New York Love Affair Ch. 02byGuadalupeCalderon©
I twirled my pen over and over again. Although I knew I was supposed to be filling out the stack of paper that seemed to continue getting higher in the corner of desk, my mind had yet again drifted back to her. I didn't know how to feel. I was angered that she had tossed me aside this easily and had yet to return my calls after a week. My mind wrapped around our last night together, and the intensity behind it.
There was a passion in it that I had yet to have with anyone else. I had been more ready to release than any other time I'd been with a woman. There was a glisten in her eyes that was filled with more than need and want, but something more innocent. It was almost like she was teaching me a new language and I had yet to learn the word that her eyes were screaming to me. This moment like many others, as my mind reflected that pure moment I could feel the burn in my groin. My eyes shut tightly together as I leaned back in my office chair and sighed.
I didn't know whether to hate her for putting me through this grief or to appreciate her stubbornness. I eyed my office door. Many of my coworkers had been trying their best to avoid me, for I wasn't in the best of moods, not that I usually am in the most cheer. My palm grasped my tool and my eyes shut again. I could feel all of the tension that I had carried around all run to the bottom half of my body as I lie restless like a corpse, my palm massaging deep into my groin. How I wished that my fingers were instead grabbing those lovely locs that they had once ran through. Her lips, they were full yet petite as if cupid had carved them with his bow. My grasp tightened even harder when I remembered her plea for me not to go. Last, I thought of that look one more time before I let out a long groan. Her name escaped my lips.
"Fuck!" I snapped under my breath when I saw the stain beginning to emerge on my slacks. I retrieved the emergency pair I had contained in the closet. Just when I sat back down from changing, the temp announced on the intercom in my office that my boss would be entering.
"Well if it isn't John Boy!" his voice irritated me even more than normal.
"I haven't heard much from you this week. You must not be feeling too well," he suggested.
"Yea," I said almost sarcastically.
"I hope it doesn't last too long, would hate for you not to be here when the new position is announced."
I snapped my pen in half under the desk. If he mentioned that damn position one more time I could promise I would go on a rampage.
"Yeah I would just hate that," I mumbled through clenched teeth.
"Just came to give you some files, but I think you may need the day off," he insinuated.
"You think so?"
"Yeah, I don't want whatever you have to spread."
"No sir, wouldn't want that." I grabbed my briefcase to leave.
Lauren stared at me blankly as I slammed my office door. I just had to heartlessly fire fifteen more employees this week, fifteen more hard workers, who just happened to be selected. When my boss gave me a hearty pat on the shoulder before my lunch break, after advising me to do this I knew not only did I need to go home, but as soon as I got outside I took a long drag of two cigarettes back to back, something I haven't done since my youth.
My sister Melanie doesn't visit my Grandmother too often. She only comes in the times she is absolutely desperate for a place to crash. Based upon the pattern of men that she dates they'll get what they want from her, and have a fun time, but once the fun and games are over, she always ends up here with Abuela making her a fresh torta with a cup of homemade hot chocolate, that taste nothing like the packaged powder crap that the stores sell. Unlike most occasions her new lover had to 'just work out some things with child support with his ex', which gave Melanie sometime to burn until he was finished in the later evening.
Outside of my early childhood, I never had much times to just talk to her without being caught up in one of her scandals my older sister besides tonight. Today as soon as I got off, I didn't just come home to Abuela yelling at the television as she watched her scheduled telenovelas, but there was some mambo music playing loudly. I almost turned back around and walked out, because I assumed that my grandmother was there with her boyfriend, and I wanted to avoid seeing anything that would ruin how I viewed her, but then I noticed that the other voice I heard in the room was feminine. When I walked further, I realized that Abuela wasn't playing hanky panky, but was actually dancing and laughing with Melanie.
"Oye Reinita," Melanie greeted between giggles.
"Hey," I greeted as I walked past them to the kitchen. Dinner hadn't been started. I walked over to the refrigerator, knowing that I would have to be the one to put something together for the night. Just my luck, an empty fridge.
"Ama, you didn't stop by the store?"
"Eh, ahora no tengo dinero," I have no money. Abuela stated while not messing up her steps.
"Don't stress it Reina, we can stop by the store before I leave." Melanie suggested.
The song began to fade and Melanie broke her stride to go over and turn the radio down.
"My shoes are by the door, let's go. Ama will you be fine with going to mass all by yourself today?"
Abuela through a hand at us while, and mumbled how she'd be fine.
We walked swiftly down the next few blocks to the store. I decided to make a simple dish that contained just rice, peas, and chicken although Melanie insisted that she should pay for the groceries, but how could I accept the offer when I knew that her current boyfriend gave her an allowance like some little kid.
"So who's this guy Ama has been telling me about.?" She finally spoke up.
"Come on don't play dumb. She told me he calls for you daily, and just last week he took you out.
"He's just a kind guy who gave me a ride home."
" A ride or a ride?" Melanie teased.
" Mios Reina have you even given up your goods yet?" she laughed.
"Shh... You're speaking so loud," I hushed.
"Well, have you?" she whispered
"No, que asco!"
"Just asking. From the sounds of it, you must've made some impression though," she said suspiciously.
"P-pues, quizas," I stuttered. 'W-well perhaps.'
I quickly hurried inside of the store. When I turned to glance at my sister, I saw her jaw had dropped.
"You're keeping something out," she accused.
"Que! No I am not."
"Mentirosa. You were always a bad liar Reina. You always start to stutter and give short responses. Dime. Tell me what happened."
The store was pretty empty, but still decided to whisper in her ear about the events that had transpired that one night. When I finished my tale Melanie looked shocked.
"Carray on the first date? Haha I always knew we were related. You had to inherit some traits from Mama."
"Yo no se. I'm embarrassed that I even let that happen."
"And that's why you won't return his calls?"
"I mean he's a nice guy and all, but—"
"Chinga! Reina you worry too much, if not with work with school, and if not with those two, with Abuela. I think you need to do this and just have some fun for a chance. Sometimes I worry that you'll burn yourself out or turn to a prune or something."
I didn't respond. We'd finished gathering all of our groceries for the night made our way to the counter. The cashier was a young Middle Eastern guy. Melanie took one glance at him with her glistening green eyes and leaned over the counter and tossed her hair to the side, so that it rested on her shoulder. The man took glances between her and the register as he rung up our items. After everything was paid for the total was half of what it should have been. Before we exited he winked at her.
"Melanie sometimes I wish that I had the magic you and Mama have over men," I sighed.
"Oooh but you do.."
It was my third time passing her building. No doubt there was no way me telling my chauffer to round the block over and over looked good on my part. For the people out looking in, it most likely looked as if there was going to be a shootout, and for my chauffer it may have seemed as if I was just testing his patience, and running up his gas. By the sixth time passing Reina's home, I considered maybe I'm simply just crazy. I'd never been so angry at a woman, yet desiring her to such an extent. She's making me crazy.
"Hey Edy, I need you to make a stop in Maspeth, Queens."
After a while of driving, we finally pulled up outside of the butcher shop. You could already smell the rotten meat from outside. I took no time in getting out and getting inside, giving the driver the strict instructions of waiting for me. When I opened the door a bell ringed to signal that a customer had entered.
"Hey Beauty, where's the beast?" I teased Ginger, the owner's wife who walked out from around the back of the shop.
"Hello, John. He's out back, with Patrick unloading some of the new stock. I'm sure he wouldn't mind if you went back to greet 'em," Ginger replied cheerily, while placing out a fresh platter of pastries for sale.
I started to walk past the counter on to the back where Leon was located, before Ginger stopped me.
"Here, take one" she demanded as she passed me a fresh crispy baked good, "you're getting mighty thin. We need to find you a woman to thicken you up."
I smiled when I remembered how Reina slipped me a napkin of her grandmother's cooking.
In the back was something, most people living in a big city don't get to experience—a true butcher shop. There was blood across the floor, dried and fresh alike. The aroma was no more pleasant then sniffing your own infection. Out back I noticed Patrick and his father unloading a delivery truck. There was no denying that Patrick was Leon's son, beside his mother's strawberry blonde hair he was the spitting image of his father. I lit a cigarette and stood aside and watched while they worked to get the large shipments down the wedge. As I listened to the guidance given to Patrick by his old man, I felt a deep heat envelope my body. It was a feeling that wasn't foreign to me—envy.
When it comes to making my career my entire life, I am guilty as charged. Then again, no matter how nice my home may be too many, there's nothing too special about coming home to a place that is completely empty. One of the worst things I can think about it is the lack of home cooked meals. Although my mother didn't so much as lift a pot back home I remember my nanny use to make every single meal from scratch, and I remember the days when I would come home from a long day at school to be greeted with a warm welcoming aroma that actually defined home.
Something not one penny of the money I had could truly buy me is a wife that loved me unconditionally like Ginger. Both she and Leon went through a lot of stress putting everything they had in this butcher shop and through it all they look at each other is still the same as newlyweds. Nor would I be capable to raise a son the way Leon has, because my father wasn't much of a model to reflect on.
"Hey Big Guy!" Leon slapped my shoulder after plopping the box down in the corner." What brings us a visit from Mr. Bigshot today?"
"You guys have the best soda bread in all of New York," I gestured at the roll in my fist, "so I thought I'd stop by before I went off to wrap the night up at the office."
He studied me for a moment.
"Patrick, go grab us some drinks why don't 'cha."
As soon as his son scurried off, I saw a smirk twitch in the corner of his lip.
"It's a girl isn't it?"
My brow rose. "What would make you say that?"
"Just taking a look atcha. All I need to figure out is who," he stated simply. "Have I met her?"
I looked away.
"I may not know everything bout ya', but guessing from the bags under your eyes and the four o'clock shadow forming, you've been working even longer at that office to keep your mind busy, and don't tell me it's just been hectic there lately, because everything about you reeks of lovesickness," he chuckled.
"Just because you're married you think you can sense everyone in love?" I scoffed.
"It's like how people who have been in the military can tell other people who have been in the military just because they have been around it for so long..hmm...Can I take a wild guess at who it may be?"
"That girl who was under your arm at the pub the other night, ain't it?"
Before I could protest he tugged at my tie that was placed on the wrong way, so that the seam was exposed.
"That mot of yours surely has you wrapped tightly around her fingers," he implied. "You weren't even drunk and I saw you dance. Ha. No broad you've ever escorted to the pub has yet to convince you to go through with that."
I decided that there was nothing worth losing in talking.
"Leon... Have you ever been so drawn to a woman that it begins to dictate how you think?"
Leon laughed aloud to himself, before he realized I wasn't laughing with him.
"Don't tell me you are serious lad!" he slapped my shoulder, something I'm beginning to notice he always does to lighten the mood. When I didn't respond I could see the conversation didn't make him comfortable.
The only thing I could think to say is, "She's not like any other woman I'm around."
"Well obviously, you can see that just from looking at the lass. She must've given you sometime that night?" he inquired.
The awkward moment that was bound to occur again was postponed when Patrick returned with two bottles of malt.
"Thanks son," Leon stated and then took a swig of the bottle handed to him. And then the inevitable silence resumed.
"Patrick, go help your mother in the shop," was all of the hint he need to leave the conversation.
"Continue, what was she like?" I could tell I grabbed his attention, for he even looked around to make sure his wife wasn't lurking anywhere around.
"I don't know," I answered.
"What do you mean you don't know?!"
"We didn't really..." my voice faded.
"Didn't really WHAT? Get on with it," he pushed.
"I mean we kissed, and well she gave me a..." I rubbed my fingers across my mouth, and Leon automatically nodded in understanding.
"That's all?" he asked.
"Yeah, when I got up in the morning, she was gone."
"So was she married? Boyfriend?" Leon questioned as he took another gulp from the bottle.
I shook my head.
"Not that I know of... She was a virgin," I said close to a whisper.
He began coughing on the malt.
"A what?" he began coughing uncontrollably and once it began to fade out of his system, he began to laugh hysterically.
"I must say, I was sitting here thinking that she was really a he or something," he wiped the tears forming at the crevices of his eyes from laughing so hard, "but a virgin, wow, so what are you going to do?"
For the first time, my anger started to arise, and I threw the glass bottle against the wall.
"I don't know, I mean, I've been trying to contact her, but she hasn't been returning my calls, and every time her grandmother answers, she says what I assume is that she's at work or some bullshit."
"She didn't even give you some tail, and you still call the next morning. You must really like her."
"Don't listen to my husband," Ginger stated while stepping out from the back door that led to the alley. We probably wouldn't have ever noticed her, because our view was blocked by the truck that was being unloaded earlier.
"How long have you been there dear?" Leon questioned surprised.
"Long enough," she replied matter of factly.
"I just don't get it. No woman has ever given me this problem before." I rubbed my temple.
"All of this trouble over a blowjob—" Leon started before his wife cut him short.
"Eh-hm, last I remembered Leon, you wouldn't leave me alone until gave you some time of day," she shot.
"Really now?" I instigated. This made me smile.
"Yeah, the first time I met him, I was courting another fellow, but that didn't keep Leon from confronting me with some of the craziest pick-up lines," she laughed as she remembered her first encounter with her husband.
"I gotta hear this," Patrick emerged from the door and turned a crate upside-down in order to sit while he heard the tale.
"Oh come on now Ginger, don't bore them with this old story," Leon was turning bright red.
"That was the funny thing, they weren't even entertaining, like here's one I'll never forget, I was walking home after getting some groceries, and he stopped me, and said 'Did you happen to drop this?' and held up a flower."
"But guys give women flowers all of the time. Hell we should've opened a florist shop , we'd really rack in some money," Leon cut in.
"No but what made it so awful, is he didn't even buy the flower ," Ginger continued.
"Don't tell me he picked it from the ground," Patrick laughed.
"Even worse, he picked it from my neighbor's window plant, and it had a spider on it, so when he realized that, I didn't even get a chance to grab it, before he dropped it and started screaming and running away like a little lass. Comes to find out later, that he was allergic! Broke out in rashes and hives all over! "
"Well, in the end I did catch ya'. You visited me at home until I recovered," he stated.
"Wow, how old were you all, twelve?" I chuckled.
"No he was twenty-two," she informed.
We all began to laugh.
"Are you serious?" Patrick croaked between each laugh.
"See John, this is why you should appreciate being single, because your family just gangs up on ya'," Leon said angrily.
"Oh relax, honey, you got me in the end," Ginger wrapped her arms around him and pecked his cheek.
"But my point is, John, as sad as Leon's advances were, he ended up being the love of my life, so you should try stop by today, if she's not home, than maybe she missed out on something good, but a little persistence doesn't harm anyone."
I just finished applying a glistening clear polish over the ruby red polish on her pinky finger. That was the last of the ten.
"Gosh Reina sometimes I forget you are an artist," she complimented as she examined her finger nails. "When can I make my next appointment?
I looked at her and laughed knowing that this wouldn't last long. Whoever she'd have parading on her arm would pay for her to look nice on their shoulder, so there would be no need to have me paint her nails.
"So are you going to keep your nails like that or are you going to remove it as soon as I leave?" Melanie asked gesturing to the coral colored tint on my nails. I smiled for I was thinking the same thing about her.
Before I could get the words "I love it sis," out of my mouth her phone started to ring. She held her finger out to signal to give her moment.
"Hey Papi! Yeah I can do that. Love ya'!" She clicked the phone shut.
"Well Reinita it's about that time..." Melanie got up and started to gather her things.
"Wait the chickens about done, and I just have to mix it with the rice," I stood up to go after her.
It's okay sweetheart , I think he's taking me out , but it smells good." With that said she gave me a quick peck on the cheek and was out of the door.
I shrugged it off, and went into the kitchen to finish preparing supper.
Everything was mixed nicely and warming on the stove. I sighed. Although I cooked a generous amount, I'd probably be eating alone since Abuela would most likely be eating at the church while she was out at mass tonight.
Before I could get a chance to sit back down the doorbell rang.
"What did you leave this time Mel!" I questioned before while I began to unlatch the locks. When I opened the door my heart skipped a beat...It wasn't Mel.
"Oh hey," I whispered softly.