Revisiting My PastbySlirpuff©
I felt the sting immediately, and the heat, well, that came shortly thereafter from her slap. I hadn't expected it otherwise I could have easily blocked it or at least grabbed her hand. Rubbing my left cheek I felt a raised line developing. "Shit, she must have gotten me with one of her fingernails," I said, looking at the drops of blood on my fingertips. This was the price I was paying for being a total idiot and thinking with my dick instead of my head.
"I am not a whore!" Kelly screamed at me, and probably heard by everyone else within earshot.
"You're right, I stand corrected. A whore charges, you merely spread your legs and give it away for free," I replied, turning and walking away. I didn't have any physical proof that she'd gone to bed with anyone; it's just that her actions of late screamed out that she had. I guess I'd finally gotten tired of playing her stupid ass games not to mention her lying to me every chance she got.
"Steve, you can't just walk in here, call me a slut, and leave," she yelled.
Everyone around us stopped what they were doing and started watching us. But, yes, I could, and I did. "As they say, if the shoe fits and I know it does, then you are a slut," I chided her, turning towards the front door of the club to walk out. Everyone continued gawking at the two of us.
You see, Kelly was my girlfriend or ex-girlfriend as it stands now. We were supposed to have been exclusive, but I guess her and my interpretation of exclusiveness were totally different. I wasn't supposed to see or go out with any other girl, but those restrictions didn't apply to her. Her going out to lunches, dinners, and social functions without me only compounded my need to end this farce of a relationship that never should have happened in the first place.
When Kelly said she had to work late Friday due to a marketing meeting, I wasn't happy but understood—business is business. But when I went to a local dance club with my best friend David, and saw Kelly on the dance floor bumping and grinding with someone rather than being at her 'meeting,' I reached my breaking point. Or, as David said, I finally smartened up and did something intelligent for a change.
Unlike many of those other stories you read, I'm not a six foot four, two hundred and forty pound hunk with a ripped six-pack, or a war tested Marine who could kick the shit out of anyone with his martial arts skills. Nope, I am five foot ten in my stocking feet and just under a hundred and seventy pounds. My last physical fight was when I was a junior in high school and even then I got my ass kicked. I wasn't a fighter then, and I sure as hell wasn't one now. What I am is a realist. The guy she was with tonight could probably have demolished me without breaking so much as a sweat, and Kelly wasn't worth getting messed up over. So I just said what I needed to say to get back at her and walked out with as much self-dignity as I could muster.
"Real smooth, Steve, you're just lucky that ape didn't take you apart," David said, catching up to me just outside the front door.
"Why would he? All that would have happened, is that he'd probably hurt his hands beating the shit out of me, and for what? He's already got my girl so what would be the point?"
"Well, you got your two minutes of fame telling Kelly off and hopefully embarrassing her, maybe a little anyway."
"Don't count on it. Kelly dances to Kelly's drummer. I'm just tired of all her crap—way too much drama for me. A relationship shouldn't be this difficult, except with her is was." I immediately thought of what I had previously given up and felt bad for the umpteenth time.
Why we were ever an item or why she even stuck around this long is still a mystery. More than one person made it be known that Kelly was way out of my league, and I should thank my lucky stars that she was even going out with me. Being a virtual knockout and having a great body to boot she liked to use people, but I was blind to that until it was too late. She hooked me, reeled me in, and left me to flop around on the bottom of the boat while she watched me gasping for air. Eventually she'd pick me up, put me back in the water, only to hook me again later. After a while, even an idiot smartens up. The only reason I could fathom she stayed was because to her I was a challenge, an anomaly of sorts because I wasn't totally infatuated with her. When we met I currently had a girlfriend. But in the end I had what most of the guys wanted, everyone that is, but me.
After my scene with Kelly I didn't go out and get drunk, burn all the clothes she'd left at my apartment, or even plot some elaborate revenge. I did nothing, nothing at all. However, I did lament breaking up with my old girlfriend to start dating Kelly. Or let me rephrase that—when Angie dumped me after she found out about Kelly.
Angie and I had been dating on and off for about seven or eight months. We'd known each other a lot longer but had recently moved from acquaintances to that of dating and finally to girlfriend, boyfriend. She had short, black, curly hair, was all of five foot four, and just slightly on the plump side. But Angie had the most beautiful dark eyes that said things to me only a lover could. The thing that drew us together at first was we both enjoyed doing a lot of the same activities.
"Steve, since we're doing the same things anyway, wouldn't it be a lot nicer to do them together?" It made perfect sense.
We started off slow but after a month or so I picked up the pace. We both worked at Contac Corporation, a software service company, she in technical services and me in materials management. Angie had been there for just under five years and was completely adept in her field of expertise. She wasn't your normal computer geek or gamer. She could communicate and relate to people on all levels, that's what made her so popular and what first caused me to notice her.
Even though the same company employed us both, she worked on one side of town and I on the other. I only saw her at meetings or company outings. When I was having software issues they sent her over to fix my problem. Two days later we were exchanging e-mails and a week later we ran into each other at the movies. After that we just gravitated towards one another and started going to functions and places outside of work together. Eventually it was assumed we were a couple by everyone at work, and finally by the two of us.
It was easy being with Angie. We went from casual dating to spending most weekends or a part of most weekends together doing the things we both liked to do, or sometimes nothing at all.
"What do you want to do tonight?"
"I don't know, what do you want to do?" was my usual reply. Some-times we agreed and other times, let's just say we spent the evening under the covers. No pressure, no expectations, just a lot mutual love and satisfaction. We'd moved on from the initial lust stage to a comfortable stage where our lives went on, it's just that they went on together. Then I screwed the whole thing up.
My real passion outside of work was playing in the kitchen. I considered myself somewhat of an amateur chef. It helped that some of my best friends were professional chefs in one restaurant or another in town.
Once a year, a few head chefs would put on an eight-course meal with all the profits going directly to the Children's Wish Foundation. It was an exclusive event and the tickets were well above what I could afford. However, this year I lucked out. The owner of the restaurant where David worked had something come up unexpectedly and had given David his two tickets. Being my best friend and knowing how much I wanted to go, he gave me first crack at the tickets.
"Steve, I'm going to make your day," he said over the phone a week before the event. "How would you like to go to this year's Chefs' Gala and best of all, free of charge?"
I thought he was screwing with me but when he said he had two tickets, I was literally walking on air.
"Steve, remember it's formal, and," he continued, "you're on your own when the silent auction starts." I didn't care about that portion of it— just going to the dinner would make my year.
Angie was ecstatic. "Now I'll have another place to wear that formal dress I bought last year." With her, it was all about who was going to wear what and how it looked. "We'll need to have pictures taken there, so I'm going to make sure I get my hair done that afternoon." Thus began her plans for the evening. Me? I just wanted to see a copy of the evening menu, but that was a closely guarded secret.
Saturday morning I got a call from Angie.
Sounding awful she told me her dismal news. "Steve, I hate to do this to you, but I'm not going to be able to go tonight. I think I've got the flu or something. I've been up all night sick. I'm so sorry." That pronouncement was followed by a hacking cough.
"Angie, go back to bed and don't worry about it. Just get better, okay?" My mind started reeling. I had to figure out what to do next.
"But what are you going to do with the other ticket?"
"Don't worry, I'll find someone to go with me."
That was easier said then done. All my friends were either busy or didn't have a tux or formal dress on hand to wear on such short notice. By four o'clock I'd run out of friends and options. I made the decision to go by myself and make the best of it. Maybe with two tickets I could bring home a doggie bag? I laughed at that notion.
I was standing outside the restaurant waiting to get in when I observed two women talking to the maitre d' who was checking the people in.
"I'm sorry miss, this event has been sold out for at least two months," he informed the two of them.
"Well, Connie, why don't you go in and have fun, make sure you eat enough for both of us," she laughed. "I'll see you later on this weekend." Her friend waved goodbye and walked into the banquet hall. If I hadn't been such a nice guy, I probably would have been a lot better off, but hell, I had an extra ticket that would have otherwise gone to waste.
"Excuse me," I said, walking up to the cute brunette. "Are you looking for a ticket to get in?" She sized me up before answering.
"I was until they told me it was sold out." At about five foot nine in her heels she was looking me right in the eye.
"As a matter of fact, I just happen to have an extra ticket, and if you're not opposed to sitting next to me at dinner, it's all yours."
"Yeah right, what's the catch? I suppose you'll want to sleep with me for the price of the ticket?" Was her indignant reply.
"Sorry to disappoint you, but no. However, if you don't use it, the seat next to me will be left empty, and I'd hate to see that happen. But, since you don't want the ticket..." That was all I got out before she wrapped her arm around mine, told me her name was Kelly, and I was now her official date for the evening.
All six tables were filled. The master of ceremonies welcomed us and said we were in for a real treat, adding that the menu crossed all taste bud lines, and we were sure to enjoy the evening.
"After the dinner there will be a silent auction to raise additional money for the Children's Wish Foundation. All the items have been graciously donated so the entire amount will go to the kids, please bid with that in mind." The evening started.
We talked during the courses. I did my best to make more than just small talk, explaining each dish in detail to her. I found out she had just broken up with her boyfriend, whom she called a scum sucking cheating asshole. When I smiled and asked how she really felt about him she laughed. I was having a great time.
In between the fourth and fifth courses, which were the main dinner entrees, the music started up.
"Steve, do you dance?"
"As a matter of fact, I do," I replied, getting to my feet taking her hand.
"Good, my last boyfriend said dancing was for pusses."
We were the first couple on the floor, but after the song got going, three other couples joined us. The music was soft, the dancing was slow, and she felt wonderful in my arms. A few minutes later we were back at the table eating again.
With a different wine served with each course, I made sure I only drank a little of each, knowing I needed to get home in one piece. Kelly, on the other hand, was finishing off each glass no matter what was in it.
"You should go easy on the vino," I told her.
"Don't worry, Connie drove here tonight, so I can really kick back and enjoy myself." Good thing because she was starting to get tipsy.
Dessert was some type of chocolate cake soufflé or a combination of the two. It was decadent, rich and sweet, and all but melted in your mouth.
"Oh my God, this is so good," Kelly said, sighing and inhaling her piece, then eyeing mine. "I've never in my entire life had a meal like this," she declared, finally putting her fork down. "It's going to take me a week at the gym to get rid of the pounds I've put on tonight."
"What extra pounds? You look great," I said, complimenting her for the first time.
"Well, aren't you sweet?" she purred, reaching over and giving me a peck on the lips, which took me by surprise.
After dinner we had a choice of eight different coffees, various teas, or glasses of ice wine. I ordered a cappuccino while Kelly chose the ice wine.
The wine was served at a temperature just above freezing. When I explained to her that the grapes are picked off the vines after they have been frozen, she looked at me like I was giving her a line.
"No, really. And instead of getting four drops of juice from each grape, they get only one making it highly concentrated, that's why it's so sweet."
"And good," she added. "I could drink this stuff all night." With that she downed her glass in one swallow.
"Not at these prices. A small bottle starts at well over fifty to sixty dollars." That took her back a bit.
"Well, then I'd better have another glass, because on my salary this will probably be the last time I'll be drinking anything like this."
We danced to three more songs before the auction began. I was hoping for a couple more dances because I was enjoying her company, and I didn't want the night to end. A few of my friends asked me who my date was and did Angie know about her. I just told them that I'd only met her tonight and no, this wasn't a date. "Too bad," more than one guy said admiringly.
All the items in the auction sold for way over their actual value. I bid on two but the final price was almost twice what I'd bid. It was fun anyway. David finally made his way over to our table after the auction, still dressed in his chef's uniform.
"Kelly, this is David, David, Kelly." They shook hands. David sat down in the empty chair next to Kelly.
"Well, what did you think?" he asked the two of us.
"The food was just all right," I relayed to a shocked David. "And most courses were overdone and cold by the time they were served. Thankfully the wine killed the bad taste they left in my mouth."
They both looked at me like I was from another planet. At that point I gave them a wink and a smirk.
"It was by far the greatest meal I've ever eaten." With that statement David punched me and called me an asshole.
"Well, I've got to get back to the kitchen and clean up. Nice meeting you Kelly, hope to see you around."
"Do you know all the chefs?" Kelly asked me when David left.
"I know three of the six cooking tonight. But it is one job I'd never want to have. The hours are long and the pay sucks until you get to the top tier."
"Well, it looks like fun anyway, and I think I could prepare a few of the dishes we had tonight," she said, boasting. I think the wine had gone to her head.
"Well, if you ever do, I'll bring the wine and we'll make a night of it," I said, touching my coffee cup to her crystal wine glass.
The evening had finally run its course. Connie found us, introductions were made, and we all said again what a wonderful time we'd had.
"Steve, give me your cell number and when I finally get the nerve to attempt a meal like this I'll give you a call." We exchanged phone numbers, I reminded everyone to drive safely and get home in one piece. It had been quite a night.
When Angie recovered from her ailment she asked what I had done with the extra ticket. I didn't lie and told her exactly what I did all evening. I don't think she was very happy about it, especially the dancing part, but I sure as hell wasn't going to let a five hundred dollar ticket go to waste. I did, however, purposely forget to tell her about the kiss and the exchanging of phone numbers. I figured what she didn't know wouldn't hurt her, and I was sure I would never hear from Kelly again. How wrong I was.
Five weeks later I got a call on my cell, not recognizing the number I answered hesitantly.
"This is Steve."
"Boy, how soon they forget a great evening!"
"Kelly," I said, recognizing her voice. "How's my budding chef doing?"
"Well, that's why I'm calling," she said all bubbly. "I want to invite you to dinner Saturday night. I've finally gotten up the nerve to tackle a few gourmet recipes and need my guinea pig to test them out. It won't be as elaborate as our last dinner together, but I can guarantee you it will be memorable, and remember you said that you'd bring the wine." I quickly looked at my calendar on my cell phone.
"Saturday's good for me."
"Great, then it's a date." She gave me directions to her apartment before telling me she was looking forward to our evening. After telling Kelly goodbye I started having second thoughts, and rightfully so. Although Angie and I were not at the point in our relationship where we would always spend entire weekends together, we tried to arrange to be with each other during the weekend as much as we could. We may not have said out loud we were exclusive—it was pretty much implied—I was in a quandary.
"What am I going to tell Angie about Saturday if she wants to go out? Maybe I'll take her out on Friday, that way I'll kill two birds with one stone."
But it didn't work out like I planned.
"Steve, I can't go out on Friday night. My friend Judy and I are taking care of her niece, but I would love to go out Saturday. There's a movie I've been dying to see and it'll be my treat."
"I'm sorry, but David asked me to help someone out with some recipes on Saturday night." I know I should not have lied but how could I tell her the truth? I took the coward's way out, and felt like a real cad. "How about if I pick you up Sunday afternoon and we catch the movie?"
"That works for me. How about if you pick me up sometime after one o'clock? That way we'll have plenty of time to make the two fifteen showing." I had dodged that bullet.
The three bottles of wine set me back almost a hundred dollars, the ice wine alone costing over fifty-five dollars. I had purchased three different types of wine for tonight, and although they weren't the caliber of our last evening together, I didn't think Kelly would mind. You see, we had two things in common—we both liked food and wine. However, I liked good food and fine wine and you'll notice I left off those two adjectives when I talked about Kelly. Maybe with her putting together this meal she'll see just what it takes to prepare this type of special dinner.
"HELP" is the text I got early Saturday evening. "I think I'm in way over my head, can you come earlier?"
I immediately replied, "How early?"
"What are you doing right now?"
"I'll grab a quick shower and be right over," I answered back. "Do you need me to bring anything?"
"Not sure! Just come over as soon as possible," was her panicked response.
I took a quick shower and was out the door. Fifteen minutes later I was knocking on her door with the three bottles of wine and half a bottle of cognac in hand.