I stood in front of that mirror and stared at myself. Will he see me? Maybe, maybe not. I am scared of these types of situations as I have been most of my life. In my new year’s resolutions, I decided to put myself out there and this is the reason I had chosen tonight to go out and start doing so. I, however, started with the toughest of tasks but no matter, I am not a quitter. After all, it was too late as everyone knew I was going to do this and they were all going to be there tonight to support me. “I am happy,” I said to myself as I turned to my side to see how the skirt I had picked draped off my ass.
I was indeed, work was great especially after the huge order I had just received from a reputable company. I am a jewellery designer and although my parents always thought I was wasting a perfectly good degree on engineering to do ‘work that uneducated people do’ as they say. I love what I do and that is what that counts. I am happy, I repeated to myself once again as I picked up the clutch I had put on my design table. You see, I am not yet in a position to rent space for an office so I work from my one bedroom apartment. Soon though, very soon.
I shut the bedroom door behind me and walked to wards Jamie and Cruz. Jamie has been my friend since we were in high school. I loved her so much because she never gave up on me when I was going through a phase in campus. Story for another day though. Cruz has been my friend for a year now and she has been an angel. She has helped me grow my business and perfect my art and I consider her family already. These two have heard me wine and complain and they have loved me regardless.
“So? How do I look?” I said as I did a little twirl for them.
“Gorg honey, simply incredible,” They said in unison as they stood up and walked towards me.
“If he doesn’t fall for you, he is gay,” Jamie said as she tucked my hair behind my ear, exposing the pearl earrings I had been working on for a week now.
“Yeah, If he doesn’t, I will smack him on the head,” Cruz added in agreement.
“Thanks guys, but I feel like I am cheating. This isn’t how I wanted it to go down.”
“I told you guys are not like us women, they need a nudge. A push in the right direction. Plus, what is wrong with giving fate a little help.” Cruz said as she put her hand on my elbow and dragged me to the door. “Besides, I know he is a great guy.”
“Cruz, remind her that we don’t want to hear her wine about him for the next three years. Remember also that the good guys these days are flying off the shelves,” Jamie added as she locked the door. I laughed at her remarks as I tried to convince myself that I was doing the right thing.
Cruz had brought her car so that we didn’t have to use public transport, besides, who would want to arrive at such an exclusive event walking. I was poor, not destitute.
We had an hour to go as I lived outside the city. I figured if I was to spend money I don’t have, it would be on my business and not rent. Believe me, the sacrifice was paying off. I was on a high today after receiving the news of my upcoming project and that is why I had let these crazy ladies talk me into going to this party in the first place. Cruz knew the guy I have a crush on and had always offered to introduce us but I always came up with a reason not to. I have a thing with rejection and so I chose to let destiny decide. I am, however, no stranger to his Instagram account. I creep all the time, checking his Instastories and wishing there was a like button. I would never like his pictures though, I feel like that would be too desperate. He has thousands of followers so I doubt my like would be missed. The ride was fast as it was a slow traffic day. We got there sooner than expected and my nerves started kicking in. My breathing started becoming faster and heavier, as if I was having a panic attack. I get like this sometime and I hated that it had to be today.
“Don’t do this to me today honey,” Jamie said as she gave me a comforting hug, “you got this. Remember Nick from high school? You were the one who made a move on him first and you were really confident.” I remembered that but Nick was never going to be anyone serious so there was no pressure to impress him. To be honest, I had changed a lot after high school and this me was afraid of making moves like that. I breathed in and out just like I had done many times before my campus presentations. I felt a little better but I knew I would feel even better with a little liquid courage in me.
We walked up the steps of the venue and I must admit that the length of my skater skirt was feeling a bit inappropriate. Just some few more inches off the hem and I would be exposed. How did I expect him to take me seriously if my dressing was a bit too provocative? I told you I get like that sometime. I tend to overthink and make myself scared for nothing. After all my mother always told me I have beautiful legs. Or did she have to say that? Stop it Jazzy! This is not the time nor place for such kind of thoughts. I really should stop giving myself pep talks while walking in these pumps lest I fall flat on my face. Then he passed and sees all of me because I wasn’t decently and couldn’t walk in heels. Gosh! I just couldn’t stop, could I?
Cruz had put us in the VIP section as that was where he was bound to be. You see he was a big shot club promoter and that made him quite the celebrity in these events. How did I even know him in the first place? I couldn’t remember. I was glad the VIP was a little bit subtle in the lighting and the noise. There was champagne on ice already and as I skimmed the area for him but he wasn’t there yet. Maybe he is the kind of guy that gets to places fashionably late.
“When we spot him, Cruz and I will vamoose.”
“No, you can’t, I will need an introduction”
“No Hun, it will not work if I do that. Remember what we practiced.”
“O…O..kay” I wasn’t sure what I was agreeing to. This was uncharted territory for me. I wanted to do this though. I don’t even know why I was nervous. I had envisioned us meeting a thousand times, talk about experience. Cruz was a party animal and the VIP was boring for her. She left us and went to dance on the dance floor, she was very good at it. Jamie was into flirting and had her sights set on a sexy male specimen on the next booth. I could see she really wanted to go. “Just go, I will be fine.” She hugged me and scampered away towards him. I was finishing my second glass when my phone chimed in my purse. It was a text from Cruz. “He is at the bar.”
I wasn’t prepared for this. I was scared to think that the time had come for me to do it. This moment had played out so many times in my head. The champagne was kicking in as I felt a little better than I did earlier. I took my purse and made my way to the bar. All I had to do was follow the plan and I would be fine. I took the seat closest to him and flagged the barkeep. “Sweet white wine please.” I could feel his eyes burn a hole through my side but I decided to text Cruz as I waited. I wouldn’t want to seem to eager now, would I? “I am here, wish me luck.”
I hit the send button and put it in silent mode, I had to concentrate. I glanced at his side and noticed he was having a bourbon. Time for step two. “You must be a hard worker.” I hoped he heard me, I don’t think I would have repeated the words if he didn’t. “Here you are miss, enjoy.” The barkeep brought me back. I noticed he looked at him for a second as he moved to the other side of the bar. “Why? Have they told you anything about me?”
“No, it’s just that they say you can tell who a person is by the drink they order.”
“Oh, so what does yours say about you?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know.”
I took a sip of my wine and played with the glass as I waited for a response. He looked like he knew what I was talking about. I was feeling a bit relaxed now.
“I don’t actually, care to elaborate?” I could see the faint smile on the side of his mouth. He wanted to hear me tell him.
“Well, why don’t you just ask about me instead.”
“I thought I just did.”
“I am Jazzy and I like white wine.”
“That’s it? Well Jazzy, I am Michael and I only drink at social events.”
“Don’t go thinking that I am an alcoholic now. I am also a social drinker. I am here with friends,” I said pointing to Cruz and Jamie.
“Ohhhh, you are Cruz’s friend? That must be pretty fun. She is fun I mean. Not that you are not fun. I don’t …I should stop talking now.”
“No, please. Go on gushing about my friend.”
He took a sip of his bourbon as he gathered his thoughts. I hope I didn’t scare him off with my sarcasm. How stupid.
“I have a stash of sweet wine in the back, would you like to see it?”
“Maybe, but I have to prove you are not a serial killer. You know, asking me to the back where it is less crowded, no one can hear me scream.” Stop talking. Enough with the sarcasm already. I waved at Cruz and gave her a subtle thumb’s up.
“If I were a serial killer, I would be one with flare. Come on.” He downed his drink in one sip and took my hand from the bar and helped me off the stool.
“Wait, my purse. Let me take my glass.”
“No. Leave it.”
He didn’t let go of my hand just yet, instead he pulled me behind him to a certain door marked staff only. Wait, what? This is going better than expected. A little too well, a paranoid person might think. This was my only day off and so I figured I should stop thinking too much and enjoy it. He led me to a storage area with quite a collection of booze. They had pretty amazing racks that I would like to say would make really amazing DIY projects. He stopped at the furthest corner and let go of my hand.
“The bottles are up there. Can you get two?”
Before I realized it, he took my purse and placed it on top of some crates. He then put his hands around my waist and picked me from the ground. It took me a minute to grab two bottles from the shelf after which he set me down gentle. I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt weak in the knees. I handed him the bottles as I supported myself on the tower of crates nearby. This was seriously not happening.
“Come, I want to show you something.”
We took a flight of stairs to another level of the building. He pointed me to his pocket where I was to fish for his keys. Awkward. I struggled looking through his fitting pants and managed to pull them out. He handed me the two bottles and he proceeded open the door. He ushered me in as he looked for the switch. It was an apartment, quite beautiful in fact. It was simple yet tastefully decorated. Everything in this apartment was definitely triple the price of mine. I was startled by the sound of him shutting the door. He took the bottles and set one of them on his kitchen counter and took two glasses from the rack.
He unlocked the door to his balcony and set the wine and the glasses on a table.
“Come. I wanted to show you the view from here. It is quite spectacular.”
I walked to where he was standing and took the view in. The city was beautiful in the night. The stars shining and the lights from the buildings even brighter. Quite a sight to behold. I looked down for a moment and I gasped. You see there was only a block of glass separating me from death and so I took a few steps back and I accidentally hit the table. It shook and fortunately it is not the one to crumble and fall with everything on it. He walked towards me and held my arms.
“I am sorry. I am really afraid of heights. You see we took the lift coming here and I didn’t realize how far up we were.”
“I will protect you I promise, trust me.” He pulled me gently towards him and made me hold the glass. I was still shaking and was my legs wanted to buckle but he stood behind me and held me tightly in place. I don’t know what would have made me pass out, the height or how close he held me.
“I can’t, I am sorry. I am not ready yet.” I walked to the living room and sat on his couch. My knees were shaking so I but my interlocked fingers on them hoping he wouldn’t notice. He followed with the wine in the glasses and handed me one. He sat really close and I was feeling really uneasy now. This is seriously not how I pictured this night going.
“Drink up, you will feel better.” I gobbled it and hoped that I won’t feel like throwing up soon.
This felt like a ploy to get me here but I wasn’t afraid. I was shaken by the height but I felt comfortable here. He reached down to my feet and took my pumps off. I let him.
“Might be the reason you still feel shaky,” I looked at him and he looked back. This was the first time our eyes were meeting and it felt great. He had these warm hazel eyes that sparkled with the light of the room. His face still had that faint smile at the side of his mouth like he was amused at something. I think it was at this moment that I liked him more than I did before. He was right here and I still remember him from the first time I saw him. Yes, I do remember now.
“What are you thinking about?”
“I know now why you like sweet white wine.”
“You are hard to read. You won’t let people tell what you are thinking. And…..”
He could read me, he just couldn’t tell for sure. I could tell by the way he looked at me. He stood up and placed his black tailored jacked with brown patched on the elbows on his coat rack. Seeing him this close was different from stocking him from his Instagram. I could see the muscles through his white shirt which was even better. He took off his black suede loafers and put them on the shoe rack by the door. My eyes followed him the kitchen where he took something from the fridge and put it in the microwave.
“I hope you eat meat, I am sorry I didn’t ask first.”
“No biggie. I do eat meat.”
He walked towards me and stretched out his hand. I took it not knowing what he wanted to do with it.
“I took you away from the party. Care to dance?”
“I am not a good dancer but I can manage one.”
He pressed a button on his remote control and a classical tune filled the room. I don’t know my music so I am not going to pretend I know if it was Mozart or Beethoven. He pulled me close and its only then I realized how much shorter than him I actually am. I stood on my toes as he put his arm around my back and pulled me even closer. I can now smell the bourbon on his lips. I placed my head on his chest and his body smells even nicer than I imagined it would. Said the crazy stalker. The cologne must have cost him a pretty penny.
“Your hair smells nice,” He whispered.
“So does your shirt.”
“Will you be mad if I told you something?”
“No, what is it?”
Ding! The microwave had to interrupt.