Cafe de Desiree

October 19, 2012

“All That’s Left”

Filed under: horror,story — desi83 @ 8:22 am

I’m not a hundred percent sure about the title and won’t be until it is finished. This is a revival of a story that I partially posted like six months ago. I dug out the notebook where I first wrote it, so I’m typing it out now, editing it, and even changing the ending. Anyway, if you like horror or just descriptive writing, have fun. It is long for a blog post, and this is not all of it, so pop some popcorn and get comfortable. I am going to finish typing out this story by the weekend’s end.

All That’s Left

The first thing I noticed when I pulled into the parking lot of our apartment was her fluffy, white robe sprawled out onto the grass. What stood out, even in the darkness with only the dim street lights illuminating it, was the blood. It reminded me of her innocence; the dark blood stained the pure white of her robe. Iprayed that it was just red wine or tomato soup, and in her haste, she threw out the soiled material. Maybe it belonged to someone else. I only faintly remembered that robe. It was the first winter that we were together. We had spent that last winter as neighbors without even knowing it. To think, we were strangers less than a year ago. I got up the nerve to approach the red-soaked robe. I bent down to get a better glimpse of it. It looked and smelled like blood. I was careful not to touch it. I ran into the apartment while making bargains with a God that I wasn’t even sure existed. I wasn’t taking any chances for the worst. The smell of her lingered through the house-spaghetti and meat balls, homemade chocolate chip cookies that she’d made recently, and her sweet pea body spray were the smells of our home together. “Baby, are you home?” I tried to sound casual. “Are you asleep already?” I asked with all the hope I could muster. I burst into the room with my eyes squeezed shut, as if I could cast some spell to bring her into the room, safely asleep. I slowly opened the door to find an empty, unmade bed. I remembered why it was so untidy-no more like destroyed! I woke her up to make love at seven in the morning because she looked so beautiful while she slept. I grabbed the blanket and held it, wishing it were her. Maybe she was at her parents’ house or out with her friends. I grabbed my phone and hit two on speed dial. I could faintly hear a ring coming from the bathroom. I slowly turned the knob, fearing that I’d see her mangled body slumped over the tub. I only found her phone ringing serenely on the bathroom counter. I pressed end on my phone and dialed 911. My heart knew that she was hurt; she needed me, and I had just been trying to deny the worst.

“911, what’s your emergency?” a cold voice answered. “I think something has happened to my girlfriend. Her bloody robe is in our front yard. Her phone is here, but she is missing,” I explained in between sobs. “What is your location?” the cold, monotone voice inquired. “508 Lincoln Boulevard, apartment A5,” I answered. “I’ll send an officer,” she said almost reluctantly. “Thank you,” I said somewhat sarcastically. I sat in the yard staring at the robe. That’s when I noticed the flip flop that seemed familiar lying on the sidewalk. Why had she been outside in her robe and flip flops? I gasped. “Ralph!” I couldn’t believe it took me this long to remember that the damn dog was missing, too. She had probably taken him for a short walk. I looked up and noticed her car parked on the other side of the parking lot sitting right beside the dumpster. The pieces were coming one by one, leading me to believe more and more the worst possible scenario

As I stood beside the robe, careful not to touch it in fear of tampering with evidence, I stared at her car and realized that would be a good thing to investigate. Just then, I saw the blue lights, and an officer stepped out of the cruiser. The last time I was in a scene like this, I was getting my first DUI, so I was still a little nervous around cops and those menacing blue lights. “Did you make the call about a missing woman, sir?” he asked sternly, officially. “Yes, sir. This robe belongs to my girlfriend, and I have not seen her since I’ve been home,” I stated. His eyes widened, and he pulled out a notepad and pen and began scribbling down notes. “Are you sure this belongs to her?” he asked. I’d only seen the robe a few times, but I remembered it now, just lying on the sofa a few days ago. “Yes, sir,” I answered nervously. “Do you live with her?” the officer inquired. “Yes, we live right there in that apartment, A5,” I answered, pointing to our apartment. “What is your girlfriend’s name?” he asked, suddenly looking up at me. “Callista, or Callie Stokes,” I answered. “How old is Callie?” he asked. “She is twenty-three years old,” I answered. “Describe her to me please,” the officer asked as he studied his notepad, quickly jotting down notes. “She has long blond hair, bright blue eyes, suntanned skin, and she is about one hundred and ten pounds. I think she’s around 5’4,” I described. “Okay, that just sounds like every man’s dream girl. Are you also going to tell me that her measurements are 36-24-36?” he asked. I shrugged my shoulders and blushed. She was every man’s dream girl, but she really was my girl. “Does she have any distinctive features?” he asked, shaking his head. I thought about it for a moment. “She has a Marylin Monroe freckle on her face, four piercings in each ear, and a tattoo of the Aries sign on her left hip,” I described thoroughly. “Okay, that’s something I can use in the investigation. Now, tell me where you’re coming from, since I’m assuming that you just discovered the robe,” he observed. “I work second shift, so I just got out about an hour and a half ago. That’s why I’m wearing this dirty black shirt and worn out jeans,” I explained. “Where do you work, um, what’s your name again?” he asked. “I don’t think I’ve told you my name yet. My name is Jake England,” I replied suspiciously. He looked strangely familiar. “Well, Mr. England, you may call me Detective McAllister. What exactly do you do for a living, Mr. England?” the officer asked, looking me straight in the eyes. “I work for the Volkswagon plant. I work on the production line,” I answered. “That’s not too far from here. When did you leave work, and when did you arrive at your apartment?” McAllister asked. “I left work around ten o’clock, and I got home around eleven o’clock, give or take a couple of minutes,” I answered. “Hmmm,” McAllister mumbled. “Why did it take you so long to get home? I happen to know that the Volkswagon plant is only fifteen minutes from here,” McAllister questioned. “I stopped at Buddy’s, a bar a couple of miles from the plant, to have a beer like I usually do,” I admitted. “Did you only have one beer?” McAllister pressed. “I had a couple. How does that pertain to my girlfriend’s disappearance?” I asked impatiently, trembling slightly, “Can we get back to the investigation, please?” “I am going to need a statement from someone at Buddy’s confirming your alibi,” McAllister said suspiciously. “I’m the one who called 911. Why would I be a suspect?” I asked angrily. “It’s because you’re the one who called 911, and because the spouse or boyfriend is always the first one to be suspected,” the officer explained, “It’s just routine.” I hung my head, feeling helpless. This was not happening. It was a bad dream, and I would wake up next to Callie and kiss her until she made me stop.

Is there anything else that you would like to add that could help lead us to Callie?” McAllister asked, attempting to wrap up the intense interview. “Yes, her car is still in the parking lot right beside the dumpster,” I said as I pointed toward the car. He squinted as he scribbled more notes in his notepad. “Also, her dog is missing and her flip flop is in the grass right beside the robe-just one flip flop,” I added. The officer nodded and wrote it down. Just then, two detectives arrived and began collecting the robe and the flip flop and put them in a scientific-looking plastic bag labeled “forensic evidence”. “So, from the evidence and the scene that we have before us, it is likely that Callie was walking her dog in her robe and flip flops. Someone could have grabbed her during the walk. Is her dog aggressive at all?” Officer McAllister inquired. “No, he’s just a big teddy bear of a dog,” I said regretfully. “Was anything missing from the house?” he questioned. “No, nothing was taken. It looks as though Callie could still be here, but she’s not. I’ve checked every room,” I answered. I started shaking and choking back tears. I had to keep it together for Callie’s sake. “Hmmm, normally if someone is assaulted or killed at their residence by a stranger, it is a result of a robbery. Do you know if she was in contact with anyone this evening?” McAllister speculated. “It’s a week-day, so she probably came straight home from school, grabbed a couple of beers and graded papers all evening by herself,” I answered confidently. “When did you last see Ms. Stokes?” McAllister asked. “I kissed her goodbye this morning before she left for work,” I answered nostalgically. “What time did you go to work, Mr. England?” McAllister questioned with an accusatory stare. “I work at one-thirty five days a week,” I answered, annoyed. McAllister quickly jotted down some notes then suddenly looked back at me. “Can you think of anyone who may have paid her a visit or who might be capable of hurting her?” he asked, very focused. “No one would have a reason to hurt her sir. She is a charismatic, funny, beautiful girl who spends her life taking care of children and dogs,” I answered passionately. At that, I broke into tears. I was always the calm one in stressful situations while Callie seemed to lose it at the smallest sign of inconvenience. However, this was a situation that had me imagining the worst possible scenarios. “So you can’t think of anyone who could have dropped by unexpectedly?” McAllister asked, unconcerned at my uncontrollable sobs. “Do you want a list of every person she knows or has ever met?” I asked sarcastically. McAllister’s eyes twinkled and he perked up. “Yes, that would be perfect! Include their phone numbers and addresses. Also, we will be interviewing all of the neighbors,” McAllister said excitedly. He was pumped and ready to find out what happened to Callie. Even though I still had a chip on my shoulder about cops, I was glad to have one on my side this time.

Suddenly, our neighbor Travis sped into the parking lot and swerved diagonally into the handicapped space and the space next to it. The officer and I stared for a moment, and out stumbled Travis, gripping his coat and a paper bag with some sort of bottle in it. “Is that a neighbor of yours?” Officer McAllister asked me as his suspicious glare turned to Travis. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Travis is one of the most ridiculous people I’ve ever known. He always inadvertently makes a grand entrance. “We’ll keep in touch, Mr. England. I’m going to conduct the first interview with your neighbor,” he said as he quickly approached Travis before he could duck into his apartment. “Excuse me sir, may I have a word with you?” McAllister called out to Travis. Travis kept his head down and tucked his paper bag-covered bottle into his coat. “I just want to go home,” I have nothing to do with whatever is going on here,” he mumbled. “That’s what I need to find out. What is your full name, sir?” McAllister asked, blocking Travis from escaping into his apartment. “Travis O’Hare. What is going on? You can’t give me a DUI because I’m not driving now. I’m going to get plastered in the privacy of my own freaking home!” he slurred with a drunken laugh. “I should give you a DUI anyway, or at least a ticket for public intoxication, but that is not what this is about,” McAllister said menacingly. Travis’s eyes widened and he stood stiff as a board. “When is the last time that you saw your neighbor, Ms. Callie Stokes?” McAllister asked, now standing almost nose to nose with Travis. “Man, screw that bitch. I don’t care. What the hell did she do?” Travis jabbered. “Oh she hasn’t done anything that we know of, but she is missing. I am sensing that you have some aggression toward her,” McAllister observed. “She’s batshit crazy is all I know. I haven’t talked to her or Jake since they left me at a bar without a ride, and it was because of her,” Travis explained. McAllister frantically jotted down all of Travis’s mutterings.

When did you leave the apartment today, and where did you go?” McAllister asked. “I left around, I don’t know, five or so. I went to my friend Trey’s house to watch the game. We hung out and drank some Jack, and I am just getting home,” he answered. “Could I have this Trey’s number please, for an alibi?” McAllister asked with a huge polite grin. “I guess. Say, what happened? Did somebody kill her or something?” he asked, staggering. I felt this rage rise up inside of me, and I ran toward Travis and shoved him. It was as if I were possessed by some angry ghost. The officer grabbed me and shoved me back as Travis stumbled toward me, mumbling something that sounded like reassurance to the officer. He put his hands up and said, “it’s cool, man, no problema!” He leaned toward me and whispered, “so what’d they find? Usually it’s a shoe or clothing of some sort. Leaves you with nothing but questions and assuming the worst.” I punched him in the face and fell to the ground on my knees. He looked back at me, holding his bloody face and ran to his apartment. “Mr. England, I will ask you not to harm Mr. O’Hare any further. I realize you are upset and you want to lash out, but you’re just making it worse,” the officer said trying to calm me down. I sat on the sidewalk holding my head. “How did he fucking know? Her stuff isn’t on the front lawn anymore. I don’t trust him,” I yelled. “We’ll keep an eye on him, Mr. England. In the meantime, you stay here and get some rest, and I’ll keep searching for clues to lead me to your Callie,” he reassured me. “Okay, that’s fine, thank you Officer. Just let me know if you hear anything,” I said wearily. “I’m going to call forensics here to collect the robe and check for any other evidence that may have any tissue or fingerprints out here that could be used as evidence,” he assured me.

The truth is, Travis and I were close friends until Callie and I moved in together. I still tried to keep our friendship, but it wasn’t the same. He resented her since she got angry with me every time Travis was around. Sure, he was a bad influence on me, but he was a good friend who just happened to have a lot of bad habits but not too many other friends. He was a sad sort of person. I guess I felt sorry for him, but he was also hilarious and weird in an interesting sort of way. I wondered if he could have resented her to the point of-no way. He was weird and a little socially-awkward, but he was not capable of killing anyone. He didn’t hate her that much, did he? I would talk with him the next day so he wouldn’t be paranoid of my hitting him or accusing him again. Forensics showed up, bagged up the bloody robe, and dusted the parameter for prints. They didn’t find any other clothing or objects. “Was there any sign of breaking and entering when you entered the residence, Mr. England?” McAllister asked. “No sir. It looked like Callie has been here and maybe went outside to walk her dog. I still haven’t found the dog,” I responded, curious as to what could have happened to Ralph. “We’re still going to search the apartment for clues just in case it was a friend that Callie let into the apartment who could have harmed Callie,” McAllister explained. It was all a bit of a blur. I just sort of stood there watching these uniformed strangers prowl through all of our belongings in our happy, humble home. It was surreal, like being an extra in a crime show.

It suddenly dawned on me that Callie’s windshield had been busted a week ago, with what Travis thought may have been a hammer. Her plants had gone from green and full of blooms to brown and shriveled within a couple of days. A month ago, the small angel statue she had on the patio had been broken all over the yard, and we had seen it intact just the previous night. We took the car to the repair shop where they confirmed that the windshield had to have been busted by a hammer or another blunt object. Why had Travis known what type of tool had busted the windshield, and described in such detail how it had happened? “Wow, dude, it looks like someone probably waited until it was dark, grabbed a hammer, knelt on top of the hood, and then whacked the windshield right in the middle,” he described while demonstrating with body movements. “Somebody’s pissed off at you, Callie,” Travis warned. The repair shop showed me the dents in the hood where someone probably knelt on the hood. Callie had cursed him the day before the windshield incident for barging into our apartment drunk in the middle of the day. Travis was pretty much always drunk. Could he really be capable of something as coldblooded as-No! I could not say it. Until there was a dead body and actual evidence, I could not lay the burden of accusation on him. There was a chance that she was alive until they found the body, so there may not have been a murder of which to accuse Travis.

“It’s cold in here, Jake,” Callie whispered. I turned to hold her close to me so that I could warm her. Her skin chilled my touch, and I could not get her warm. Instead, I was left feeling cold. “I can’t get you warm, Callie. I’m shivering the more that I touch you,” I responded sadly. I shook her gently, but her only response was a whimper. I was getting colder and colder as I held her tighter. “Callie!” I shouted as I turned her over to face me. “Oh my God,” I whispered. “Help me, Jake,” she uttered through frozen lips. My heart felt as if it were going to burst out of my chest at the sight of her. Frozen tears lined her face, and her lips were pale blue. “What do you want me to do, Callie? What can I do?” I panicked. I stared at her with terror in my eyes. “I’m lost, Jake,” Callie whispered. I awoke in a cold sweat. What did it all mean? Was it just the stress of the situation, or was she trying to tell me something? Okay, now I was driving into crazytown. We were not telepathic.

I was willing to consider anything a possibility at this point. I would even try to listen to frozen creepy Callie in my dreams for some sort of sign in my subconscious. I knew that Callie needed me to find her, and I was no longer going to waste time sleeping. I threw on my slippers and jacket and went outside. I pulled my jacket tightly against me as I shivered from the cold night air, and maybe a little bit from the dream. I began wandering through the front yard, searching for any clue that the detective may have missed: a weapon, blood or clothing that may belong to her attacker, or anything else that could add to the puzzle that had barely began.

I made my way to the backyard and noticed Ralph’s leash on Travis’s patio, hidden behind a bush. I crept around the outside of his apartment to see if I could find any other evidence when I heard a dog barking. That is when I lost it. I banged loudly on his door, and the barking grew louder. I heard someone scrambling around inside and finally Travis threw open the door holding a chopping knife. “What’s up, man?” he asked as he lowered the knife. His eyes were bloodshot but wide and alert. Ralph ran between Travis’s legs, almost knocking him down. Luckily, he grabbed the door frame so that he wouldn’t fall on me with a knife. “Hey, Ralphie, there you are boy!” I said excitedly as the huge golden retriever jumped on me and put his paws on my chest. Then, I turned to Travis with disbelief burning in my eyes. “Why the hell is Callie’s dog in your apartment?” I demanded calmly through clenched teeth. “I heard him scratching at my door a couple of hours ago, so I let him in,” Travis explained weakly, still holding the knife loosely by his side. “Really? When were you planning on telling me this? And why are you answering the door with a knife?” I asked, my voice getting higher and more impatient. “It is four o’clock in the morning, man, so I figured you were asleep. And you know I had a stalker awhile ago. So if I am not expecting someone to pay me a visit at four a.m., I take my ‘guard dog’ with me,” he answered thoroughly.

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October 8, 2012

If Only:)

Filed under: Blogging,life,story — desi83 @ 8:34 am

I logged onto indeed.com as I do every day in search of a job that won’t make me miserable, but this time I plugged in a different location: Jacksonville, FL. I scrolled through the listings casually, and then there was one that stopped me in my tracks: legal secretary no experience needed with college degree. That is one of the career possibilities that I have been considering, but every time I see a post for it, the experience required is usually 3+ years. I have none. How in the hell does one get that experience if there are never entry level jobs open? Well, this was starting to look like a prophecy. I wasn’t going to jump ahead of myself,  though. After being either rejected or ignored for so many months by prospective jobs, this one may not be any different. So, I clicked “apply”. I filled out every detail about myself along with my resume, which pretty much summed up everything that I had to write on the application. I pressed “submit”. I sighed. I could live in Jacksonville, Florida, even if just for a short while. I could spend my free time lying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, jogging along the shoreline, or just sitting in the sand with a good book in my hands while listening to the waves. This would no longer be a big ordeal. It would be a trip right down the street. Oh, if only.

A week passed by, and I got a call from an out-of-state area code that woke me up at 8:00 in the morning. That is a ridiculously early hour for someone who has no where to be. I almost didn’t answer, because I figured either it was a tele-marketer, or I’d sound too groggy to talk to anyone seriously. The little cricket in my head whispered to me to answer the phone. “Hello?” I mumbled. “Hi, is this Desiree?” asked a voice that sounded like it came from a cheerleader. I cleared my throat loudly. “Yes, this is she,” I tried to say clearly. “I’m so sorry, did I wake you?” the peppy voice asked. “No, no I am awake, I’m good. Can I help you?” I asked, still not entirely sure this wasn’t a tele-marketer. “This is Ashley from Bennett and Bailey law firm. You submitted an application online for the legal secretary position?” she explained. Holy shit. This was a dream. There is no way this is happening. “Yes ma’am, I am still interested if you are interviewing,” I stammered. “Great. Well, we’d love to set up an interview with you, Desiree. When will you be available this week?” she asked. I’m always available, I thought. “Anytime really. I am in Tennessee right now, but I can be there in about eight hours,” I answered too enthusiastically. “Awesome! Well, since you are driving such a long distance, how about we set an appointment on Wednesday at 9 am? That way you can have until tomorrow to get to Jacksonville, then you can spend the night in a hotel and get right up and come see us,” she planned for me. I guess I hadn’t been too enthusiastic. It only made Ashley more peppy than ever. “I will be there. What is the address?”

I didn’t know what to do. Should I tell my parents and my friends? I should wait. I may not even get the job. I was going to get the job, though, I just knew it. I nail interviews. The only problem is that most of the time I cannot get the interview. I’m usually either over-qualified or under-qualified or lack the experience wanted. If I can get into the interview, I can usually get the job. I went to my closet and tried on five different outfits until I found something suitable enough for a legal secretary job interview. I don’t have a lot of office appropriate clothes because I’ve worn a retail uniform for the past five years. I would love the chance to dress nicely for a change. I dragged my suitcase out of the attic and packed my interview outfit and shoes. It was a long sleeved button-down red shirt from Express and a grey business skirt that fell right below my knees. I packed some black pumps, which I detest because they are so horribly uncomfortable. I am a jeans and tshirt girl. Okay, I said I would like a job where I dress nice. In a way I do because it makes me feel pretty and important at the same time. However, I hate feeling uncomfortable. I threw in underwear and stockings, pajamas, and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief to read at the hotel. I was ready for my big interview. Then I realized-I’m going to the beach! I threw in my bikini and a beach towel and zipped the suitcase shut.

After a sleepless night spent thinking about how happy and successful I was going to be living on the beach, I arose to make my way to Jacksonville. I guzzled some coffee, quickly stuffed some toast down my throat, and I headed out with my suitcase and resume. I stopped for lunch in Georgia at the Cracker Barrel, because I always go there on trips. I was making a mini vacation out of this even though I couldn’t really afford it. The toast hadn’t done anything for my appetite, so I gobbled up my scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and hashbrown casserole. I downed a large orange juice, made a pit stop, and headed out. I didn’t even get lost like I usually do on long trips. My gps did not fail me. I checked in my hotel at eight p.m., only thirty minutes later than I had predicted. I guess I spent more time at Cracker Barrel than was the plan. There was a pool and a hot tub at this hotel, so I decided to change into my swimsuit when I got into my room. When I first walked into my hotel room, I immediately threw down my suitcase, kicked off my shoes, and ran to the window to see the beach that was just outside. The view was like something from a dream. The moon was shining down on the dark water below, the waves were crashing fiercely against the shoreline, and I wanted more than anything to just be down there.

I decided that the hot tub was the best way to relax before my big interview. The beach would be safer and warmer during the day, any way. So, I changed into my swimsuit and made my way downstairs. I arrived at the hot tub where I found a young man sitting alone in the hot tub. He looked about my age, maybe a bit younger, and he was strikingly good-looking. He smiled at me. “Hi, how are you? Don’t worry, I won’t bite if you want to come in,” he said. I couldn’t say no to that Tom Cruise smile. “Okay, if you don’t mind,” I said timidly. I hoped a girlfriend or wife wouldn’t suddenly show up. “Of course I don’t mind. It’ll be nice to have someone to talk with,” he answered smoothly. I wanted to do more than just talk-no, stop it! I am not here to flirt or get into trouble, I thought. I climbed in and sat beside him with a comfortable distance between us. Suddenly, a bottle of some craft beer I’d never heard of was placed into my hand. “Fritz Hefeweizen is from the Bold City brewing company-right here in Jacksonville,” he explained. “Oh, cool, I love trying local beer wherever I am,” I replied. It was pretty good beer, too. “So, what is your name?” I asked after taking a sip. “Jackson,” he replied, jerking his hand from the water and splashing me a bit. “Sorry, I was just trying to shake your hand,” he said awkwardly. I laughed and shook his hand. “Are you kidding me? If we are using fake names, at least come up with something original. I met Jackson in Jacksonville, really?” I said, slightly offended. He shook his head, and we were still holding hands very awkwardly. I let go when I realized this. “I know it sounds ridiculous, but I can show you my license later,” he reassured me. “Oh, so you have a specially made license for picking up girls in every city, huh? Clever,” I quipped. He laughed. “Well, what is your name? Oh, please let it be Jackie. That would be priceless,” he joked. “It can be if you want it to be. No, kidding, my name is Desiree,” I replied, blushing. “Nice to meet you, Desiree. I like that name better anyway,” he said smiling that hypnotizing smile again.

“So, Jackson, what are you doing here in Jacksonville?” I asked. “Oh, I am here for a job. I might be moving here soon if all goes well,” he replied. “How ironic, I am here for a job interview,” I responded. “So we might be neighbors one day,” he suggested. “Maybe. Have you looked at any houses yet?” I asked. “I have, but I don’t know that I’ve found what I am looking for quite yet. I do know that I am finding Jacksonville to be quite charming and inviting,” he said as he leaned toward me. “Yes, yes it is. Well, speaking of my job interview, I need to go to my room and get some sleep. I want to be rested and ready for it,” I replied nervously, moving my face away from his. “Yes, good idea. I’m so glad that we met here. I’ll be staying here for a few days if you want to grab a drink tomorrow night? My room is 322, so give me a call or come knock on my door sometime tomorrow,” he suggested. I blushed again. “Okay, I will. Good to meet you,” I said as I turned to leave. “Good luck!” he shouted.

I went up to my room with my towel wrapped around my warm and relaxed body. This was all surreal. After wallowing in self-doubt and misery for so many years, could Lady Luck really be paying me a visit? I opened the door and fell onto the bed, praying that this wasn’t just some moment, one day out of my life that would pass and mean nothing. I needed this to be the starting point of a new journey. I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth for a good five minutes as I’m constantly worried about having stained teeth, and I crawled under the covers on the hotel bed. I passed out immediately, and I slept so hard that I barely remember dreaming. I think Jackson was in one of those dreams.

The alarm on my phone caused me to jolt up and almost fall out of the bed at 7 am. I got out of the bed quickly because of my excitement for the day, and I took a short hot shower with the little hotel shampoo, conditioner, and soap. I don’t know why I love those little things so much. I wrapped myself in the white fluffy hotel towel, another thing I love about hotels. I opened the door of the bathroom and felt a rush of cold coming from the room. I held my towel tighter around me and walked over to the closet where my interview outfit hung nicely and miraculously without wrinkles. I grabbed my underwear out my suitcase below and got dressed swiftly. I looked in the mirror and admired my wonderfully appropriate choice in dressing. I combed and dried my hair, put on make-up (something I usually never do), and strapped on my uncomfortable but stylish shoes. I headed down to the lobby to have coffee and a quick breakfast. There, sitting alone at a table with a coffee and bagel, was Jackson.

“Good morning!” he shouted. I was embarrassed. “Good morning, Jackson,” I greeted. “Are you stalking me? Because that would be kind of hot,” he joked. I laughed, still feeling embarrassed. I’m so bad at flirting. “You know, I might be,” I said awkwardly. “Come, sit down after you get your complimentary continental breakfast. Yum, cold bagels!” he said, smiling. “Okay,” I mumbled. I got my coffee and a plate of fruit, some type of sticky pastry, and something that was supposed to be sausage I think. I sat down with Jackson and took a sip of my coffee. I almost spit it on him. He just laughed. “I’m sorry, but this is not coffee. This is water with some dirt in it!” I said. We both laughed. I tried to eat my cold, disgusting breakfast while we talked about the hotel and what we wanted to do in Jacksonville. “Well, I have to go to my interview now,” I said. “Oh yeah, where is it, anyway?” he asked. “It’s at Bennett and Bailey law firm. I applied for the legal secretary position,” I replied. “Are you serious?” he asked. “Yes, what is wrong with that?” I asked, not sure if I should feel offended or not. “It’s just funny because I’m a lawyer. I have a friend who has an office on the same block as that one. He asked me if I wanted to work with him at his office here,” Jackson said enthusiastically. “There is so much irony with you, I just don’t even know if I believe it,” I said smiling. “Yes, it’s Franks and Johnson, but Johnson just left. So, I’m hoping to make it Franks and Jackson,” he explained. “Awesome. So what kind of lawyer are you?” I asked. “I mostly do family law-divorce, issues accompanying divorce, that sort of thing,” he replied. “Okay, cool. Yeah, Bennett and Bailey do litigation,” I replied. “Yes, they do. Well, good luck today. You look great, very professional but also kind of hot,” he said smoothly. My face was red, I just knew it. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you. I just tend to say whatever I’m thinking,” he said. I love it when people say what they’re thinking. That is how I am when I’m not trying so hard to just not throw up or trip over something. “Well, thank you, and I will see you later, I am sure,” I said, stammering. Then, I did trip over a plant. He winked at me, and I waved and ran out the door.

I drove to the law office, located in downtown Jacksonville. I parked as soon as I got into the town and decided to walk the rest of the way. The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and the temperature was a perfect 82 degrees. My feet were throbbing with pain, but I still wanted to walk. Why didn’t I bring slip-ons to walk in? Oh, if only I was a more prepared and organized person. I passed by al fresco coffee shop, then a restaurant of the same type. There were some tourist stores with swimsuits and sundresses in the windows. I was definitely going to explore all of this after the interview. I breathed in the fresh Florida air and saw the sign straight ahead for Franks and Johnson. Well, maybe he didn’t make up his story. I passed by it and looked inside for a moment. There was nothing spectacular about it. I continued to walk, passing by more tourist shoppes and eateries. Then, I came to Bennett and Bailey. I took in a long breath and let it out slowly before I opened the door. I walked in and introduced myself to the receptionist, whom I was sure had to be Ashley. She had long, thick blonde hair, a big white smile, and a perfect little hourglass figure in her designer skirt suit. She held out her hand excitedly. “I’m so glad you could make it! Please have a seat,” she gestured to the seat in front of her. It was a tiny reception area, and I was guessing the office through the door wasn’t much bigger. “I just had good feeling about you after seeing your resume. I just knew Mr. Bennett and Mr. Bailey had to meet you and see if you were the one,” she said in her peppy voice. “The one?” I asked, a little scared now. “We are a very close family here. Mindy was the last secretary here. She had to leave us after being here for five years. It was rough,” Ashley said, suddenly downcast. “So, we’re looking for a new family member, and I’m hoping that you are the one!” she said suddenly chipper again. “Okay, well, I hope I am too,” I said, not able to muster up that much enthusiasm. She smiled and went back to typing.

“Desiree?” a deep voice called out from the other side as a large hand opened the door. “Yes sir,” I answered. “Come on in,” the deep voice ordered, leaving the door cracked. I looked over at Ashley. “Go on, get in there,” she whispered. I timidly and softly pushed open the door with my resume in my hand. “Good morning, how are you?” a much higher voice asked. There, sitting in two office chairs, were Bennett and Bailey. The large hand and booming voice belonged to Bennett. He was about 6’2, red-faced, built like a line-backer, and his hand felt like it would crush mine when he shook my hand. His hair was cut like an army soldier’s. Bailey, however, had that high-pitched voice, was about 5’5 in stature, skinny as a rail, and had a quick but light handshake. They were a strange pairing.

The interview is a blur. I’m not even going to try to recount the questions that were asked, but I do remember answering with long and intelligent responses. They both nodded their heads and smiled throughout the interview. I do remember the last question. “So, what made you decide to leave Tennessee and retail management to come to Florida to work at a law firm?” Bennett asked, then gave me an intimidating stare. “I am ready to find where I belong, and I did not belong there. Something tells me that I belong right here,” I answered truthfully and smoothly. He nodded and smiled widely. “I think someone thinks you belong here. Ashley said she had a good feeling about you,” Bailey added. I smiled. “So, I’m going to be honest with you, Desiree. We have interviewed ten other candidates. Ashley chooses the candidates for us, weeding through the ones that are definitely not worth looking into. She didn’t have that “feeling” about anyone else. I’m not one to solely base decisions on intuition, so I have done all of these interviews to see who has the best credentials as well as the right personality for the position. There were a couple of other candidates that we were considering because they have the right credentials. They have more experience than you. Of course, we put entry level on the job poster, so we weren’t looking for a large amount of experience. I think it is better actually to find a fresh lump of clay with the right potential to mold into what we need,” Bennett explained. I felt the beating wings of the butterflies throughout my gut.

I walked out of the office and looked at Ashley. She looked back at me with wide, curious eyes. I smiled widely and giggled. I don’t giggle. “Oh my gracious, welcome to the family! Eek! I’m so happy we are going to be complete now,” Ashley squealed. “Thank you. Now I need to try to find a place to live because I’m starting in a couple of weeks,” I replied. I was about to turn to to leave when Ashley shoved a stack of papers in my face. “Take these with you. These are listings near Jacksonville that aren’t terribly expensive. Good luck!” she said. Oh, I was definitely being graced with plenty of that now. The road through misery had finally ended, and I turned on the road to happiness.

 

October 7, 2012

Wish this could be a happier blog…

Filed under: life,relationships — desi83 @ 6:13 am

Being unemployed has been kind of awful, and not even for financial reasons. I haven’t run out of money yet. It’s just very difficult for me to function without a schedule. When I don’t absolutely have to be anywhere, there’s no reason to go to bed at a reasonable hour. There’s no reason to get up in the a.m. I don’t have a real plan when I do get up, and when someone needs something or wants to hang out, I do it because I have all of this time. This is what I wanted for so long-free time. Now, my only purpose is to be there when someone needs me for something. I’m there to listen, because God knows I don’t want to talk about myself. I went to a concert the other night. A concert! It used to be that I never had time for such a thing. There have been dozens of concerts that I have missed because of work. I went, and I had a good time dancing to the music with some friends around me that I don’t see all that often. Trampled by Turtles played their modern style of bluegrass pop or whatever you want to call it. It was great. Everyone was stomping their feet, slapping their thighs, and dancing with their elbows out. It should have been a freeing moment for me. It was in a way. But my brain is always in this fog. I never am a hundred percent sure that I really am here, existing. I always know in the back of my mind that I don’t belong here. But I tried to enjoy it anyway. The air was cool and dry, the music was fun and bursting with all of these different sounds. Everyone around me was happy and enjoying the moment. Then, I met another friend there who was with some people I don’t know very well. One of the girls, whom I think he might be sort of dating, asked me what I do. I said, “nothing,” because that is the truth. Then I gave my generic explanation: quit crappy retail job and going back to school to teach. Ugh.

Then last night, I hung out with a friend I don’t see that often and her husband. They’re buying their first house in another city. She’s expecting their first child after the doctors said she may not be able to conceive. They’re both nurses who love their jobs and have pretty good salaries. They are living their life together, and it is full of happiness with so much more to come. I am so delighted to see that her dreams have come true. I never saw her as the marrying type, and certainly not the type to want a baby. Yet, that nurturing and self-less part of her personality has continually grown bigger and bigger as she’s gotten older. I am happy to see that she is having a good life.

I was telling my mom about my friend and her good fortune, and she reminded me that the pressure is on for me to find a good man with a good job like all my friends. It is true-they’re all either almost married or are married to wonderful, successful men. I don’t know where I belong, and I would like to find a way to explore other places and try new things, but right now I am having to figure out a way to survive. What job can I get that won’t make me want to shoot myself every day? Retail management drained every bit of creativity and sense of pride that I ever had in myself. So, for now, I guess I will try teaching again, and maybe I can find a way to do writing on the side. Because the fact is, I cannot function without a schedule. I need stability, and I have not had much of that since college. Tomorrow is another day, and next week is another week, and all of these days are just wasted.

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