Thursday January 13, 2011.
Naeleen walked with a group of friends towards their residential building. Having turned the corner she blinked several times recognizing the familiar gentleman that stood by the entrance. He had been waiting there for almost an hour, anxious from having asked around for Naeleen's whereabouts.
"Brian?" She walked closer to the doorway excusing herself from the rest of the group.
"Leena, hey." His heart felt tight; she always made him smile. She's still as beautiful as I remember.
"What are you doing here in New York? There's no room for Harvard grads here." She joked.
"I'm here on a small case and decided to pay you a little visit since I haven't seen you in years."
"Well, that's great. Oh and congratulations! Ronnie called me minutes after she said yes. So you guys are finally going to do it?" Naeleen swallowed hard, this was it, the last time she would ever see him solo.
"Yeah…I guess we are. Umm, did I catch you in the middle of something? Because if not, I was hoping we could get a bite to eat and catch up?"
"Oh um, I need to finish up a model for my final presentation in a few days…" She regretted saying it the minute it slipped her mouth.
He then wondered if she'd be free the following day but after hearing of her project, his question had already been answered. Brian's notable disappointment changed her mind instantly.
"But I think I can spare an hour or two…just give me a few minutes." She finished.
Brian's face lit up, grateful that she reconsidered.
Naeleen turned to walk inside; as she climbed upstairs her eyes turned glossy, her heart rattling, hands shaky and sweaty. What is he doing here? She couldn't keep calm, but if she had for all these years, what would make the next couple of hours any different.
Brian stared so hard at the tree next to him; if he possessed the power he could've burned a hole right through. Nervous but decided; he rubbed his hands together to prepare him for the talk he had been waiting for years to have with Naeleen, only the conditions were drastically complicated. No matter how he tried to rehearse it, the only way it would come out right is if he said every word from the heart.
Naeleen quickly entered her room; rushing to the mirror to check herself. Okay I look decent. Just then she heard her door open.
"Nae are you alright? I came as soon as I saw you rush by. You look like scared out of your skin!" said her worried friend.
"He's down stairs. He just showed up to visit me and he's down stairs." Naeleen said in a panic.
"Ever, what do you mean who? Brian!"
"Brian? What…why? What did he say?"
"Well …he just said he wanted to catch up. He's here on business, but that he went out of his way to come visit? And apparently has the rest of the evening off…I think."
"Okay Nae just relax. And change that sweater, it's hideous."
"What do you mean it's…it's my favorite sweater!"
"I can tell; it's worn out. You practically sleep in that thing! Put the green one on, you know how nice it looks against your red hair."
"Won't it seem a little too obvious?"
"No, just say your moron friend spilled coffee on the other one. He's not going to care. Now go, tell me everything when you come back!"
"It's probably nothing. I just hope he doesn't ask me to be in the wedding..."
Naeleen went down stairs; tucking her loose strands behind her ears and fixing her green cardigan that flowed atop her black jersey dress. Just a few steps more till she reached the door where Brian stood in clear view.
Wednesday August 4, 1999.
"Naeleen, quickly, get the door. I'm going to get ready to start some games soon." Her mom instructed.
She opened the door to find a woman and her son standing outside.
"Hi Naeleen, Happy Birthday! We're your new neighbors, your mother invited us over. I'm Marianne and this is my son Brian."
"Hi." He said with a half-smile.
Naeleen smiled back and welcomed them in. Denise, her mother, went to greet Marianne and brought her outside to meet the rest of the neighborhood parents, leaving Naeleen and Brian alone in the entry way. Brian stared at her strawberry blond hair combed into a side pony tail with a colorful party hat on her head. He liked her freckles; they matched her light brown eyes.
"So…how old are you today?" He tried to make conversation.
"I turned 11… how old are you?" She responded.
"Cool… you want to see my party, you don't have to if you don't want to."
Naeleen although fairly shy was still pretty friendly. Putting aside the fact that he was the cutest boy to ever walk the block let alone walk in her house; she didn't let that get to her. He had very dark brown hair and one dimple on his left cheek she found extra sweet.
"Sure." He replied.
Sunday October 17, 1999
Naeleen had just finished moving around some furniture in her room. Wanting to redecorate, this task turned into a whole day's event. She went out to throw away some torn boxes and saw Brian lying on his front lawn across the street.
Brian was listening to his CD player when he noticed someone's shadow blocking the sunlight.
"Hey Leena." He sat up.
"What are you listening to?" She sat in front of him.
"Third Eye Blind. Heard of them?"
Leena shook her head while Brian detached one of his earphones so she could take a listen.
"This one's my favorite song... " He said skipping the tracks.
"…do-do-do-do… I'm packed and I'm holding, I'm smiling, she living, she golden. She lives for me…" He sang mumbling so Naeleen couldn't hear him.
Soon they were both bobbing their heads and Naeleen was trying to catch up with the chorus lyrics to Semi- Charmed Life.
"I like this band."
"You can borrow my cd if you want. I have the whole thing memorized anyways." He smiled.
"Yeah? Sweet thanks."
Monday September 3, 2001
"Good morning class, today I want to introduce to you our new student, her name is Ronnie Valdivia. Welcome to Math class Ronnie, please find a seat." Announced Mr. Fletcher.
Naeleen saw the pretty brunette and signaled at the empty seat behind her. Ronnie nodded and went in her direction. That was the day Naeleen and Ronnie met and became inseparable.
"I love your hair, it's such a pretty color." Ronnie complimented.
Naeleen pushed back her thin framed glasses, "Thanks I like your brown hair more though…I'm Naeleen."
They giggled and shook hands. After class Naeleen gave Ronnie a rundown on all their teachers and classes.
"Do you want to come over my house after school?" Naeleen asked.
"Sure, as long as I call my mom at your house." Ronnie's blue eyes twinkled, so excited to have made a friend on her first day of school.
Later that day…
Ronnie had just gotten off the phone with her mother. Denise was making snacks in the kitchen while Naeleen took her new friend around the house. Then the girls stayed playing in the open garage, where Naeleen was showing Ronnie her handmade furniture and decorations to her exquisite doll house.
"Wow you made this Naeleen, that's amazing! I could never do something like that." Ronnie praised.
"I love to decorate. My mom says I have an eye for that kind of stuff. She gets me all these cool magazines…"
Naeleen went on but wasn't aware of the major distraction going on across the street. Ronnie was watching a group of guys joking around on the sidewalk.
"Who's that over there?" Ronnie interrupted.
Are you even listening? Who? "Who do you see there?"
When Naeleen saw the three guys laughing, her heart became slush at the sight of one of them. Oh yes him, only the boy of my dreams.
"Oh that's my neighbor Brian and his friends…" Naeleen froze as she saw Ronnie march over there.
Quickly skipping to her side yet remaining a foot or two behind, she worried what Ronnie was to say.
"Hi!" Ronnie cut in.
The three high school boys looked at her, and quickly put on their macho front. Brian smiling like the rest of the guys, especially at the sight of Naeleen and her new glasses that she complained she hated.
"Hey, what's your name?" Said one of them.
"I'm Ronnie, Naeleen's best friend."
Naeleen was surprised that she had already earned the title of best friend. She never had a best friend before; this thrilled her little heart, almost as much as Brian did too.
"Well I'm good friends with Leena and she's never mentioned you before." Brian stated.
"Oh we met today, I just moved from Colorado." She answered back.
"Oh, that's cool. Well I'm Brian and this is Tony and Dylan."
"Nice to meet you. What grade are you all in?"
"Eleventh." Said Tony.
Just then Naeleen noticed how easy it was for Ronnie to get along with boys, she was beautiful after all. The guys seemed to like talking to her way more. Not that Naeleen had so much to talk about. Brian took a step or two closer to, her hoping to make her feel more included.
"So how's 8th grade treating you?" He asked demonstrating genuine care.
"It's good really. I can't wait to finally take art class in 9th though."
"Just make sure you take it with Mrs. DuPointe; I hear the other teacher is a grumpy witch… for lack of a better word."
Naeleen liked how Brian always tried to keep from cussing in front of her. She had heard him before with his buddies but never with her.
Brian continued to ask simple questions but Ronnie soon felt left out from their inner circle and hurried to her new best friend's side.
"We should head back, it was nice meeting all of you." Ronnie said slightly pulling on Naeleen's arm.
Brian waved good bye , watching both girls cross the street, wondering if Naeleen would ever pick up on his efforts of his friendliness.
Back at the house…
"I think they were all cute… what do you think Nae? I especially thought Brian was really cute!" Ronnie announced.
No not Brian! Not my Brian!
"What about you do you like any of them?"
"I kind of do…"
"Well Brian…but he probably only sees me as a kid sister."
"I think so, I saw the way he was talking with you. It didn't seem like an 'I'm interested in you' kind of way. But I wonder what he thinks of me?"
Friday February 15, 2002
Naeleen was about to continue her sleepover movie marathon when Ronnie over heard some music coming from Brian's house. They peeked out the window to see a bunch of cars coming and going and guys screaming that the beer had arrived.
"Have you ever tried beer Nae?"
"No and I don't think it tastes good. At least that's what I've heard."
"We should go over there and try it." Ronnie encouraged.
"It's almost midnight Ron!" She whispered.
"So, your parents are sleeping anyway, we can sneak out for a couple of minutes and they'll never know."
Naeleen was easily persuaded, then dragged to her closet to see the best out fits they could find.
At Brian's house, all his friends and classmates were practically drunk. There were couple's making out in the rooms and drinking competitions going on in the kitchen . The beer was never out and the teenagers just kept on arriving. Brian realized he had too much to drink when he couldn't keep his balance for more than 5 minutes. But he couldn't deny he felt nice and laid back...too laid back. He was stunned to see a certain red haired girl walking into his house. Leena? No way…this just got better. I hope I don't throw up.
"Hey ladies, glad you made it." He said sluggishly.
"Brian are you drunk?" Naeleen asked worried.
"Just a little," he lied.
"I'm off to find the beer." Ronnie shouted.
"You look pretty." He gave a cheesy smile.
"Thanks I guess… you are so out of it Brian. Let's get you some water."
Brian knew he was drunk and Naeleen had never seen him like this before. Beneath his intoxication he felt embarrassed. He began to drink the bottled water that she handed to him. Then they walked towards the laundry room, away from the crowd and the loud music.
"Th-Thanks Naeleen. I'm sorry you have to see me like this, I'm such a mess."
"It's okay Brian. We all have our slip ups."
He could barely keep his eyes wide open and even though he didn't have full control over his body he had complete control over his thoughts.
"Naeleen, you're an amazing girl…I like you… a… a lot!"
How could she believe any of the words he was saying; he was obviously drunk out of his mind. And because she cared for him so much she wanted to make sure he wasn't alone and that he got hydrated enough after all that alcohol.
"Well it's a good thing you don't have to drive anywhere."
"Yeah… I know. Because you wouldn't let me go anywhere in this condition would you? Because you care about me…admit it?"
You're not making any sense Brian. Why are you saying these things? You are wasted and you are playing with my emotions. If you only knew how I truly felt about you Brian, but I can't stand seeing you like this.
"I knew it!" He shouted.
Brian leaned forward thinking this was his chance to make a move on Naeleen. As he wobbled forward he barely was able to touch her lips when she pushed him away.
"Brian what are you doing?"
"I was going to kiss you… you admitted you cared about me so…"
"You are so drunk!"
You can't possibly be thinking straight. When we kiss for the first time I want it to be for real, where we are both sober. I don't want to be some girl you make out with at some party and then you don't remember the next day.
"I'm sorry Naeleen, I wasn't thinking." He said in a more controlled tone.
"I know. I'm going to search for Ronnie."
I blew it , she will never speak to me again after what I just pulled. It's clear that Naeleen is not in to me , if so she wouldn't have rejected me…I'm not that drunk.
Brian was bummed, but he kept on drinking his water to the very last drop. He stayed there for several minutes dazed and troubled.
"Hey there you are!" He heard a perky voice and turned to see Ronnie.
"Hi." He answered rather serious.
"What's the matter? Aren't you enjoying the party?"
"Um yeah…it's one heck of a party. But I think I'm done."
"You can't be done yet I just found you."
"Nah, I'm sorry. I'm too tired right now."
"Not too tired to kiss me I hope."
"Excuse me?" Brian was puzzled.
Before he could get an answer Ronnie already made her move. She latched on to him and kissed him hard. At first he stiffened unsure if he wanted to kiss back. But then he remembered his recent rejection and returned the kiss.
Meanwhile Naeleen still couldn't find her friend. She started to feel terrible about what happened with Brian, hopping she'd find him by the laundry room still and she went to go check. To her dismay she found him alright with Ronnie. They were indulging a heavy kissing session. Naeleen felt a deadly grip over her heart, leaving a fresh stinging wound she thought impossible to recover from.
Thursday November 7, 2002
"So who are you going to ask to the Sadie Hawkins's Dance Nae?"
"I don't know yet. Someone probably already asked the person I was thinking of. What about you?"
"Well I have my eye on one particular Senior." Ronnie replied with a shady look in her eyes.
Oh please don't be Brian. I'm working on the courage I swear. Oh my… here he comes!
Brian saw Naeleen looking in her locker and thought maybe if he said hello and lingered a while she might ask him this once. That's if she's even interested, He thought.
"Hey, how's my favorite freshman?" He teased.
"I'm alright, just getting used to my schedule and stuff. I'm looking to join the year book club. Maybe be in charge of the design and layouts."
"You are very good at that." He assured her.
Just then a couple of Brian's friends were shouting for him to join them. So he said a friendly good bye. Sadly Naeleen watched Brian disappear into the herds of students. Oh by the way Brian, would you like to come with me to the Sadie Hawkins's dance? She sighed.
Around 7th period, Brian decided to give it another try, knowing Naeleen would be in Art class. He walked down the hall in that direction, unsure of what excuse he would give to get her out of class. Unfortunately on his way over he bumped into Ronnie who had this period free. She had just changed into her cheerleading uniform that she was handed earlier that day.
"Hey Brian, how's it going?"
"Well and you?"
"Oh I guess I'm alright. Except there's this one thing…"
"What's that? Hey do you think you can get Nae…"
"Will you go to the Sadie Hawkins's dance with me?" She cut him off.
"Oh…um…Who's Naeleen going with?"
"Huh? She's going with some guy, she thought he was taken but turns out he wasn't… so what do you say?"
"Okay then I guess."
"Great! I will catch you later."
The bell rang and Naeleen was determined to finally ask Brian out. She shoved her things in her locker and went out by the soccer field to see if she could spot him. The guys were starting to come out from the locker rooms and we're stretching on the grass.
"Brian!" Naeleen called as she saw him step out.
He was curious to see what she wanted; why she looked so eager.
"Hey, what's going on?" I wonder, who you are going with Leena. Or maybe I don't want to know.
"So I think I'm in the club already, they seemed pleased with my designing capabilities." She chuckled.
"That's great! I knew they would be."
"So I was wondering about the dance…" Here goes nothing…
"What do you want to do a double thing?" Brian asked.
"Huh? What do you mean?" She scowled.
"If we can ride together with our dates?" He explained.
"Who are you going with?" You already got asked?
"Ronnie. She didn't tell you? I thought you guys shared everything like ASAP! Anyway she asked me an hour ago… but I don't think I want to do the double thing.. I gotta go stretch though. Congrats on the club!"
Ronnie asked you? But she knew…she had to have known I was going to ask you. Why did you say yes jerk! I guess you must really like her… Forget this, I'm not going to no stupid dance!
Thursday January 13, 2011.
"Hey you changed."
"Oh just my sweater, my roommate spilled coffee all over it. She's a little clumsy." Naeleen shrugged.
"So where shall we go eat?"
"There's a good Greek place a couple of blocks down?"
"That sounds about right then." Brian smiled.
He kept his hands in his jacket, fearing Naeleen might notice them shaking.
"So no more glasses huh?" He pointed out.
"Nope, the miracle of contacts" She smiled.
"Ever considered laser surgery?"
"Yeah she did."
"What?" He asked.
"Oh," she chuckled. "My roommate's name is Ever, and she also uses glasses. She wants to do the whole laser thing. But I can't, I'm too chicken."
"Ahhh, I can see why that sentence was confusing. I don't think I've seen you without glasses since we were teenagers."
"Yeah, how embarrassing." I was geek numero uno.
"You didn't look bad with glasses, you were the only person I knew who could rock them. Plus they looked cute with all your freckles." Like the first time we met.
"I guess it's a requirement for lawyers to convince people otherwise huh?"
"More or less… but tell me how are your classes going? Do you graduate this year?"
"Yes finally! I'll have my pretty piece of paper certifying that I'm an Interior Designer. Transforming all ugly spaces into works of art!"
"You should come do my office sometime… it could use a nice artistic touch." He laughed "But please tell me more..."
They continued to walk down the sidewalk about to reach the restaurant.
"So are you hungry?"
"No not really, I actually already ate with my friends before seeing you."
"Oh… well I'm not very hungry either."
"You should have told me, I wouldn't have made you walk this far."
"I could use a drink though…" He hinted.
"As long as you don't get drunk! We both know you can't think coherently when you're intoxicated."
They both laughed and crossed the street to go to friendly bar.
"This is actually a really nice place." Naeleen added.
They sat in a red suede booth and ordered two glasses of wine. The smiles were fake, hiding their true feelings; yet convincing enough to not raise any questions or suspicions. Brian continued to hear of Naeleen's dorm stories and laughed, realizing how much he missed her friendship and if only he wasn't in such a rut. But he was dying to ask her the truth.
Naeleen sensed that something was wrong beneath Brian's tired eyes. Why else would he look burdened with so much weight on his shoulders. I wish he'd tell me what's bothering him. I don't want to just meddle in his business.
"So, did Ron also tell you…I'm going to be a dad?"
"Oh my, no she didn't. That's great news! Congratulations again! You must be excited with all these things happening." It's not fair! Why does she get to be the one to steal you away, then marry you and now have your children. It should have been me…
"It's crazy I know…very unexpected believe me."
"Is there a link between the pregnancy and the wedding?"
"Uh, you got me there." He laughed nervously "But it was time already, I mean we've been on and off for quite some years now. I guess that's fate telling us we are supposed to be together. The baby was our answer." Even if what she said about you was true or not…it's too late now.
"Oh wow, I'm like super jealous now. She gets to be a wife and mother. Wow… And to you! You guys are my friends, what better people to be together than the two of you!" Naeleen gave another fake smile. This time Brian noticed it.
Brian also noticed a very familiar song playing mildly in the background. A song that triggered comfort and good memories.
"Do you hear that?" He asked knowing Naeleen knew exactly what he was talking about.
"Jumper… Of course."
"Everyone I know has got a reason…to put the past away," was heard through the speakers.
"I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend…." They both sang in unison and smiled.
"Wow I feel like I'm 11 all over again." Naeleen laughed.
"I know… do you remember that? You never gave me back my cd you know?" Brian grinned.
"You said I could keep it!"
"Oh yeah I did. I forgot. Do you still have it?"
"I do… not one scratch." She said proudly.
"Leena, there's something I wanted to ask you…something that Ronnie said that caught my attention..."
Friday May 26, 2006
"Congratulation's Class of 2006!" The speakers in the auditorium trembled as the principal concluded the ceremony.
The parents and their graduates began to pair off to take several photographs. Soon everyone scattered as the friends gathered together for their shots.
"Naeleen we need our picture together!" Cried Ronnie.
Denise snapped away and noticed Naeleen not looking directly to the camera, Brian had arrived.
"Brian, get in there with the girls!" Denise demanded.
He stood in the middle while Ronnie made sure that whoever saw this picture would know that Brian was hers. Some of Ronnie's friends screamed and cried for her to take a picture with them, as they were quite over emotional. So while Ronnie ran over to them, Brian thought it a great opportunity for one photo alone with Naeleen.
"Make sure to send me a copy of that please." He said to Naeleen.
"Sure will." She smiled.
"So Cum-Laude huh. I always knew you were very bright." Brian grinned.
"Whatever… it's no Magna like you, but it's the only thing I'm good at."
"No you are good at many things… you got accepted into NY's Art Institute I heard, pursuing your dream to be a designer. Good for you!"
"Thanks, I'm just more excited to leave this town you know… 'find myself' and what not."
"But you already know yourself; you are the least lost person I know."
"If you say so... So how's law school treating you?"
"It's quite the handful, between that and trying to come and visit when I can. This long distance relationship has been…interesting."
"But totally worth it right? I mean Harvard can't get In the way of love right?"
"No but the distance can."
There was an uneasy silence that was soon disrupted by Ronnie's return.
"Here are my favorite people. Hey Denise one more picture!...Hey Nae, did I tell you I might be moving to Massachusetts with Brian? I can't wait!"
"Wha?" Naeleen asked. Not before the camera flashed.
Monday August 22, 2007
"Naeleen, you just received your first letter..."
"Thanks Ever, just put it on my desk."
Naeleen had finished mounting a few small paintings she had gotten to decorate her plain dorm room walls. Stepping back to make sure they were all straight, she then walked over to see who the envelope was from. Inside she found a card with a little girl playing with a doll house. It read "Happy Birthday" on the very top. She opened and read the card as she sat down.
"Happy Belated Birthday Leena, I didn't forget I just have been crammed writing my thesis. I hope you enjoy New York and your first year at college. We miss you, I miss you. Somehow I felt things weren't left right the last time we all saw each other, at your graduation. I just want to make sure you're okay. We'd love to hear from you, so call whenever you get a chance. I'll make the time to talk. Again sorry for the late card, I would have called if I had your number, but no one seems to have it yet; I got your address from your mom. Take care, Brian"
Naeleen stared at the girl with the dollhouse and thought it was sweet for him to pick this particular card. She knew he did because it was all in his writing, there wasn't even a little signature from Ronnie. Truth was she couldn't stand the thought of them living together. Naeleen felt betrayed by her friend, she knew that Ronnie was aware of her feelings for Brian but was just playing dumb.
New York offered her a fresh beginning, a new start at making new friends and perhaps even falling in love with someone who could love her back. But after receiving that card from Brian she was reminded of how much she still liked him. Naeleen swallowed her pride and decided to call Brian's apartment.
Hoping to hear that sweet voice she was greeted with Ronnie's instead; switching tones and feelings. Ronnie was thrilled to talk to her; she began to tell her about their apartment, how the relationship was going and how happy she was that she didn't have to work or anything.
"I wish we could all be so lucky Ronnie..."
"I know, but I am bored to death. Brian is always studying, all the time. And when he's not studying he's working. It's like I live here by myself. He doesn't even seem interested in having sex as anymore, because he's tired."
"Okay Ronnie, I don't need to hear all the details."
"Well, I got offered a job as a bartender. I think I'm going to take it, it sounds fun. That way I can sleep all day and work at night."
"There ya go. But then you really won't see Brian at all."
"I know but, I'm too young to be cooped up in here all the time. I just have no desire to go to college right now. I'm so jealous of you Nae. What's New York like?"
"It's a dream…"
Naeleen described everything she loved about the city. After an hour of talking she had to go and get ready for her night class. It was nice to catch up and see what Ronnie was up to, but she couldn't deny the fact that it still hurt. She wasn't going to dial that number again for long time, if ever.
Wednesday June 1, 2011
It was eight o'clock in the evening and the graduates were making their way through the main lobby of the hotel towards the ball room where they had the post- graduation party held.
"Mom! Mom!" Naeleen cried once she spotted the aged woman.
"Sweet heart, I'm so proud! Dad went to get some batteries he left in the car for the camera, but guess who else is here? She's seated at our table come."
Naeleen feared the face she was about to confront; on her happiest day too. The short haired brunette stood up, proudly showing off her 7month belly. She wished she could have been happier to see her pregnant friend, but she was just the opposite.
"Nae, you did it! Congrats!"
"No… congratulations to you mom and bride to be! I haven't gotten the wedding invitation yet…unless you guys are already married?" She asked dreadfully.
"No not yet, I'll tell you the date later. Let's celebrate you though Miss Interior Decorator!"
"Well, not quite yet… I do have my internship lined up here though."
"Nae, I have to talk to you." Ronnie insisted with a change in her tone.
"Well, I'm rooming with some girls here in the hotel for the night. I was going to change my shoes so we can go up there. You don't mind do you mom?"
"Oh no, I'll just wait here for your father."
The girls walked over to the elevator, neither one starting to talk just yet.
"It's so nice to finally see you again Nae. What's it been 4-5 years? Sorry I haven't kept in touch as much."
"Oh Ron, you were never really good at that anyways…So what did you want to talk about?"
Naeleen felt cornered and nervous as she unlocked her door. Ronnie waited till she could sit down before she said anything.
"You asked about the date…for our wedding. And well we haven't exactly set a permanent one. Well Brian has…3 times, but I keep pushing it back."
Naeleen took off her shoes and sat on the chair across from Ronnie, terrified to learn Ronnie's reasons why.
"Do you not want to marry him?" She asked nervously.
"No I do…well I think I do."
"What about the baby?
"That just the thing Nae…" Ronnie's eyes began to water. "The baby…isn't Brian's"
"What!" Naeleen jumped up not understanding.
"I know, I know… It's just Brian was working so much, and I was so lonely, our sex life was… non- existent. I got off work early one night and started dancing with this guy who was flirting with me and giving me all this attention… I went home with him that night. A couple of weeks later when I took the home test it was positive and I made sure to have sex with Brian that week."
"So …Oh Ronnie. What are you doing? You're about to ruin his life by basing everything on these lies."
"I know… the thing is, I'm still seeing that guy. He's moving to Washington and he asked me to come with him."
"Oh this just gets better. You are still seeing him? You're engaged for goodness sakes!"
"Once I told Brian I was pregnant he asked me to marry him because it was the responsible thing to do. But he can support us, raise the child like his own. He doesn't have to know."
"So you aren't going with the other guy?"
"No… I don't know. He has a lousy part time job. He says he's ready, but you know how miserable we'll be financially?"
Naeleen's face fell in her hands, not wanting to accept how this all could be happening. She should've felt somewhat happy, that there was a possibility that Brian would learn the truth and leave Ronnie. And that what she had done, Ronnie's secret far outweighed any of her hidden guilt.
"What should I do Naeleen? I'm scared to lose Brian, I don't want to end up alone with a baby."
"Do you love him?"
"Of course I do!"
"So do I. And I wouldn't have cheated on him. You owe it to him to tell him the truth. If you ever want to be a proud wife and mother someday. Let him decide what will be the outcome.
"I'm sorry Naeleen… I know you always liked him."
"Yes I do. Still that didn't stop you from pursuing him did it? I wish I could say that whatever happens I'll be there for you, but It's not what I feel right now. Maybe with time. For now, I'd like to get back down stairs."
Naeleen left Ronnie in the room; she expected to see her back at the party eventually but she never showed. And that was the last time they ever saw each other.
Thursday January 13, 2011
"I know it's irrelevant now but… who were you going to initially ask to the Sadie Hawkins Dance?"
"Are you for real?" Naeleen laughed. "That was ages ago, why would you even bring that up?"
"I don't know… one day it just came up, and Ronnie fessed up saying that she knew you were going to ask me. When she found out that you hadn't yet she quickly beat you to it. She said it like it was something funny, expecting me to have a good laugh with her. But I didn't laugh. So is it true…were you going to ask me?"
"If it was or not, what does it matter now? You're getting married and you're going to be a father; you shouldn't waste any sleep on silly things like that."
"It matters to me…I was hoping you were going to ask me."
"Then why did you agree to go with her?"
"Because she said you already asked the guy you wanted to go with. And then I found it strange that you didn't even show up at the dance. Later she said that you and your date decided to ditch the dance and go out somewhere else."
"Yeah right…I stayed home."
For some stupid reason Brian felt upset. Thinking that if he had gone with Naeleen instead things would have been different. Everything could have been different.
"So why were you hoping for me to ask you?" Naeleen continued.
"I thought it was extremely obvious…"
Naeleen didn't know what to feel. Was she about to hear what she had so longed to for the past twelve something years?
"Naeleen, I've liked you since the day I met you. I never made any bold moves because I was sure you didn't feel the same way and that you only saw me as a friend. Besides you never said anything against Ronnie and I dating..."
"How could I, she was my only best friend…I don't think it is right to be talking about this. I should probably get back anyway."
After Brian offered to pay for their drinks he escorted her back to her building. They both walked quietly, reflecting on the last half hour.
"Leena I'm sorry, I was out of line. I shouldn't have said that, I just wanted to see for myself if it was true or not. But it doesn't matter…like you said."
They reached the main entrance again. But Brian didn't want to leave until he was sure that Leena was okay and that she would at least say something.
"Please say something Leena."
"Did you really come here on business?"
Brian looked down ashamed. "No. There's no case here."
"And you came all the way just to find out if I was going to ask you to a dance…so that then you would finally tell me that you liked me?"
He shook his head yes. "I never stopped."
Naeleen marched right up to him. He wasn't sure if she was about to slap him. But she grabbed his face to bring their lips together into a deep yet forceful kiss. Brian's eyes shot wide open but it was only a matter of seconds before he seized the moment by kissing her back with all that he had. 12 years they had wasted to finally have this moment that didn't even belong to them. Having realized the wrong she was doing she quickly pulled away.
"I have wanted to do that for so long..." Brian confessed, but was brokenhearted once he saw Naeleen's tears.
"I shouldn't have done that. No matter how long I've wanted it too. You should leave."
"I can't leave now."
"Then I will." She turned around to head inside.
"I don't think the baby is mine!" He cried.
Naeleen turned around, disgusted. "What?"
"It doesn't make sense I know, but the timing just doesn't add up."
"How dare you Brian! I'm sorry I shouldn't have kissed you, but you should go home to your family."
Saturday March 9, 2013
"So I think you've officially unpacked everything. Oh wait what about those boxes over there.?" Ever asked.
"Oh that's just old stuff; pictures, and sentimental junk."
"That doesn't sound interesting…" Ever said sarcastically and charged over to the box. "Oh look at you and your bright orange hair."
Naeleen made faces as she continued to rearrange her reading chair and light placements.
"This is such a great place, I can't believe they gave it to us for that cheap." Naeleen said amazed.
"Well believe it! …Oh I remember this band." She walked over to the stereo to play the cd.
When Naeleen heard the beginning versus to that song she quickly fell into a trance. A trance that led her down a trail of memories both good and bad. She hadn't heard from either of them, but was sure that they had worked it out somehow. Otherwise she would have heard back from Brian long ago. She remembered this song specifically; shed play it every time her heart hurt from what Ronnie had done or what Brian didn't do. She sat down to hear the lyrics one last time; it was time to say goodbye to the cd and to the past.
I wonder how it's going to be
When you don't know me
How's it going to be
When you're sure I'm not there
How's it going to be
When there's no one there to talk to
Between you and me
Cause I don't care
How's it going to be
"I love that song, I don't know why." Ever sighed.
"Do me a favor and toss it."
"It hurts too much to listen to it. And if I know I still have it around I'll be too tempted to play it again."
"Okay… So are you excited for your new client?"
"Ahhh, yes. It's a new office building and they want me to decorate it right away, so that they can officially open the doors by mid-March."
"Wow. Lucky! I'm so happy for you."
"This will be my first official client, on my own. I'm ready!"
Monday March 11, 2013
"Hi Naeleen, it's so great to finally meet you! I feel like we've become so acquainted over the phone…"
"Oh Meagan, I can't tell you how excited I am to show you my plans for this floor…." She said enthusiastically.
"Well I've set up the conference room with some coffee and sweets. Mr. Cooper should be with us momentarily."
"Is he the only one who will be meeting with us?"
"No he is the co-owner, the head honcho is already waiting inside."
"Oh wonderful, I'll go make a first impression."
Meagan showed her to the room and knocked on the door to inform her boss of Naeleen's arrival.
"Good Morning, I'm so glad to meet you …"
Naeleen breath grew short. The last person she ever expected to see again, was now standing right before her with the brightest smile imaginable.
"Thank You Meagan… Well surprise, surprise. I told you you would decorate my office someday." He said proudly.
"This is all yours?" Naeleen was in shock.
"Yes, I wanted to open my own firm and partnered with my good colleague and finally did it. We both loved the idea of having our office in New York."
"So is it a coincidence that I'm standing here or not?" She asked skeptically.
"No it's no coincidence. I purposefully sought for you."
"Wow, Brian. I don't know what to say… Is Mr. Cooper really joining us? Is this even a real?"
"Oh yes, I fully intend on contracting your services but first I hoped that we could talk. My partner will be here in a while so that gives us plenty of time."
"Okay. Well first of all it's really great to see you, and congratulations!"
"Thank you… oh it's so good to see you too! How have you been?"
Brian began asking questions to which Naeleen happily answered how well things have turned out for her with her new place and all. Brushing over light topics of conversation, Naeleen couldn't help notice his bare finger, and when the moment was right she would be fully inclined to ask him about it.
"So how's Ron doing?" She asked with a huge lump in her throat.
"Well, last I heard from her, last year, she was doing well…with Rick and Leanne."
"Yes, her daughter."
"So she went with him?"
"They're in Washington. Now I know there's been a huge stain in our past. But the last thing she said was how much she regretted what she had done to the both of us. She wants to apologize but is too afraid to contact you." Brian explained.
"I pity her… I can't imagine living a life with so many lies and selfishness. Did you forgive her?"
"I did eventually. Last year was pretty hard; finding out that I was right on not being the father… and then cancelling all the wedding plans. But the worst part was not knowing or being able to talk to you."
"But this year is looking better… You have your own company! Soon you will have a gorgeous floor by the help of yours truly…"
"And there is something else I want…"
Naeleen was caught off guard. She wasn't sure if she was ready for what he was possibly about to say. The nervousness in his eyes and hesitation proved that it wasn't work related.
"I want a chance…"
"Brian, what are you doing?" Naeleen shook her head.
"I want a chance to for us to start over, or continue or begin a chapter…."
"You don't even know if I'm seeing someone…or if I'm over you."
"Are you seeing someone?
"No, but if I was would I still get this job?"
"Of course, this has nothing to do with your job. You are decorating our office and that's that."
"Okay… I thought you were bribing me for a minute there." Naeleen grinned.
"Are you over me?" Brian asked seriously.
"Brian, there's just so much to erase and the history…"
"Are you over me?"
Naeleen was staring at the folders in front of her. She asked her self the same question. Her mind said yes but her heart said…
"I came here for you Naeleen. I know there was a lot of risk involved, but it's not fair that I was in a relationship for so many years while always wondering about you. So will you take this chance with me… we can take it slow and see where it goes." Brian pleaded.
"And where are you hoping for this to go?"
Brian saw her walls break down and immediately reacted by flinging off his chair and kneeling before her. His eyes were so intense and almost watered up.
"I promise you, I will take this as far as you will let me…but know, right now…I plan on giving you everything. My heart, my love, protection, safety, security … you can have it all."
"And what do you want?"
"All I want is you…finally. All I want is you."
Naeleen smiled at his words. This day was the best day of her life. There was a lot of introduction to their love story but what a love story there's would turn out to be.
"You know, what's your partner going to think when he walks in and finds you kneeling on the floor in your suit before some random girl?"
"He will probably call me a fool, and I guess I might look silly but I don't care. Because I'm still waiting for her answer…" Brian smiled.
"Oh well, this girl says yes…let's give it a shot."
Brian stood up but not before sealing their agreement with a quick sweet kiss. What he thought would be a quick steal ended up with Naeleen pulling his neck back down for a greater kiss.
"Oh great looks like you made quick friends with our decorator." said Mr. Cooper as he walked in.
Naeleen shot up blushing right on the spot.
Brian reached over and grabbed her hand in reassurance.
"it's ok…he knows my whole life's story.; even about you." He said calmly.
Naeleen stared at him and his partner and took a deep breathe.
"So are we ready to begin?"