Lucia sat quietly, staring at her phone blankly. Staying away from home now felt more unbearable than she imagined. Every hour felt like a day; a very long day. If only he would…
“Hey.” Lucia raised her head, snapping out of her daydream.
“Hey; I didn’t hear you come in.”
“Yeah, you seemed absent-minded. Are you expecting a call?” Mitch asked.
“Because I noticed you were staring at your phone; like you’re expecting it to ring any minute now.”
“No; I was thinking; my gaze just happened to be glued onto the phone. That’s all.”
“Are you ready for the meeting?”
“Sure, yes. Let’s go,” she said, getting up and picking up the files in front of her. They left the office.
Ted’s eyes popped open when he heard the doorbell ringing. He looked at his watch. Who could it be at this time? He reluctantly got up and walked towards the door. He opened it. There stood a smiling Anita.
“What are you doing here?”
“Good morning to you too, sleepy head. I came to get you to work since it seems you’ve decided to sleep the day off.”
“Which I have every right to do.”
“Not at the detriment of your company, you don’t.” She entered. He closed the door and yawned.
“I’ll get you some coffee whiles you go freshen up, okay?” Anita offered. He nodded and walked away. Anita walked into the kitchen. She winced when she saw the dirty plates in the sink.
“Wow…” she said to herself.
Ted walked into the living room after he had showered and sat down. He took the remote control and started flipping the channels. Anita walked in holding a tray.
“What is that?” He got his answer when Anita put the tray on his lap. Ted gasped in shock.
“You didn’t have to do this,” he said when he finally found the words.
“Never mind; besides it looks like you do need a homemade breakfast. This place really looks empty. So the saying that it is a woman who makes a home complete must be true. You must really miss Monique.” Ted sipped his coffee quietly.
“And I saw the mess you have in the sink. You were not planning on leaving them there in wait for Monique, were you?” Anita asked. Ted looked at her innocently.
“I guess you’ll take care of that for me.”
“I am not your house help, Ted.”
“I wasn’t asking you as my house help, Anita.” Anita smiled.
“I’ll be right back.” She came back with a mug of coffee and sat down beside him.
“Heard from her?” Ted stuffed his mouth with pieces of sausages to avoid the question.
Anita changed the subject to current issues on the news. After Ted was done with his breakfast, they sat at the dining table together.
“Come to think of it, I asked my secretary to bring me the files of my unfinished work. How did you get your hands on them?” Ted asked. Anita shrugged.
“Did I really just ask that?” Ted said with a chuckle.
“I wonder myself. I wanted to check up on you too. You seemed a little distracted for some time now.”
“Anyway thanks for bringing it over,” he said, avoiding the subject. Anita let it slide.
Lucia continued to stare at her phone, biting her fingers in anticipation. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she dialled Ted’s number. It kept ringing but he did not answer. She tried again but he still didn’t pick up. She sighed in frustration.
“You didn’t bring the file I asked the secretary to work on yesterday. I kind of need it. Let me call her,” Ted said and started looking for his phone.
“What is it?” Anita asked.
“My phone…I must have left it on the bed. I’ll be back in a minute,” he said, about to get up.
“Don’t bother; I have her number. Let me call her,” Anita offered. He sat back down. Anita called her and instructed her to bring over the file Ted needed over to his residence.
As the secretary was preparing to leave the office, the phone rang. She took it.
“Baker Bourbon Company, how may I help you?”
“Hey, it is me, Lucia. Is my husband in his office? I’ve tried calling him on his cellphone but he isn’t picking up.”
“No, madam. He is at working at home today.”
“Oh I see; so you’re there with Miss Morgan?”
“No, she’s over at Mr. Bourbon’s. She just called me to come over with a file they need to work on.”
Lucia’s heart missed a beat.
“What did you say?” The secretary realized she was treading on dangerous grounds. She swallowed.
“They are working together at home, madam.”
“I see; thanks. I’ll call you when I need anything else. Bye.” The line went dead. The secretary scolded herself for being so loose with her words. She left the office.
Lucia opened her apartment door when she heard a knock.
“Hey you,” she said lightheadedly with a smile.
“Hey you; what happened to your phone? I tried calling you several times but you never answered,” Mitch said as he entered and closed the door. Lucia emptied the wine in her glass.
“Yeah…about that, I decided to give my phone a break today.”
“Are you okay? You seem a bit…”
“Drunk? Nah, I’m not there yet but it is my goal at the end of the day,” she said and giggled.
“Okay; I figured you’d be indoors the whole day so I got us some Chinese…I hope you don’t mind.”
“It’s perfect, Mitch.” Lucia threw herself onto the couch and filled her glass. Mitch watched her worriedly. He went to sit beside her.
“Tell me, what’s going on with you, Monique?”
“I’m fine; I just feel like spoiling myself today, that’s all.”
“We both know that’s a lie. Come on, whatever it is, you can count on me. I do believe we are more than business associates. You can count on me as a friend.”
“How is it possible that guys can love two women at the same time? Because women don’t do that. When we commit ourselves to one guy, we give it our all but how do you guys do it?”
“Is this about your husband?” Mitch asked. She sipped her wine.
“Let’s eat, Mitch. I can feel my tummy grumbling.”
Mitch cleared it all up after they were done eating. As they watched a sitcom on TV, Mitch watched Lucia drift into deep thought. He gently hooked some stray hair behind her ear. She looked at him.
“I look pathetic, don’t I?” She asked him.
“No, you don’t; you look beautiful.” She smiled.
“Yeah, but sometimes being beautiful isn’t enough for a guy, is it?”
“Are you having problems with your husband, Monique?” She chuckled.
“I came here to have some time alone to think things through and now looking back, I think I’ve made the biggest mistake ever. I might as well have just offered him to her on a silver plate,” she said to herself.
“What are you talking about?” Mitch asked, confused. Lucia glanced at him.
“What do you see when you look at me, Mitch?”
“I see a beautiful person, not just in looks but in heart. You are kind-hearted and you like to see the better part in everyone. Your smile brightens the room and your sad countenance breaks the heart of the beholder. I don’t know what is going on with your husband but I do know that he is a fool to look past you and see someone else because you’re every man’s dream woman. You deserve all the care, affection and attention that a man can give because you are one kind of a special lady,” Mitch said sincerely. Lucia blushed and emptied her glass.
“It’s rather unfortunate that we didn’t meet sooner,” Mitch said softly. She looked at him.
Ted sighed heavily. Anita entered the living room and sat down beside him with a bowl of chips. He took some and popped them into his mouth.
“You know you shouldn’t be here, right?” Ted asked.
“I know but you’re here all alone and I don’t like to see you like that. So I’m going to keep you company. Don’t worry, I’ll leave before it gets too late,” Anita said. He chuckled.
“Dinner will soon be ready.”
“Everything. If it weren’t for your help, I wouldn’t have finished what I was supposed to.”
“And for clearing out the sink.”
“And for your company.”
“You’re welcome, Ted Bourbon. We have had one hell of a relationship Ted but fate has a funny way of drawing us back together. Don’t you wonder what it all means?”
“It means we had our fun and then I moved on but you didn’t. You’re still holding on to what we had which doesn’t exist anymore.”
“Are you sure about that?” Anita asked.
“Yes I am and do you want to know how I’m so sure? Because the first person that comes to mind when I wake up in the morning is not you, Anita and I don’t think about you before I go to bed.”
“And during the day, who do you daydream about especially now that she’s absent?”
“You know the saying that says ‘absence makes the heart fonder’?”
“What about the one that says ‘out of sight, out of mind’?”
“Doesn’t apply to me. I know Lucia is thinking of me right now just as I am thinking of her. Our hearts beat for each other. You have to find the one to experience what I’m talking about, Anita.”
“I did find him; he left me for another.”
“We didn’t gel like that Anita, and you know it. Our marriage would have been one of convenience for me and of financial security to you and such an arrangement is bound to crumble down any day.”
“I did love you, Ted; I do love you.”
“I believe you but I don’t. I’m in love with someone else.”
“Why don’t you check on what you put on fire, Anita?” Ted said. Anita stared at him for a moment and got up. Ted closed his eyes as he leaned his head on the couched and whispered his wife’s name.
“You seem like a great guy, Mitch; just like my husband. Charming, smooth and a complete gentleman. But great guys like you always have psychopathic ex-girlfriends,” Lucia said. Mitch laughed.
“Is that the kind you’re dealing with right now, the psychopathic type?”
“I think only the Queen of the England can find the right words to describe the leech I’m dealing with,” Lucia said and sipped her wine.
“I think you’ve had enough,” Mitch said, taking the glass from her. Lucia laughed.
“What are you, my babysitter?”
“Nope but I’m definitely taking you to bed.”
“Whoa!” Lucia said as Mitch helped her up.
“You’re so drunk.” He led her to the bedroom. He lay her down and covered her with the bedspread. She held his arm when he turned to leave.
“Please don’t leave,” she begged.
“You’ll be fine, Monique. You’ll soon go off and by the time your pretty eyes open again, it will be morning.”
“No, please don’t leave,” Monique insisted, sitting up. She pulled him to her such that, he knelt in front of her. She held his face and looked at him intently.
“Where were you a year ago?” She muttered.
Ted escorted Anita to the door when she got ready to leave. He opened the door.
“Thanks again for passing by, Anita. It was fun,” Ted said gratefully. She nodded. She hugged him and when they drew apart, she kissed him. For a moment, Ted didn’t stop her. He gently held her back.
“You can’t tell me you didn’t feel anything because I did. We still feel something for each other, Ted; just admit it.”
“You just confirmed what I said earlier. I moved on, you still held on to me. I’m over you, Anita. I didn’t feel anything because your kiss doesn’t speak to me like Lucia’s.”
“You may never know; she might be in another man’s arms right now.”
“I choose not to think along that line and even if she is, my love is strong enough to forgive her.”
“Whatever. See you in the office tomorrow.” She walked away. Ted closed the door.
He entered his bedroom and saw his phone. He took it and saw the missed call from Lucia. He called her back.
Mitch glanced at Lucia’s phone when it began ringing. He switched it off and turned to look at Lucia who had fallen asleep. He sighed.