Chapter Twenty-One

My head was a dull throbbing by the time I got to Wendy’s place.

As soon as I hit the elevator call button the doors to the car at the very end opened.

I walked in and hit seven. No elevator music, thankfully. I already had enough stupidity repeating itself in my head to last a week, I didn’t need a catchless tune.

I knew this set-up was too good to be true. In the back of my mind when Derek first called to offer me a spot in the internship, I knew everything about it came with some kind of backfire. I was young and looking for a way in.

Even while attending the internship Derek seemed to coddle me more than the other prospects. I got a lot of grief for it, they called me teachers pet and suck up. I’m nothing of the sort. I didn’t ask for the attention. I was quiet the whole time. People often forgot I was there.

True, I made some friends in the end; bed or otherwise. I mostly kept to myself. I had no time for socializing despite a key proponent of the internship being networking. I have more than enough friends here in New York who are doing their part to make it in the business as well. They came to me, these friends, as though I were their leader. Why, I have no idea. They’re all fully capable of such a thing.
No time to mull over it now; if its what they want, that’s what I’ll be.

Approaching the door to Wendy’s apartment, I heard muffled rock music along with a collection of cheers and jeers. Multiple voices, not from the source of the music.

I knocked once, nothing. Twice. On the fourth knock I heard a voice and then the music being silenced.

Muffled footsteps, the sound similar to someone walking around with socks on, began making its approach to the door.
An unfamiliar face was on the opposite side. She greeted me with a smile but looked me up and down questioningly.

“May I help you?” Her voice was soft while her face carried a stern expression. “Wendy is expecting me.” I said, my own voice sounding slurred like a drunkard. “Oh you must be Johnathan. Come in, please.”

I walked in, she closed the door behind me, and then led the way to the living room.

Before stumbling onto a group of young people playing Guitar Hero 2 this woman had whispered “Wendy has told us all so much about you” so while Wendy came rushing into my arms with a hug, my body tensed at the thought of what she’s told these people, who mostly were women.

I once read that women share all details concerning the men they’re dating, bed matters in tow.

Wendy introduced me to each of them while vaguely remembering meeting one of them at one point.

None of this mattered. I didn’t want any of these people here, I wanted to be coddled by Wendy and lick my wounds while soothing my ego.

She could tell something was wrong. I told her about the headache hoping it’ll get her to lead us to her bedroom for a private moment.
“You poor baby. Well you know where my bathroom is; help yourself to some aspirin and then go lay down in my bed.”
She kissed me on the forehead, turned back to the game, and resumed playing. None of her friends looked back at me as I slowly walked into her room.

Is this what karma looks like? My decision to date her along with another woman, was it backfiring? Did she know anything to begin with? I once read an article that women have the ability to tell when they’re being cheated on, almost like a sixth sense.
If that were the case then how do you explain some women’s ignorance on the subject? Acting, perhaps?

I must have dozed off because two hours later I found myself next to Wendy as she sat upright at my side reading a book.

“How’re you feeling?” She asked upon noticing my arising.

“Terrible. My day has been nothing but terrible.”

She asked me to reiterate, I told her everything.

Taking a moment to process it all she then said, “that’s crazy” and then kissed my forehead and placed her attention back on the open book in her lap.

I sat up, headache and throbbing gone.

“That’s all you’ve got to contribute?”

She looked at me. “What am I supposed to say?” “You can sympathize with me, for one. ”

“A company is grooming you to become a suit; there are worst things in the world that could happen. Besides, you’ve got your movie. You haven’t completely lost. It’s good leverage if that two weeks’ notice is real.”

“But its not enough. This job is only supposed to be temporary because doors promised to be opened for me are not going to be until well into the future.” “You don’t know that for sure.” “Were you listening to the conversation I dictated not five minutes ago? It’s very certain.” “You think too negatively, Johnny.” “You’re too optimistic for your own good.” I said, crawling out of her bed and putting my shoes back on.

“Where are you going?” “Away from here. I was hoping to get a little sympathy from my girlfriend but I should have guessed that would be scarce.” “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means,” I merely looked at her. I didn’t want to leave on a bad note. Despite my desire to point out her shortcomings as a nurturer, I had to keep my mouth shut. Knowing her, she’d end things with me right here. I cannot allow that to happen, not while sufficient data has yet to be collected.

I changed the tone of my voice and softened my eyes. “I’m having a bad day. Let me not say anything to spoil the obvious fun you were having a few hours ago.”

I kissed her on the forehead. “I’ll call you in the morning. You’re still working that extra shift?” Wendy nodded. “Then I shall call when you’re heading for the train.”

“Wait.”

I turned around and faced her. She took me in her arms and with a sexual burning passion, kissed me. “I missed you.” She led me back to her bed where we proceeded to have sex.

An hour later I lightly kissed her lips and walked out of her apartment. Despite getting exactly what I wanted from her in a surprising matter, I was angry again. The nap seemed to dissipate such emotions, and the sex suppressed its awakening, but now it was back and seemed to want to take over.

Without a thought in mind I took my phone out and called Sofia.

“I’m having a shitty day. Are you busy?” “You never curse. This must be serious. Yes, come.”

I was at her Brooklyn apartment in an hour.

She greeted me with open arms while leading me to the living room couch. There were two wine glasses in front of us filled halfway with a rich, dark red liquid. She picked both of them up and handed me one. “Tell me about your day.”

In a moment of complete shock I almost forgot why I had come. I was not expecting such a welcoming. Is this the difference between women my age and their senior?

I explained in great detail the events of the day, leaving out my visit to Wendy’s for obvious reasons. Sofia occasionally cut me off to ask questions hoping I’d fill in the emotions I had been feeling at each moment, or to get a better understanding of the situation. She was engaging, submissive and, at the end, empathetic. “I hope you’re sticking to the two weeks notice you’ve given.” “I’m deeply considering it.” “What’s stopping you from fulfilling it?” “The resources of the company, for one. But,” “What? Tell me baby.” I looked into her eyes. “I would like to stick it to them if this movie gets accepted into Sundance.”
She laughed. “It will, Johnathan. The scenes I saw were great. I cannot wait to see the rest of the film.”

With our wine glasses now empty Sofia got up to refill them, but I went in her place.

Returning to the couch she engaged in further conversation on the topic, bringing up possible scenarios and the pros and cons of honoring the two weeks notice. I listened intently and reveled at her enthusiasm. Her eyes sparkled whenever we locked eyes. Her smile widened when my hand grazed her skin. Sofia truly is a wonderful woman, one that would make an excellent wife and mother.

Some time later, and a bottle of wine split between us, we got intimate.

I woke up the next morning in her bed, showered with her, and headed out the door. Looking at the time I kept my promise to Wendy. She apologized for not being more understanding. I accepted, but at this point the odds were against her. I was growing more tired of her by the day but had to keep the show going.

As I sat on the bus heading to my own apartment I began thinking of Sofia and the scope of the day finally came into focus.
Never had I imagined I would be a man who would leave one woman’s home after being intimate with her, to go to another woman’s bed for the same thing.

That was the moment I slowly began hating myself. But there was no going back from it.

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