"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.