Alyssa stood at the corner of 53rd street and Fifth Avenue, attempting to hail a cab for almost five minutes before one finally slowed to a stop in front of her.
“About time.” She muttered to herself. She hopped into the passenger side back seat and shut the door when the other door swung open and he sat down next to her.
“Get out!” She yelled.
“Come on, we can share.” “Get out. Get out, now!” “We’re both heading downtown and it’s starting to rain. You’re going to be waiting a long time for another one.”
“Oh, am I? Well, I’m not getting out.”
In his thick Middle Eastern accent, the cabbie yelled at them to make up their minds or find another cab. He gave the cabbie both their addresses and the driver made his way into the midtown traffic heading downtown. They both stared out of their respective window for a couple minutes before he finally spoke.
“I don’t understand what your problem is. You need to lighten up, sweetie.”
“Do not call me sweetie. I am not your sweetie.”
“Why haven’t you returned my calls?”
“You know damn well why.” She then turned to him and asked, “Did you know I would be there tonight?”
“No. Honestly, I had no idea you’d be at the party.” He paused, then said with a grin, “Well, that’s not exactly true. I thought you might be. But did you not think I was invited? Brad is the one who introduced us…”
“After what happened in Aruba, I thought he would know better than to invite us to the same event.”
“Not his fault, he doesn’t know what happened.”
“Really? You failed to mention what an ass you were? I’m shocked.”
“He’s known me long enough to assume making an ass of myself would be a given. Listen, you’re friends with his wife, I’ve been friends with him since college, you should assume there’s going to be times we run into each other. Either Rachel failed to mention my asininity to him or she told him and he ignored her.”
“I didn’t tell her about it.”
They sat in silence for another few minutes.
He let out a sigh. “I’ll admit it; the only reason I showed up tonight was the possibility that I might see you.” With a slight grin he asked, “It really didn’t cross your mind that we might run into each other?”
Alyssa didn’t answer him, nor did she comment on his admission. For all she knew he hadn’t even given her a second thought. After the way he treated her in Aruba, the way he made her find her way home from the airport after their flight back to New York, there was no doubt in her mind that he thought little of her.
“Look, sweet…,” he caught her glare, “Alyssa, I was under a lot of stress…”
“You’re always under a lot of stress.” The cab pulled up in front of her apartment building. “I have to go.” She began to hand the cabbie some money when he grabbed her hand.
“Don’t go yet.”
She wanted to tell him to let go but she couldn’t form the words.
“Meet me for a drink tomorrow night.”
“I have plans.” “Change them. I want to talk.”
“I have nothing to say,” she responded.
“I don’t blame you.” He released her hand and she caught him looking back at her, imploringly.
She opened the door and swung her legs out. “I can’t do this again,” she stated before shutting the door and marching towards her apartment building.
Brad and Rachel
“Who were you talking to earlier?” Rachel asked as she slipped out of her skirt.
“I was talking to a lot of people tonight. Care to elaborate?” Brad responded.
“The short, pretty brunette in the blue dress. You sat in the corner with her for a while.”
“Do you mean Maggie? My boss?”
“Was that Maggie? Oh, I guess you never bothered to introduce us.”
“You’ve met her. Several times, Rachel.”
“I had no idea she was going to be here. Some notice would have been nice.”
“She wasn’t sure she could come until last minute.”
“Not sure why you invited her in the first place.”
“Rae,” Brad began to defend himself, but it was no use. Rachel had already shut herself in the bathroom.
He didn’t know what it would take to convince Rachel there was nothing, nor had there ever been, anything between he and Maggie. Not that the possibility hadn’t crossed his mind. After all, as Rachel mentioned, Maggie is an attractive woman. Beautiful, really. But not only was she his boss, he still loved Rachel and despite the hell they’d been through the past year. He wouldn’t dream of jeopardizing their marriage.
Rachel came out of the bathroom wearing the short lilac nightgown that he always found so sexy on her. He remembered buying it years ago, when things were so much different between them.
“Are you coming to my presentation tomorrow? She asked while slipping into bed.
She stopped adjusting herself long enough to glare at him and ask, “Are you kidding me? The one I’m giving at the conference tomorrow morning. The one I’ve been preparing for the past two weeks. What do you think I’ve been working on?”
“You never told me anything. You never mentioned a presentation or a conference.”
“My God, Brad. Where have you been, lately? I’ve been talking about this for weeks.”
“To me? Because I think I’d have remembered you talking at a conference. When and where is it? I’ll be there.”
“Never mind. You’ll probably forget, anyway.” Rachel shut off the light and lay down with her back toward him.
Brad never remembered anything important to her. This was the biggest conference of the year within her industry with thousands attending and she was one of the speakers. The very first time she’d been invited to speak, and Brad forgets?
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