A Really Bad DaybyLiveCat©
I consider myself to be a cheerful and easy going person by nature, but my god some days just defy anyone's ability to stay jovial.
My default setting is happy unless something happens to piss me off, and some days it all just seems to come at once!
Sarah, now she's a different matter. Her default setting is slightly grumpy unless something happens to make her cheerful, but when she's happy she's an absolute scream. Unfortunately I wasn't making her happy any more so grumpy was becoming her norm, thus my day from hell started with her calling me at 6.30am to cancel our date for that night.
I wasn't overly happy about it as she didn't seem to have a reason and our visit to this particular restaurant had been arranged for weeks. We ended up having a huge row; the outcome of which is that she is no longer my girlfriend. I can't honestly say I was too upset about us breaking up as it wasn't really going anywhere but it's a lousy way to start the day nevertheless.
When I left the house for work I found my car had been blocked into it's parking space by some inconsiderate prick who I guess was visiting one of the neighbours houses, but despite knocking on several doors I couldn't find the owner of the offending vehicle.
Still being fairly stoical I headed back inside, changed clothes and got my trusty Honda 600cc out of the garage and rode to work, getting caught in an incredible downpour on the way.
Now I was starting to get pissed off because when I left the house in a hurry due to the car issue, I grabbed my old leather biker jacket that isn't as waterproof as it used to be anymore so I turned up at work soggy and uncomfortable.
I got to my desk and logged into my PC to find an urgent email from my manager demanding that we have a meeting in fifteen minutes. Now this was strange in itself, as my manager and I get on really well so usually she'd pop her head around my door to ask for a meeting, or would just come and sit in my office to discuss whatever she needed to see me about.
Fifteen minutes later I strolled into her office with a coffee for the both of us, to find 4 other people sat in her office looking bewildered. Now I'm starting to forget about how damp and dishevelled I am and am starting to get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach; not helped by the appalling cheap instant coffee that the company supplies.
To cut a long story short -- there are going to be cuts due to financial constraints and the chances are the 5 of us are all going to be made redundant and we will find out formally in a few days.
OK, so far the day has been fairly lousy and I feel justified that my normally calm and friendly manner has degraded into something closer to miserably crabby.
I managed to last the day at work and left the office, thanking any god that would listen that it was Friday, and walked to the car park while struggling into my still uncomfortably damp leather jacket, just in time to see some stupid jackass reverse their car out of a parking space straight into the side of my bike, knocking it off it's stand and onto the tarmac.
Now I was really pissed off. My bike isn't new, isn't worth loads of money but it's my toy. I look after it, clean it and service it regularly so that it runs like a dream and is unfailingly reliable and now some arsehole has just carelessly sent it crashing into the road.
I ran over, waving my crash helmet and shouting at the offending car driver as they pulled over into a parking bay and as they opened the door the volume of the music was so loud it stopped me dead in my tracks.
'For fuck's sake why don't you look where you're fucking going? You've just knocked my bike over you stupid bitch!' I shouted, trying to compete with the car stereo.
'Sorry, I had no idea it was there! Let me help you pick it up and give you my details.'
'Can you turn that bloody noise down too?' I shouted at her, pointing at her car as if my wagging finger alone would be enough to scare the music into abating.
'Oh sorry, hang on' and she turned into the car and hit the off button on the stereo.
She walked around the bike and grabbed the saddle as I grabbed the handlebars and she started to lift before I was ready, succeeding only in grazing the bike across the tarmac.
'Hold it!' I shouted angrily 'It's heavy, so on 3. 1...2...3' and this time I lifted but she didn't! Aaargghhh how bloody difficult could this be?
I was about to shove her out of the way and do it myself when I saw she was looking at me strangely.
'Now?' she said looking confused
'Now' I repeated and we lifted the bike together until it was upright and back on it's stand again.
I took a very long look at the bike to assess the damage as she looked on, biting her nails and looking terrified. She looked so worried I actually started to feel a little sorry for her, especially as I had flown at her like some crazed dervish.
Amazingly there was very little damage thanks to the tank guards. A broken indicator and a couple of fairly superficial scratches to the tank, none of which was going to be tough to get fixed.
'Listen, I don't know how much your insurance excess is but it'll probably be cheaper for you to just pay for the repairs and that way you won't lose any no-claims bonus or get a premium increase next year.'
I turned to face her waiting for an answer but she just stood there looking at me expectantly.
'So, which way do you want to do it?' I prompted
'What do you mean?' she asked, looking at me strangely
'As I said -- the damage is minor so it'll probably be easier and cheaper for you just to pay for the repairs rather than involve the insurance.'
'Oh ok. In that case please get a quote to get the work done and I'll just pay for it, but I'll let you have my insurance details anyway just in case you find some damage later on that you can't see now.'
I stood there looking at her as she walked over to her car and started rummaging around in her handbag on the passenger seat. There was something strange about this woman but I couldn't put my finger on it. She seemed to look at me with a weird intensity sometimes while being oddly aloof and distant at others.
She returned with a business card and was writing a mobile number on the back.
'Sorry, I must have the insurance details at home. This is my business card, I work just over there' and she waved her hand at the building opposite my own workplace 'If you text me later I'll get back to you with the details.'
'Ok' I sighed 'I'll call you later.'
'No!' and she grabbed my hand 'text me please?' she said in a calmer manner, a pleading look in her eyes.
I was starting to get really irate now. I'd had the day from hell and now this silly cow was dictating how I should contact her to get the insurance details for an accident SHE was responsible for.
'Why?' I demanded forcefully
Why? Why do I have to text you when it'd be so much easier to call you?'
'Easier for you maybe' she said in a mousy voice while staring at me in that piercing way again.
'I'm sorry but this was your accident, why shouldn't it be easier for me?'
'You don't understand' she said as she blushed deeply 'I'm deaf.'
'Well I'm sorry but being deaf doesn't excuse lousy driving or absolve you from blame!' I ranted at her, my anger at the day in general boiling up and spilling over.
'No -- but it makes it very difficult to use the phone.' And she smiled at me in such an innocent and disarming way that I instantly felt floored by my stupidity.
'Oh crap' I muttered as I stared at my feet, feeling like a complete prick. Now I understood why we didn't lift the bike together, why she ignored me speaking to her as I examined the damage.
'Why the hell didn't you say something before?' I muttered, trying to stay angry at her but failing miserably.
I was surprised to feel her fingers under my chin as she lifted my head gently and turned my face toward her.
'I need to see your lips to be able to see what you're saying' she said softly and in that instant, something changed fundamentally. I don't know if it was the gentle touch of her hand or the softness of her voice but I stopped thinking of her as the silly cow who had hit my beloved bike and actually saw her as a woman for the first time. And she was really very pleasant on the eyes.
'Listen, I'm really, really sorry for coming across as such a bitch, I'm just having the most horrendous day.' I said whilst staring at her eyes as they in turn studied my lips.
'Well, I'm really sorry I hit your bike and made it even worse. If it's any consolation I'm not exactly having a fun day either. I just got turned down for a promotion that I know damn well would've been mine if I could hear but I have no way of proving it.'
'Ah shit, I'm really sorry to hear that. At least you still have a job; I just found out that I'm probably going to be made redundant.'
'Yeah, I guess it could be worse.' She sighed in a resigned way 'At least it's Friday so we can get drunk and drown our sorrows. You should make your boyfriend take you out somewhere special tonight to cheer you up.'
'Actually I broke up with my girlfriend this morning -- that was the start of my bad day.'
'Girlfriend? You're gay?'
'Yup. Fully paid up member of the lesbian fraternity since I was about 16 years old.'
'Jeez, I'm really sorry.'
'What, that I'm gay?' I responded getting miffed again.
'No silly! That you split up with your girlfriend!' and then she laughed and it sounded like sparkling water trickling over the babbling brook of my senses. Her laugh instantly lightened my mood and I found myself grinning at her inanely.
'So who are you going home to? Girlfriend, boyfriend, goldfish? Who's the significant other in your life.'
'I have a cat called Jasper. We make a good pair because he's also deaf -- either that or he just ignores me!'
'You mind me saying something?' she shook her head so I carried on 'How come you speak so clearly? I've met deaf people before and no matter how well they speak there's always a difference, the tone is muted or something; oh hell I don't know how to explain it.' And I started to get embarrassed and wished I'd kept my mouth shut.
She touched my elbow in a reassuring way, making me look up at her again.
'It's ok, I understand. I wasn't always deaf. I lost my hearing due to meningitis about 6 years ago so my speech patterns were already established. I can also hear myself a little bit which helps. I do have very slight hearing but it's so minimal it doesn't really help on a day to day basis, but if I have music loud enough the slight sound and the feeling of the bass lets me experience it if not really hear it. I can lip read pretty well though and have excellent eyesight which means I can eavesdrop on conversations from quite a distance.' And she smiled that smile again; innocence mixed with a hint of mischievousness
'Listen, I don't mean to seem forward...................' Oh for god sake -- had I really just started a sentence in a conversation with a deaf person with the word "listen?"
'It's ok' she said, her hand on my elbow again 'carry on.'
'I was wondering, since we've both had shitty days, how do you feel about joining me for a meal and drinks this evening? I know I could do with a good night out to get today out of my system and I already have a table booked that's going to go to waste otherwise.'
'Are you asking me out?' That smile again, oh be still my hammering heart!
'No, yes, I mean ... I just thought we could hang out and cheer each other up, I wasn't actually asking you..., well I suppose I....' I was blushing furiously now and would've been perfectly happy if the ground had swallowed me up in that instant.
'I said yes, silly. So where do you want to meet?'
It turned out that we only lived about 3 miles apart, so I gave her my address and mobile number and we agreed that she would come to me and we would get a taxi into town from my place and I'd pick her up to retrieve her car the next day.
It wasn't until she'd driven away and I was starting my bike that I realised that we hadn't even exchanged names!
I plucked the card she had given me from my jeans pocket and turned it over to read the printed side
"Jessica Bailey, Laboratory Manager"
Such a pretty name; all the way home I was wondering what she preferred to be called. Jess? Jessie? Jessica? I guess I'd find out in a hour or so!
Having ridden home and stowed my bike in the garage I ran into the house and practically threw myself under the shower whilst trying to decide on what to wear.
I then mentally slapped myself for getting so ahead of myself. I still didn't know if she was even into women, so lets not start assuming this was a date. We're just two women trying to lighten the load after a bad day, that's all.
Even so -- the day was definitely looking up.
I dressed in what I would have worn had I been going out with Sarah; a pair of figure hugging black Levi jeans, a white tailored shirt and a pair of black low heeled ankle boots, all of which would be topped with a black leather jacket that was a bit worn but was my favourite.
I then spent a few minutes rushing around tidying up and putting things away and had just finished when I heard the doorbell chime.
I opened the door to a vision of loveliness that took my breath away. Jessica was standing there dressed simply in blue jeans and a red cotton jumper but she looked stunning. Her long dark, curly hair framed her face in a way that made her blue eyes sparkle and she had that wonderful smile on her face again.
It had only been just over an hour since we'd last seen each other but I'd either forgotten or somehow just hadn't registered how gorgeous she was; now I was stood on my doorstep gawking like a teenager in the midst of a first crush.
'You going to invite me in or just stand there staring at me?' as she looked herself up and down as if trying to locate the source of my fascination.
'Sorry, come on in and I'll call a taxi. Do you want a drink while we wait?' I turned & looked expectantly, waiting for an answer until I realised I'd done it again. I had turned away from her after I invited her in so she had no idea of what I'd said after that. The look on my face gave me away too, so I couldn't even pretend I hadn't said anything and it made me feel even more foolish than I already did for staring at her.
'Sorry' I muttered sheepishly 'I forgot again. Would you like a drink while we wait?'
'I'll take a beer if you have one? I'm glad to see you're dressed in jeans, I didn't know where we were going so I didn't know what to wear.'
'You look lovely' I said, making sure to look directly at her 'although I have a feeling you'd look good in anything you wear.' And with that I deliberately turned away to hide the blush that was creeping up my face.
I called a taxi and grabbed a couple of ice cold bottles of Becks from the fridge, our fingers touching lightly as I passed the bottle, sending little tingles through my system.
'Thanks urrmmm.....' and she laughed shyly 'You know you haven't actually told me your name!'
'Chris' I said as I formally extended my hand to shake hers 'and I know you're Jessica; I have your card.'
'Well it was nice to bump into you Chris' she grinned as she shook my hand gently, her soft fingers clasped in my own 'and talking of bumping into things you'd better take this' and she handed me a sheet of paper that had her insurance details on it.
A short taxi ride later and we were sat in one of my favourite restaurants. It wasn't fancy by any means but if you wanted a good rack of bbq ribs, or a steak that would melt in your mouth then it was perfect. In fact the food was so good that you generally needed to book 3 weeks in advance to stand any chance of getting a table.
As we were handed our menus Jessica took one quick glance and looked at me with an expression of pure horror.
'I guess I should've mentioned that I'm vegetarian right?'
My heart sank. I don't think they even knew the meaning of the word in this place and I really didn't want to have to go somewhere else.
I resigned myself to giving our table back and heading out to another restaurant when I heard that tinkling laughter again and looked up. Jessica was trying so hard to keep a straight face but was failing miserably.
'Oh you little cow! You really had me going then.'
'I know -- you should've seen the look on your face!' and she dissolved into fits of giggles, which I couldn't help but join in with.
The mood was then set for the evening. We had come out to relax and unwind and that's exactly what we were going to do.
We ordered a sharing plate with spicy bbq ribs, chicken wings and sliced bloody ribeye steak accompanied by onion rings, corn on the cob and coleslaw, which we proceeded to demolish whilst sinking several more bottles of ice cold beer.
There was no shortage of conversation and a lot of laughter but despite all of the subjects we covered, including work, holidays, houses and sport, I still had absolutely no idea about Jessica's sexuality. She didn't once mention a partner of either sex and I didn't want to be quite so blatant as to ask her outright, but I couldn't deny to myself that I was desperately hoping she was gay, or at least bi.
Eventually it was time to leave the restaurant and I reluctantly asked for the bill, not wanting the evening to be over.
When the waitress brought it over Jessica snatched it up before I could get my hands on it, insisting that she pay.
'Hey, who died and made you the boss?' I remonstrated, trying to grab it from her hand.
'We both had shitty days today and I made yours a whole lot worse when I hit your bike. You then made mine a whole lot better by inviting me out and stopping me staying in and getting drunk on my own tonight, so I insist on paying as an apology and a thank you. If you're good I'll let you pay next time.'
'Oh, so there's going to be a next time is there?' I asked sarcastically with a cocked eyebrow, although secretly I was mentally punching the air and shouting "YES"!
We were both quiet on the taxi ride home to my place. I know I was wondering if I could persuade her to come in for a nightcap but I had no idea what thoughts were keeping Jessica quiet.
Eventually the car stopped and if I was going to find out it had to be now.
'Urm, it's still not very late. I was wondering if you fancied coming in for a quick drink?'
'I know you just said something but I don't know what. It's dark in the car and I can't see your lips.'
Ah -- no wonder Jessica didn't try to make conversation on the drive back. This was going to take some getting used to, so I improvised and mimed a drinking motion while nodding my head toward the house.
'As long as you're offering alcohol and not coffee I'm in.' and she climbed out of the car as I paid the driver, that inane grin on my face again.
I kicked my shoes off as I walked in the front door and headed for the fridge, calling over my shoulder asking is she'd like beer, wine or something stronger.
I was surprised to find myself being spun around by my arm, coming to a stop with Jessica standing right in front of me, looking into my eyes.
She put her hands on each side of my face to hold it still and for a moment I thought she was going to kiss me; instead she kept looking into my eyes as she spoke.
'I know it takes some adjusting to but I need to be able to see you when you talk. What do I have to do to make you look at me? Am I going to have to hold onto your face like this all the time to keep you looking in my direction?'
Well if ever there was a loaded question! I would happily look at her for hours on end and was tempted to say just that, but that's not what she meant. Was it?