is influential and powerful, Victoria believed it was going to be a good ride and fell for him immediately.  She was young, barely out of college and she thought her life was like a fairy tale unfolding into reality.  It wasn't long after that she also found that he shot 'blank bullets.'  Desolate and without child, it moved from bad to worse, then perhaps from daily stress and pressure, he acquired quite a number of illnesses and ailments.  Getting older and sicker, the Chairman thought the "blue" pill would help.  It proved to be contra-indicated to a lot of his other medications.  Possibly a decade and a half had passed, that Victoria has been deprived of honest and awesome sexual satisfaction.   Of course she has resorted to toys and stuff, but she craved for more.  Her hormones were going wild, her urges were becoming more potent that she was finding it more and more difficult to diminish her sex drive.
It was one of those boring weekends at the Spa when she overheard a small group of older women chatting about a friend whose sex habits were a good conversation piece.  Pretending to be asleep under her body mask, she listened intently.  She heard the name, Claudette.  From what she heard, this Claudette woman was a wonderful conduit to make your dreams come true.  And this lady hobnobbed only with the rich and famous clientele.  It didn't take long for Victoria to trace Claudette, and she turned out to be the rich bored housewife's last resort pimp.  Claudette boasts of the best stable of young, hot studs.  And what started of as a look-see, why not try it, one-off experience for Victoria, has become a bi-weekly tryst.  
Victoria ultimately got hooked like a substance abuser.  She also became more conscious of her physical appearance, her wardrobe, and with her disposable money, has invested considerably on body sculpting and lifts.  She comes out of every new treatment like a renewed woman, much to the envy of her peers and colleagues.  Even in the first years of her marriage, Victoria had always enjoyed being the trophy wife.  Ageless and simple.  Nowadays she is happier to hear whispers behind her back about her new "look" and she is tickled pink at every lustful stare a man directs at her.  The Chairman, the astute businessman and investor that he is, is totally wanting in the skills to sense the activities of his wife.  Although there are some gossip going around, Victoria has managed to be extremely discreet and while tongues wag, she ignores them all because she is happier that her sexual fantasies are all being satisfied.  She enjoys seducing her husband's colleagues, flashes them occasionally even during formal meetings, and she knows she is desired.  She giggles about the new attention accorded to her, because while they can all look and gawk and fantasize, she can never be touched.  Not by them.  Odd as it seems, it appears Victoria has never been in sync with her sexuality until she crossed the boundaries given in her marriage.  Her new "vice" has introduced her to a wild and dark side that has probably been lurking for a long time, trying to find a way to surface and control.
It's a sad fact however, that the Chairman is both unable to see her needs and incapable of giving her the pleasure she desires.
It was a perfect crime, until 'he' came along to give Victoria a sexual experience that raised her bar in terms of satisfaction.  Only 'he' was capable of giving her the ultimate and the multiple orgasms she only read about.  'He' goes by the "name" - Dion.
Dion.  It has to be Dion.  For the last three months or so, she demanded for him.  Each day Victoria could not have him drove her insanely lustful.  She can smell him, feel him, taste him. She aches for him.  Her desire to have him gnaws at her very core.  She has never felt she was capable of longing and lusting for a man, whose real name she doesn't even know, with so much intensity and fiery passion.  With Dion, to feel his body on hers, to have him inside her, to taste him, it was raw carnal pleasure and her hunger for him seem insatiable.

Victoria switches the night lamp on and leaves the rest of the room dim.  She walks to the door and unlatches the lock.  She goes to the dresser again and from her bag, flicks open a gold cigarette case and draws out a very slim cigarette.  She lights it with a Louis Vuitton lighter and puffs unconsciously.  She stirs the ice on an unfinished glass of whiskey resting on the table and with one swift gulp, finishes it off.  She drums her fingers on the table and feels a little edginess; and excitement.  She feels herself pulsing, throbbing and her thong gets slightly wet.
Finally, the phone at the bedside rings.  She says,"Let him in, he is my guest.  thank you."  And hangs up.  Her heartbeat moves to crescendo and she starts to feel a burning sensation from her body.  
A light tapping on her door.  She peeks through the peep-hole and opens the door slightly and moves back.  He comes in through the slight opening.  She looks at him in the dark and turns around to sit on the bed.
He notices immediately that she was naked and rather sexy, curvaceous.  His dick moves a bit.  He wasn't really sure but he recognizes her face in the dim light.  It's her.  Again.  He grins in the dark.
"Hello Dion", she says rasping through her whiskey, cigarette voice.  He's tall, possibly a little over 6 feet, around early to mid-20's; perfectly toned body underneath his tight dark blue shirt, acid washed jeans and dark brown loafers.  Victoria can smell his scent, spicy woodsy; her nipples jump.
He smiles back in the dark, "Hello Ma'am."
She replied huskily, almost a murmur, "Please take off your clothes.  All."
He obeys and deliberately displays and flexes his muscles as he took off his clothes.  He knows she likes this and stripping actually excites him too.  He stops leaving only his boxers.  His eyes have somewhat adjusted in the dark and he can see the contours of her face.  Her mouth is open.  He smirks to himself and slowly pulls down his boxers, making sure he touches his cock a bit to stimulate it and it responds.  He hears her catch her breath. Well I am not called Dion, the Stallion for nuthin'.  Dion takes pride with the size of his cock.  There is not much with what is between his ears, but he knows he has a lot to offer with what is between his thighs.  His girth alone can make any woman cry.
Victoria battles her hunger for him as she watches every part of Dion's body; her throat goes dry so she croaked, "Show me how much you got and I will give you anything you ask for."
Dion delivers what he knows best and how.  She screamed and scratched and clawed and wailed and moaned.  He was incredible and he only stopped when she almost collapsed with so much pleasure, completely exhausted.  He had to admit he enjoyed the sex as immensely as she did and she begged him this time to explode inside her, without a rubber.  He thought that a bit strange, but what the hell?  She asked for it, she got it.
When dawn came after a whole night of crazed sex, Dion awoke finding a check on the dresser to buy his dream car, a Porsche Boxster, with some change.  He jumps with joy.
Several miles away, Victoria is quietly having her morning tea in their patio.   She looks around their estate's magnificent landscape.  It's almost spring.  She smiles to herself and rubs her tummy.  "I will always have Dion inside me.   Until next winter, a part of him is mine now."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wish Upon A Star

Ariana tries to light another cigarette.  Her hand was shaking so badly she kept fumbling on the lighter.  "Shit!", she tries again.  After five attempts, she finally drags deep on her cigarette. 
She looks across from her balcony to the lush, verdant landscape from the hilly terrain where her house is propped.  The night sky is a dramatic shade of blue-black, the moon hides behind the shadows of feathery clouds, but the stars are out.  She sighs.
As she watches the flickering lights above, her mind brings her to many beautiful nights like this when she was a young girl.  Her mother (God bless her soul) used to say, "Watch out for a falling star Ariana, and make a wish from your heart!"  She would spend many endless nights just looking up at the sky waiting for the elusive 'falling star'.  Until she finally saw one!  She closed her eyes and made a wish; for her Father to come back.
He never did.  Ariana knew since then that wishing for happy endings was just a silly child's play and when she grew up, it was simply a waste of time.

She puffs once more on her cigarette and starts to feel a bit woozy; the pills she took is finally kicking in.  She rubs her hands on her arms, a very chilly night.  She looks at the night sky again and is overcome by a wave of sadness and emptiness.  Her eyes well up with tears.  As tears rush down her face she thinks about life's cruelties and unfairness.  All she has ever wanted was a chance to feel happy.   A small chance of knowing that tomorrow will be a better day.  She hoped for better days all her 34 years, but the days never got better.  She drags on her cigarette and stubs it on a broken crystal ashtray overflowing with cigarette stubs and ashes. 
Ariana turns around and wobbles back inside the room.  What she had imagined to be the room that will bear witness to many nights of bliss and love.  It's dark and empty now as usual; as it had always been.
Just barely a month after her marriage to Ron, and he had been mostly out of the country or in another continent.  She smirks at the thought.  Maybe this time he is finally never coming back. "What was her name?  That bitchy tramp he brought to Paris?  Cathleen?  Catherine? Whatever.  It does not really matter now.  There were just so many women Ariana had lost count.  She feels dizzy and grabs onto the dresser for balance.  Almost there.  She looks at the note she made.  She took a bottle of perfume, Jean Patou.  Ron gave this to her.  She takes a whiff and sprays on her body.  Lovely scent.  She props the note on the bottle.
Ariana walks slowly back to the king size bed and lies down, ignoring the thick burgundy covers.  She fixes her dress making sure that she has not creased the back and she pulls it down a bit.  There.  Perfect.  She is wearing her favorite little black dress, the same little black dress she wore on the night Ron had asked her to marry him.  She looks at the ring in her finger and turns it a few times.  Those were many nights ago when she dreamt of being a perfect wife and a great mother.  And many nights after that, when she learned her ovaries were cystic and that she would be barren.  So long ago, she muses.
Ariana closes her eyes, she feels tired and weak; cold and dehydrated but she ignores that.  She lies still, listening to the soft murmurs of her weak heart.  She imagines the night sky and there are so many stars tonight. "Oh, a falling star!"  She makes a silent wish.  "Take me with you".  She sees the star coming down and lifts her.  She smiles.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Unforeseen Twist - Conclusion

"You what??" Frankie squealed and the coffee dribbled out of her mouth.  I laughed and gave her a tissue.  She snatched it from my hand and gave me a dirty look.
"I said we ate and went on a food binge.  You don't really think I would let all those delicious food go to waste.  C'mon, think of all the starving people in the world."  I retorted and slowly sipped on my espresso.
"Madone Sofia, you are the mother of skank hos!  You have a hot and yummy Turkish bachelor millionaire in your hands and you don't give him a chance to go manzo la gousha!  Just wanna go potsy with him? Not for nuthin' gurl, but I wanna wack your cugutza! "  She screeched.  When Frankie gets angry, she goes all Brooklyn with me.
"Frankie, Attila is not a scumbag.  He's really a decent guy.  And it's not that he didn't go for it or that I did not want it either.  Its just that ..." I was still searching for words.
"Fuggedabouit! He's gonna find himself some bo-nasty ho and you're gonna come crying." Frankie needed to have the last word.
"Nah, just feeling fly girl!"  I sneered.
I barely weeded out my jet lag and I was already neck deep in shit-loads of work for the Budget Reviews.  Attila flew to London and Turkey just about the same time.  He called at least twice a week just to say Hello or tell me where he was.  Sometimes I think about what Frankie said.  I don't want to believe I blew it.  Not when I was starting to miss him.
A month and a half has passed until I finally got a go signal from Doug to proceed with my program and fly to K.L.  As usual, Anne Marie put out her magic wand and produced an airline ticket.  This time she went to me and Frankie was watching.  
"Sofia dear, here are your tickets to paradise.  If you don't get him, it'll be a toss up between your girl here and I.  Now get your butt off to K.L.!"  Anne Marie crosses her arms around her Mother of Moses chest!
"I thought you were on my side".  To which she countered, "Oh no, not this time sweetie.  Everybody moves on."
Actually, I was so excited that when I got to my apartment, I thought I should call him.  I dialled his house number first, then a lady answers the phone.  I froze. (OMG!  It's not happening?  Whoa, hold on girl, when did you start believing you're his girlfriend!) I exhaled and looked for him.  
She asks, "Who are you?"
I was so startled I stammered explaining that I work with Attila in Marketing but I work in the NY Office.   The she cuts in; "Is dees Saw-fi-yah? Attila not here.  In Singapore.  Weed hees brow-der Erol. (long pause) Sorry my English not good. You have message?"
I said, "Oh it's alright.  I will just call again.  Thank you."  But she cuts in again. "No, no, no, you tell me message.  Attila will ask.  I am hees mother."
I almost fell off my seat.  I decided there was no use arguing, it was hard enough to understand her, so I told her as slowly as I could about my flight schedule.  She says, "I am  back in Turkey when you come here."
Petaling Jaya Hilton
And I said, that's a damn shame, I gave my thanks and goodbye.  And for a while there I thought ... 

I flew to KL, saw the usual WELCOME MR. S. DELGADO sign and was brought straight to PJ Hilton.  I noticed a peculiar change in the amount of  attention given by the hotel staff.  Everyone was greeting me, nodding as I walked through the Lobby or gawked as I passed by.
I asked my trusted butler, Fatima, "What's going on? I did not realize everyone in the Hotel knows me now."
She giggled. "Miss Sofia, you are popular.  We are very happy to see you again.  Mr. Attila is happy when you are here.  Mr. Attila very nice to us but he is always sad.  We only see Mr. Attila happy when his girlfriend is here."
I stopped unpacking. I looked at Fatima.  "He has a girlfriend here?" I asked matter-of-factly.
Fatima giggled some more. "Oh Miss Sofia, I know.  It's secret.  Mr. Attila is very private.  Women go to him but he just smile because he is nice man.   But only Miss Sofia, real girlfriend make him happy."  I smiled.
"Fatima, I am sorry to disappoint you.  But I am not Mr. Attila's girlfriend.  We are very good friends." I look at her and somehow I felt she didn't believe me.
She whispered. "It's okay Miss Sofia.  We keep it secret."
Fine, I decided just to play on. "Alright Fatima, you got me.  Swear you won't tell anybody about our secret." And I thought, most especially Mr. Attila.
Then she excitedly swore, "In Allah's name, I swear Miss Sofia."  And she went off to do her tasks quietly.  At least I made someone happy.
This was all too flattering for me and confusing.  Attila is right, they love to get into other people's private affairs.  I don't think it's a culture thing.  But it certainly does feel intrusive;  and we're both not locals.  (I wonder if he got my message, he hasn't called and I am here now.)
I had dinner alone at the Coffee Shop that night.  I was too tired for any company anyway.
I was jolted awake by a resounding noise.  Is that the phone?  What the hell? What time is it?
I croaked. "Yes?".  The night-stand clock displayed 6:30 A.M.
"Sofia?".  I was wide awake now. "Welcome to Malaysia."  
I couldn't resist; "Who is this?"  He laughed.  "The bogey man.  Did you bring your swimming costume?"
"Huh, what costume?  I was disoriented.  
"Rise and shine lovely Princess.  I will be there in 30 minutes.  Its a holiday so we're going somewhere."  He chimed.
"I'm sorry, but why do I need a costume?  Give me a break Attila, my brain is parked." I grumbled.
"I got that covered.  Just get up and start moving.  I will be there seven-ish." He sounded excited.
"Alright, I'm moving now.  I think.  I'll see you then." I hanged up.
I guessed at casual.  Cut out denim shorts, beige espadrilles and a loose off-shoulder cream blouse.  Not enough time for looking good.  Fuck it.  Big, dark shades.  My hair was still wet when my door buzzer went on.  I opened the door and there he was.  In jeans, sandals and a sport shirt.  I smiled.  I went for the double cheek buss but he went for the lips, and we hugged.  Too long.
I nudged him, "You missed me."
He pretended he didn't hear that and he went straight away telling me we have to rush back to his place to pick up a couple of things.  
"What?"  I said, my voice a slight decibel higher.  I argued why we needed to do that, he had to wake me up early, waste petrol going to the hotel, when he should have brought everything we needed.  I was not even aware we held hands again as we walked and argued; the people were having their heyday watching us.  We were still arguing when I sat on the car, he said; "Yes Sofia, I missed you so much.  You can shut up now, please,  as I will have to drive really fast."  I scowled at him.

A swimming costume, Jesus, a swimsuit!  I brought one but there was a new yellow 2-piece string right there on his coffee table.  Attila hands it over to me and says, "Get changed."
"Are we swimming in the pool?  Because I can get my own back in the hotel.  Or we can swim in the hotel pool."  I badgered him.
He stops reloading beer cans on a carry-all,  looks at me.  "I am bringing you to Club Med. You can change in the club if you want, I just thought you may be more comfortable changing here."  
"Fine," I said.  "I'll wear it under just in case I may not get to be in the mood to swim." (I was lying, truth is, my heart was thumping with excitement and I was dying to be on the beach with this delicious man.)
I barely got out of the Guest Room and he said, "They're here."  My heart dropped seven notches down, "Who's they?" (Frankie may be right.  I may never have another alone time with him, damn!)
'They', were two other couples; A Brit named Charles with his Chinese Malay girlfriend, Lia; a German dude with a Thai girlfriend, whose both names I missed.  They hardly saw me.  I gave Attila an evil-eye when I saw we were not using his car.  We squeezed at the back with Charles and Lia; the German Dude in surf shorts and his Thai girl in front with the driver.  I stiffened.  
I felt Attila's hand on my shoulder and he pulled me to him and whispered; "Relax Sofia, I'm with you. These guys work in our London office, on their holidays, they arrived yesterday and will be here for a few days.  I promised I will take them to the resort."
I spoke with a hiss, gritting my teeth, "They're freaking couples, look at that?  Did you tell them we're not a couple?  For crying out loud, look!  We've barely left and they are making out right beside me and in front of me!  I don't even know where to look!!!"
Attila was trying his best not to laugh with a sound, I actually found it hilarious but I was too angry at him for not explaining these things to me upfront.  He tightened his arm around me and turned my head, "Then just look at me."  
I shot him a dagger look and whispered, "That's not enough.  You'll have to cover my ears then because I can still hear the nasty sounds."  We kept chortling in hushed tones.  
We agreed however that we would definitely leave ahead.  The plan was to stay the night.  I said it's not that I was being stuck-up, but I wasn't really comfortable.  

Club Med, Malaysia
Club Med was breathtakingly beautiful!  We jet-skied and swam for the rest of the morning.  I almost forgot we had company.  Turns out Attila needed to sign and endorse his guests; he was, after all, the member of the Club.  About mid-afternoon, Attila got a driver to bring us back to the city.
It was a more comfortable ride.  I told the driver to take me to the Hotel as I badly needed to wash the salt in my hair and skin.  Even the driver was under Attila's spell or payroll, because we rolled straight back to his place.
As soon as the driver had left, I faced him and said.  "Listen buster, don't ever do that to me again! I don't like to hang around with total strangers, and worst, with your mates who seem to have a desire to leave pieces of their anatomy in Malaysia.  Just because I am your friend does not give you any right to assume that I understand your plans or I am good at second-guessing your intentions.  Are you listening to me?"  He was busy moving around his house while I was talking, it was annoying and he was really trying my patience.  "Hey, I am serious!"
He stops and replies; "Look, I understand.   My fault.  Timing was off.  I wanted you to see Club Med.  You have to admit it's a magnificent place.  And we're back here, now."  
I cut in, "Yes, we are.  I wanted to go to my hotel to take a shower.  What am I doing here again?  Are you trying by any chance to seduce me?"
I got his attention.  He walked towards me and right in front of me, he stopped.  "I have tried miserably and failed many times Sofia.  God knows I'm still trying and the best I do is make you go ballistic."  
I kept quiet as I didn't know how to best counter that,  besides I really wanted to be with him, alone.
"You can take a shower in my bathroom, there's a  bath tub, fresh towels and a bathrobe on the bed.  I can start the water while you relax and try to simmer down." I was still pouting.
He continues; "Come on, check the fridge and since I have foreseen this to happen again with my luck, it is completely stocked with your favorite comfort things.  I have crushed ice, Maraschino cherries,  for your Bailey's if you wish.  I also got you the DVD copy of that Jodie Foster movie you said you missed." (I have completely mellowed out but I kept the grimace on my face; I have not seen such a smooth operator like this guy, and I am thrilled silly)
I provoked him some more; "One other thing.  Why is everybody assuming I am your girl?  Are you playing a new game or something?"  He turned around and walked towards his room.  "And your mother,  did she tell you we spoke on the phone?  She knows my name, what did you tell her?  Hey, are you ignoring me?"  (bastard!)  He disappeared into his room.
I decided to check out the refrigerator.  Holy shit!  This stock can last me for a week.  I couldn't help smile.  More food!  Glorious.  And there's a salad this time.  I got a glass, and some crushed ice, 2 cherries and opened a new bottle of Bailey's.  Ah, c'est la vie!
The wide-screen LCD monitor and the video player was mounted on the left corner of  the living room, the Jodie Foster DVD was on cue (he thinks of everything) ... 
I went straight to the balcony for some fresh air and watched the reflection of the sun setting on the pool.  It was a sight.  I sighed.  The whole thing is surreal.  However I felt comfort and revelled in this dream state.  A sense of calm and harmony caressed me.  There was a stillness in the air that promised warmth and ease.
I suddenly realized where I was, and for a brief moment, I became aware of a stirring inside me; every single pore of my body was delightfully rousing. 
I turned to look behind me. 
He was standing by the sliding doors of the balcony, he has showered and changed to a fresh shirt and loose khaki slacks.  He looked so inviting I caught my breath.  
"Your water is warm and ready Princess Sofia..." he had that charming boyish smile on his face.
"Don't call me that!" I snapped.
"Oohh, feisty.  A true blooded Princess," he chuckled.  "Do you want to finish your drink first?" He moved lazily towards me.  
"Or do you want to eat?"  He was now standing so invasively close, I couldn't breathe.  I could smell his clean and fresh shower scent.  "Or does my Princess prefer to take a shower? (he pauses) Or just do what comes naturally?"
I look up at him and I ask, "What comes naturally?"
He wraps his arms around my waist and said, "This."  He kissed me and I naturally kissed him back.  I didn't hold back, not this time;  he responded with fire and heat and passion.  
He swoops me and I wrap my legs around him, we didn't stop kissing,  we moved inside, into his room, and I cooed, "This is not the bathroom".  He slowly puts me down on the bed, and whispered, "No it's not, but it's a couple of steps away."  He quickly takes off his shirt while I watch. 
"Hey Mr. K, you have not answered  my question."  I ask between kisses.  
He pulls my blouse off and unties the strings of my bra.  "Strings are easier to remove." He says while he kisses my breasts. 
"Not that question."  I pull his face up to face mine.
He grinned.  "I am an alpha dog Sofia.  I told everyone you're mine."
"That's not fair, I wasn't." I was teasing him.
"I know.  Doesn't matter.  You're mine now," he smiled sexily. I grabbed his neck and kissed him, tenderly.
We finally stopped talking and arguing.  
Nothing else mattered on how different our worlds were when we met.  
I let him lead me to his heaven and mine and we knew our souls will always be one. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

An Unforeseen Twist (Part 3 of a Short Love Story)

The sudden silence inside the car was a bit discomforting.  I felt the need to break the ice; "What was that all about?  At the hotel?"  I asked my drop-dead hot "learning partner".
He chuckled and I thought it made him look so charmingly boyish.  I prodded; "I was told you stayed there for 3 months?  So I guess you must know everyone, oh, and Maidon said that you're a flirt!".
Attila laughed. And he went on to say that the staff, not just ladies,  in the hotel have become his friends; he swore by the outstanding customer service the hotel provided had it not been for the unreasonable cost of hotel living for a year, he would have stayed.  He added that Maidon, being the nosy old man that he is,  likes to flatter himself talking about other people.  I raised a quizzical eyebrow; he ignored it.  He continued telling me about his experience in Kuala Lumpur, how much he had to adjust; the nuances of the culture; he spoke about his new place, nestled in the middle of K.L.'s millionaire's row, with a pool; then he started talking about the Company, the new I.T. infrastructure, the Plant production issues, the product we needed to work on.  I sat quietly, nodding.  I found him fascinating, I was actually quite impressed.  It was refreshing to watch a very good looking "dude" talk business smartly.  He glanced at me and said; "Sofia, you don't really want to talk shop tonight.  I know I don't want to.  I just get carried away sometimes.  I really want to know more about this captivating and beautiful lady who is having dinner with me tonight."  I flashed him my killer smile.
My head was telling me he was just putting on his charm skills on maximum.  My stomach and my heart was telling me to fall for it.
The restaurant was a cozy and very private fine-dining  establishment that served international cuisine.  The maitre'd called him by his first name.   (Hmmm, I may not be the first girl he has tried to impress with this place, I thought).  He was doting on me and served me each course; this was despite two waiters hovering around us all the time; even tossed my salad.  He made it a point to ask me first how I liked the soup, the salad, before he ate anything.  When he sliced a bite size portion of his steak, he offered it to me, "Try this Sofia.  It melts in your mouth"  I tried to get the fork from him but he held onto it,  awkwardly I took the bite from his fork.  I returned the favor, I took a bite size from my sea bass and offered this to him with my fork.  However, the minute he took the bite, I left the fork on his mouth.  We both laughed again and loudly. 
Our conversation went on animatedly, we love to laugh and tell stories.  I found out he is Turkish by descent, but was bred and educated in London.  He practically knew more about me (I did not pry how he knew, but my guess is someone may have given him advance information).  We talked politics, economics, religion; we swapped colored jokes and shared our family's quirks; we shared turn-ons and offs and pet peeves; our travels and  countries we've seen.  I had no concept of time at all.  He teased me that I was a misbehaving, naughty, non-practicing Catholic and I ribbed him about being a smoking, drinking and cheating on Ramadan Muslim.  I never had such a good time with a man, I hardly know, just met actually, he made me feel so comfortable, so relaxed; so much like home.
It was almost two in the morning when I got back to the hotel.  Attila walked me to the lift, and we kissed on both cheeks, as customary.  He paused for just a wee bit then landed a peck on my lips.  I just smiled.  When the elevator's door opened, he said, "7:30, I will join you for breakfast."  I said, "thank you for the lovely evening uhmm, morning", then the elevators door shut.
I reached my room feeling heady.  I lied to myself saying it's jet lag.  For the first time in many lunar cycles that have passed, I slept with a smile.
I was up before 5:00A.M.  My biological clock was going haywire.  I couldn't believe I barely had enough sleep but I was already awake.  It was good to get an early head start.  I lingered choosing what to wear.  I cursed that I had brought mainly comfortable clothes.  I caught myself with this thought, this is a business trip, what the hell am I thinking ... and suited up my usual corporate look.  
By 7:15 AM, I was at the Hotel's Coffee Shop.  I got some coffee and read the newspaper.  By 7:45A.M., No Attila.  I stood up to get some fruits,  cereals and milk and ate.  It was almost 8AM when I saw Fatima walking towards me.
"Miss Sofia, your car is waiting."  I stood up.  I wanted to ask her if she had seen Attila, but I shoved the idea aside and went to the car.  It was the Company Service car.  The driver introduced himself as working for Maidon.  (Where is he?)
As soon as I arrived in the Office, the series of meetings begun.  Maidon briefly mentioned that Attila was caught up in another meeting so he had decided to have the Company Driver pick me up from the Hotel.  I casually said "thank you."
It was 4:30 in the afternoon when I managed to settle in my "new cubby work station".  I opened the PC to check my In-box when from behind me, I heard voices of people talking, approaching my work area.  (Is that him?)
Then Maidon's head pops into view, "There you are.  Princess Sofia!", I smirked, then smiled. "It is my pleasure to introduce to you finally, your learning partner, Mr. Attila Kaplan.  Attila's family is our JV (as in joint venture) partner and they own 51% of our Company in Turkey.  He was sent here for a year to observe and learn the ropes, so to speak, as pretty soon, he will run the business, right, my boy?"  He tapped Attila's shoulder.
Attila was looking at me like it's the first time we met.  "It's a pleasure to meet you Miss Delgado.  Maidon and Doug speaks very highly of you."
My brain was going on overdrive and my heart was racing, but I did manage to shake his hand and smile.  I muttered, "Pleasure to meet you."  (part-owner?  Doug?  He knows Doug?  Why isn't this computing?  What the fuck is going on?)
I was getting a bit woozy, then I could hear Maidon saying "... call it an early day ... have dinner ..."  I vaguely heard what else was being said.  I wanted to stand from my seat and all I managed was swivel it to face them.
Just as abruptly, I heard;  "So we're settled.  Sofia, please join me, Attila and the rest of the marketing team for dinner tonight, if you're not too tired.  We will be knocking off early as we know you are probably still jet-lagged."
I looked at him, then Attila.  I couldn't read the bastard at all.  I just nodded weakly and said; "Let me just check my mails, I can't go anywhere, anyway.  I won't pull a 'French' escape."  My lame attempt at wit.
I could hear sirens in my head.  I concluded.  This guy's a fucking player.  Hell, if he can ever put one over me again.  (Okay then, let's play.) I decided to look at Attila straight in the eye and said, "Are you joining us for dinner Mr. Kaplan, I don't want my presence here to be an imposition on anyone.  Particularly if they have already made earlier plans."
He looked back at me with those steady hazel eyes, but I couldn't read through it; "I wouldn't miss the chance Miss Delgado."
Then I curtly replied, "Hush, call me Sofia. Just Sofia", I turned to face my PC, and said, "I will see you  in a few minutes gentlemen".
The dinner was painful.  And boring.  I sat between the Managing Director, Graeme, and Maidon.  I learned there were certain exotic dishes that even my adventurous self couldn't handle.  
The days went by.  Work took precedence.  Attila and I spoke mainly during meetings.  He never called me.  Not that I was expecting him to.  Actually, yes I was.  We never talked one-on-one.  Maidon, my other doting host, offered to bring me around for some ocular visits of flats for rent and  on my 3rd day, we managed to squeeze this agenda.  
I was flying back to New York on  Sunday.  I spoke to Doug and learned that my development program has been pushed back a bit as the Annual Budget Review schedules has been finalized.  I need to be in HQ. I overheard Attila was flying to London and Turkey and would probably be gone for 10 days.  I did not want to care, but I really wanted to talk to him and ask when.  I was proud of myself I could play his game as best as he did.  Maybe even better.  I met a few more new friends.  Sometimes I can see him watch me when I am exchanging banters with the guys in Marketing and Sales.  But he kept distant.  I was very close to hating him.  I don't really understand why, but I did.
When Friday came, the guys set up a small drinking party for me.  I kept telling them I will be back anyway so I don't need a send-off, but they insisted it was a welcome party.  We went to several night spots in KL, we bar-hopped, then finally decided on one of the newer bars in town.  Attila wasn't with us for dinner, but a little after 11:00 P.M., I saw him in the bar.  Maidon and a couple of the other executives have gone home after dinner, leaving the soldiers out to get wild.  I was already a bit giddy.  But so was everybody else in the party.  The Chinese Malay ladies can be as wild as the New Yorkers and I was pleasantly surprised.  I noticed he wasn't drinking but I chose to enjoy this night with or without him.  I went to the powder room to freshen up, when I came out, Attila was waiting near the door.  I was going to walk straight past him when he touched my arm.  I stopped.  I looked at him, then his hand.  He dropped his hand and said, "Sofia, can I talk to you please?"  I cackled sarcastically, "Oh we can talk over there."  I pointed to our private area in the bar where the rest of the guys were.
Then he said, "I am really sorry Sofia, but please let me talk to you."
I looked at him sharply and said, "Shop talk?  Mr. Kaplan, email me. Trust that I will reply."  Then I walked away.  I heard him say something like, ..."take you to your hotel?"  But I didn't look back.
Somehow, he must have manipulated it.  When the car pooling was set, I ended up with him.  On his car.  Alone.  I wanted to take a cab but this would insult everyone in the party and I did not want to make a scene.  After all, he is my designated guardian.  So I had to ride with him.
We were not saying anything.  I was looking outside.  Then I heard the sirens again in my head.  "Hey, wait a minute.  I think we just passed the street that goes to Petaling Jaya.  Just where do you think you're taking me?"
His eyes looked so dark it scared me.  But when he spoke, his voice was even, calm.  "We are going to my place.  I have to get something in the house.  Don't worry, this won't take long."
I pushed my luck, "Your place?  Did you tell your girlfriend you have a woman with you that you need to chauffeur for?"
He answered calmly again, I was getting very pissed off.  "I live alone Sofia.  You will not find any girlfriend or woman in my place.  I do not have a girlfriend."
I was unstoppable. "I wasn't asking if you had one.  I just don't want to burden people because I happen to be unfamiliar moving around this country.  I really should have just hailed a cab, that was way easier for everyone."
"Stop it Sofia, please."  His voice wavered.  I had to look at his face, it was almost like he was in pain.

We got to 'his place', a very expensive swanky condominium-apartment in the Bangsar District.  He opened my door.  But when he offered his hand, this time, I did not take it.  He moved a bit behind me touching my back lightly and led me to his "kingdom".
It was beautiful.  He had a balcony overlooking the pool and the trees were lighted with halogen pin lights that hung like little fireflies.  He definitely has a housekeeper for his flat was squeaky clean and spotless.  Minimal furnishings but well chosen.  Earth colors.  beige, browns, sienna and black.  Very nice. He noticed I was scanning the environment, he asked if I wanted to anything to drink.  I told him water will be fine.  He moved fast, he walked to the kitchen which was at the right wing partially hidden by a marble divider, got a glass and walked to the ref.  He looked back and asked, "ice?" No ice.  I found it weird he had to serve me, I don't like this anymore than he did;  so I walked up to him and said, "Come on, why don't you just get what you need, I'll get my own water so we can get moving".  I took the glass from his hand but he pulled me closer to him with his arm we were standing too close our bodies were practically touching.  He was looking at me and I looked away, took his arm off from my waist; and opened the ref.
I almost dropped the glass when I saw what was inside.  

There was a huge pack of pistachio nuts; fresh strawberries with whipped cream topping on a bowl; an unopened bottle of Bailey's Cream Liqueur; different kinds of nutty chocolates, and boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts; an unopened carton of Kent Light cigarettes; different types of cheese; a whole Strawberry Short Cake; 2 huge bags of sea salt baked potato chips; several packs of Irish Cream Ground Coffee; a French vintage Cabernet Sauvignon ... my mouth dropped open and I realized he was staring at me and standing right beside me.
"Is this some kind of a joke?" I asked.
He was smiling but his eyes looked sad; then he said, "Do you find it impossible to believe that someone will remember all your favorite comfort things?"
I couldn't say anything.  My mind went on fast rewind.  I mentioned these things during the dinner we had as part of our animated exchange but I don't remember having mentioned this in sequence.  But he remembered them all.  I was too shocked to move or say anything.
He took the glass from my hand, filled it with water and gave it to me.  I gulped the water down.  I still couldn't move.  He took the glass off my hands and cupped both my hands with his.
I looked at him finally.  I wanted to say something that will sound smart or will hurt him.  Then he said, "I am so sorry Sofia for missing the breakfast and having to pretend with Maidon that we have not met."  
I was tearing up and vaguely audible, "I don't understand your games."
He continued.  "Please don't cry.   You are making this more painful than it already is.  I didn't tell you about the business ownership because it is not important.  Not to me.  It is more a source of pressure and stress.  I will be 30 this year and I have to look after so many things when I really prefer to have a life.  I was too excited to be with you that night.  I wanted to know more of you.  The people here, they know I am a bachelor.  They have paired me up with so many women they believe I should go out with, even marry.  It's a nightmare for anyone I actually really like.  People love to talk about other people's lives.  I came here not to draw so much attention to myself.  I do not like it when I am referred to as a flirt.  I am friendly.  Maybe too friendly for local standards.  However, I am quite choosy and some snootiness has rubbed on to me.  I chose this place both for security and privacy.  No one has seen this and no one besides my family will be invited either.  I have never allowed anyone to know where I live outside of Graeme and Maidon.  They have never even been here.  There are things I like to keep to myself.  I am very selfish.  And private."
I think it was clear but my thoughts were too clouded.  I rasped; "Why are you telling me this?  What do you mean?"
"I want you to forgive me Sofia. (gosh why does he make me weak when he says my name?) Forgive my stupidity.  Forgive me for being a bastard, an asshole, whatever name you want to call me now.  I really should have called you.  I wanted to.  But there were problems in the Plant, so much was going on, I was on overseas calls since 5:00 A.M.  that day.  I knew you would be disappointed to say the least; but I am a very proud and stubborn man.  I did not want you to have to take that against me.  I thought you must understand and I did not want to be bothered by thoughts about you.  So I tried to tell myself I don't care if you got disappointed.  But I can't.  Strange as it seems, but I care a lot about how you feel.  When I saw you that afternoon, I knew I already hurt you and its been eating me up since.  I thought if I brought you here and showed you those things in the ref, it would make you smile and learn to forgive me."  He stopped. 
He moved his right had to my chin, his left hand still held both of mine, and lifted my head to look at him.  
He gently flicked the tears from my face and kissed my forehead.  "I am so sorry for your tears Sofia.  I don't deserve them.  I am not supposed to feel this way about you.  But I do.  I have tried my best to keep distant.  Do you understand how complicated this will be?  Do you see why I would rather protect you, even from Maidon's intrusion? I don't want people to talk about you.  I don't want them to say things they don't know.  I would not know how to handle it.  Do you think I did not ask myself to stop being foolish just so I can keep you from those prying eyes and the possible nasty gossip?  Do you have any idea how this would hurt me?  Do you have any idea at all that it pains me more to see you angry and hurt, than all of these things?"
I freed both my hands from his clasp and touched both sides of his face.  Then I run my fingers through his lips and said.  "For a Turk, you talk too much."  I tiptoed and kissed him.


An Unforeseen Twist (Part 2 of a Short Love Story)

Monday mornings in Manhattan.  Yes this pacing, this frenzy, this mania, takes getting used to.  When I first came here to New York I never even imagined I would survive a week.  But it was different then.  Matthieu was with me.  He had always been there.  I practically grew up with him.
We were a an attractive "latino" couple, that's what people always said.  Even people on the streets of Manhattan would do a double-take when we walk by.  My Matthieu, (oh, he is no longer mine), is Italian.  And I am Spanish and some parts Italian.  We met because our families were in the same business; sometimes as partners, sometimes  as competitors.  He is a good looking man and of course, I would like to believe he gets more brownie points to have me beside him to complete his look.  When we meet new people, just for fun, we pretended to be siblings then start some PDA.  Yes. Good times.  

I was 8 and he was 10 years when we first met in Torino.  I was travelling with my parents.   We only formally dated when we were in College and we were both living here in New York.  It was the usual weekend, giddy from drinks and he walked me back home because I was laughing too hard at practically everything.  I never get drunk, but that particular night I had one too many.  We always kissed as part of our nature.  Except on that starry night, after we kissed goodbye, he cupped my face in his hands, and kissed me again.  I felt different about that kiss, and perhaps he meant it differently too.  We kissed much longer and passionate.  We both knew that the kiss was only the final seal of how we both felt about each other. It was the first time we made love.  In my bed, in my flat.  It was beautiful and raw.  He was my first man in bed.  And I always believed he was the only one that ever will be.
That was almost seven years ago.  Six years, eight months, 29 days to be exact.  
It was two months after we announced our engagement; after our short trip from Spain; and a day before we were to celebrate our month's anniversary.  I was clearing up our Chinese take-out cartons and I just got him a beer from the ref, when he grabbed both my arms and said, "Sofia, can you please sit still for just a minute?  I really need to tell you something."  I actually laughed.  I said, even seductively, "But of course babe, anything you wish for."  Then I saw his eyes.  So many feelings in those eyes that night, I can't even stand trying to recall how those eyes made me feel.  Just like that, like an A-bomb, he called "us" off.  
Matthieu is an Architect.  He said he needed to "ground" himself somewhere.  In a place where he thinks his family will be.  Wife.  Kids.  A home.  I thought I was part of that landscape.  I believed I was part of his plan.  I cried.  I got hysterical.  I begged.  I got furious.  I threw all of his things around. I  lost all sense of dignity by asking him to stay that night with me, I stripped down naked and asked him what part of my body he has not kissed or touched and if any of those parts disgusted him. When he hugged me and started kissing me, I lost it and I slapped him, I started hitting him, eventually,  I threw him out of my apartment.  That was how we ended.  It's crazy.  Work has kept my sanity and its hanging by a thin thread.
I think back and try to understand his reason.  We grew up and our ambitions, he said, were trekking diverse directions.  If I were to believe him, he said he respected my fire and passion to succeed.   I wonder if he discounted the fact that I had said YES to marrying him.  I am not stupid not to consider my own dreams and our dreams and how to make it work.  Maybe it was fear or cold feet.  I don't want to rationalize for him.  He's gone.  At the very least, he took it upon himself to travel back to my family and tell them what happened.  I have refused to talk about it.  With anyone.  Except Frankie, my best bud.  And Anne Marie who can read minds. 
I miss him so much.  However I hurt more by what he did so it kind of balances how I feel.  Again, work has saved me from further damaging myself.
"If you are not eating your hotdog and drinking your caw-ffee, then it's mine now", Frankie's  thick Brooklyn accent jolted me back to reality.
"Huh?  What?", I stuttered.
"Forgetaboutit!  Sofia, you know I love you but it makes me sick to see you like that!", Frankie croaked.
"Why don't we cut to the nonsense, he's a goner, you got that?  A fuckin' goner!"
I cawed back, "Oh you gonna whack him yawself? Dump his body on a sewer or somethin'?" I mimicked her accent.  We both giggled.
"Anne Marie needs to see you.  Git!" Frankie said and started attacking my hotdog sandwich and drinking my coffee.  I lovingly spanked her butt and she cursed me between mouthfuls of food in her mouth. "Fheuckh yewwh!"
It was simpler with Anne Marie.  She gave me everything in a small packet. Briefed me on everything I needed to know in 60 seconds, then hugged me and whispered in my ear.  "I have a good feeling about this sweetie.  I just know".  I was close to tears again, ("damn hormones") but I couldn't say anything so I just hugged her back, tightly.

I flew out on a Monday.  The weekend planned flight did not pull through. The 18 hours of flying time would have broken my back if I did not fly Business Class.  I made a mental note to get some goodies back for Anne.  She's really an angel.  I read up mostly about Malaysia on the net, plus the Travel Guides I got from the office, and the guys in marketing contributed their horror stories to my initial primer.  I convinced myself this is going to be a good experience and a rare career opportunity.  I should really consider this, as Doug said, well-timed.
It's my first trip to Kuala Lumpur, I have only been to Hong Kong.  We re-fuelled in Hong Kong but I was dying to catch some shut-eye.  I never got to acquire the skill of sleeping on flights.  Thankfully I arrived in one piece.  The Limousine Service of the hotel proudly welcomed MR. S. VASQUEZ-DELGADO.  I raised my hand and the Malaysian chauffeur apologized profusely about the mistake.  I said it was alright.  He explained it was always easier to call a lady a MISTER than to make the mistake of calling a MISTER a MISS.  I decided it was to0 early to show my feminist side, and this wasn't New York.  So I kept grinning.  I adjusted my watch, I lost a day and a half in flight?  Shitters!
Kuala Lumpur looks every inch a progressive city.  Looks more peaceful though than New York.  Everything looks cleaner and more peaceful than New York anyway.  The driver said something about the Hotel where I was booked.  He said my company thought it best as a place to stay instead of the K.L. Hilton because this was nearer the Office.  I just listened intently, after all this is a learning experience and the entire terrain was alien to me.  Then there it was, a good half an hour from the KL sign, the city of Petaling Jaya and the Hilton,where I was booked.  The Hotel provided me a personal Butler Service.  I whispered to myself, I am going to like it here.

I met with Mr. Salamat Maidon, my Corporate host, at the Hotel Lobby.  He was waiting for my arrival.  He talked very fast and I realized, this needed getting used to.  He said the Office was a little under 10 minutes by car from the Hotel.  (They don't really measure by distance here, mainly by the amount of travel time).  A cubicle has been set up for me and I, a bit embarrassed for the gesture, interjected, that a plug and play work station would have been just fine.  He smiled, he said all Managers had cubicles.  And besides,  I was not alone as the assigned expatriate from overseas.  Some guy from London has been with them for 3 months but would stay in the KL office for at least a year.  He is also a Brand Manager. (another expat?  goody!) Its a shame he continued, that he had just found a more permanent place but he had stayed in this same hotel for about 3 months before he settled and found a house.  (a house?  I thought we were only entitled to an apartment?  I decided not to ask, but mentally noted it.)  He added it would be easier for me to get a "feel" about adjusting to the new environment as he has assigned him, Mr. Attila Kaplan to be my learning partner.  (Greek?  Jewish?  Odd name... I thought).  My schedule would be very hectic and he suggested it would be prudent for me to  re-think my flight schedule back to New York until I have spent enough time with my familiarization.  
I was too busy making hazy mental notes and then he paused, looked at me, sizing me up, with a small grin he said; "I am sure Attila will be delighted with his new assignment when he sees you.  He is single, you know.  I trust he is the best person to help you out and it would be good for you to make a list of the things you need to cover and discuss this with him.  After all, both of you will be working in the same category in Marketing."
I was close to saying, ("Well Mr.Wise guy, I am not interested nor am I jumping up and down with joy",) but of course, I have learned that its best to keep a pleasant smile on my face, in case of doubt, works all the time.  So I kept quiet, nodded a lot, and listened some more as Maidon went on with the usual G.T.Ms.,  ("Going through the Motions") of a quick overview.  
It was early afternoon and I asked if the rest of the day was free. He suggested that I should rest and catch up on some sleep, and for that I was grateful.  I was to be "collected" (I thought it was very European for them to refer to that term) by 8:00 A.M. by Attila and from there proceed to the office for the meetings.  I vaguely remembered the details but then again, having a personal butler was pure heaven.  I went up to my room.  The Butler, named Fatima walked right behind me, (this too, needs getting used to); she helped me unload some of my stuff.  But I was too light headed so I asked to be left alone for a bit.  She closed my blinds and while she did I lied down in bed.  I slept like a well-fed puppy.

I thought I was dreaming.   Then that tapping sound again.  I opened my eyes, got my bearings a bit.  It was already dark.  Then I heard the soft tapping again. I got out of bed, I peeked through the peep hole in my room.  Oh its Fatima!
"So sorry to bother you Miss Sofia", Fatima's voice was sweet and melodious, "but Mr. Attila sent you this."  And she handed me a huge fruit basket with floral arrangements and a card.  She was smiling at me and I felt awkward because she was too enthusiastic.  It read: "I am at the Lobby if you want to have dinner tonight.   Attila"
("Well, what the?"....) then I realized I have to be really nice.  I do not have any friends here and what harm would it do to meet with my "learning partner" and apparently, my Malaysian guardian.
I quickly decided.  I smiled back at Fatima and said, in an equally sweet voice: "Please tell Mr. Attila I just need to freshen up and get changed so if he wouldn't mind waiting I will be ready in 15 minutes."
Fatima grinned back and blurted,"Oh he will wait Miss Sofia.  He is very nice and good.  I will tell him but I know he will wait.  Do you need anything else Madame?"
I pulled out a white shirt from my suitcase, half of the dresses were hanging, the rest I still needed to unpack. and said, that'll do.  "Fatima, if you can please have this pressed by housekeeping immediately, I will really appreciate it"
Fatima was just too excited to be of help and she rushed out leaving the fruit and flower basket on my coffee table.  I glanced at it again.  I was still holding the card.  The flowers and the fruits looked well set, an expensive arrangement.  Who is this guy anyway that people seem to like him?  Must be a total charmer, I thought.
My white top arrived.  Had enough time for a quick shower and I felt more relaxed.  I wore my gray skinny jeans, my shin high black boots, and looked at myself.  I thought otherwise on putting on too much make up.  So I put on the miracle worker, a red lipstick and powder.  I brushed my hair and decided to to tie it.  Half of my layered wavy hair disobediently fell off from the clasp.  Just enough.  It was after all, a business meeting and dinner with my guardian. 
I looked at my watch.  Jesus, 25 minutes have passed?  
I grabbed my bag, my room key and rushed off to the elevator to meet this Attila guy at the Lobby.  I regretted saying 15 minutes tops.
A group composed of about 10 to a dozen, all-female hotel staff was huddled in the coffee shop, laughing and giggling.  I stopped in my tracks.  Goodness, I don't know how he looks like!  Where the hell is Fatima?  I carefully scanned the Lobby crowd.  How will I do this?  I noticed from my peripheral view that the female crowd quieted down and from the middle of the huddle that slowly gave way, a man stood up and he was looking straight at me.  My heart started beating irregularly and I sincerely remembered having promised my heart would be incapable of fluttering.  Is that him?  How can a learning partner/guardian look that fucking gorgeous?  Hallelujah!  There is a God! I hadn't moved an inch although I thought I did, he had already walked towards me.  
He was smiling and held up his hand, half-way; "Miss Sofia Vasquez-Delgado, welcome to Malaysia.  I am Attila, your full time Concierge and I am honored to be of service.  Maidon tells me you are beautiful, what a liar.  You are breathtaking!"  He almost bowed a bit.
("What a flirt! A smart-ass flirt!")
I offered my hand and smiled as sweetly as I can, "It's a pleasure to meet you Attila!", then suddenly he flipped my hand and gently kissed it.  I gasped but I managed to say,"You can call me Sofia, or call me any time", then I curtsied. He looked up at me and we both laughed.  He had a nice laugh.  Honest.  Manly.  And he had great teeth.  No veneers this time.
I suddenly became aware that he had not let my hand go yet and he said, "I have made reservations in a restaurant in K.L., we better go now as we do have an early start tomorrow."  And he slightly drew me closer as he held my hand, I followed his lead and started walking.
The Lobby was too quiet as we walked across it and the stares were boring into my nape, I felt uneasy.  He immediately picked it up and very conspiratory-like, whispered into my ear, "Relax Sofia, we are just giving them something to talk about".  And without looking, he raised his free hand to wave and said, "Good night ladies, don't wait up!".
He is definitely a flirt.  I heard as we walked out into the air the sound of giggles and goodbyes and hushed chatter.  His car was parked right in front of the Hotel.  The Valet went to get my door, and he made a signal to him so he opened it instead and said, "My lady, shall we?"
I smiled and my heart sighed.  Please.  Don't do this.  He went to the driver's seat.  I was strapping on the seat belt and since I was on the other side now (it's right hand drive in Malaysia) I was taking a little time, he took the strap from my hand and snapped the metal thing into lock.
I murmured.  "Thanks".  He looked at me and was staring for more than a few seconds longer than comfortable, I felt a blush rising to my face, then he said, "It is my pleasure Sofia.  I should really be thanking you instead.  It is a wonderful surprise for you to accept my very late dinner invite.  I hope you like the flowers and the fruits."
I was going to say something, but he had started the car and looked back at the road.
(To Be Continued)