Saturday, December 22, 2007

Day 11 of 12 DAYS OF CHICA LIT




“Oh, my God, Nancy, I think this is the one,” sings Celestina from behind the stall. “Your brother loves green, too.”
I just mumble, “Yup, he sure does.” She swore the last three dresses she tried on were the One. My cell phone rings, indicating that I have a text message. I reach into my pocket for it and flip it open.
Have you forgotten to pay your bill? For your convenience, you can pay 24 hours online or at., . .
I slam the phone closed and shove it back into my two-year old parka.
“Is that yours or mine?” Cee asks.
“Mine,” I say. “Telemarketers.”
“Girl, you have to put your cell phone number on the Do Not Call list, too,” Celestina swears that my brother is going to propose to her at her company’s holiday party and has dragged me to three department stores from Manhattan to Westchester to find the perfect dress. I have no idea if Migs intends to pop the question. That boy doesn’t talk to me about things like that even though his girlfriend for the past three years is my best friend. Maybe that’s precisely why he doesn’t talk to me about her.
Celestina steps out of the stall wearing a strapless emerald velvet gown with a matching silk taffeta stole around the bodice. Even without a stitch of makeup and her hair pulled up in a lumpy ponytail, she looks fantastic. If he has no plans on proposing, Migs just might after one look at her in that dress.
“Wow, Cee, you’re right,” I say as I stand in amazement. “That’s the One.”
“You really think so?”
“Definitely.”
Gathering the fabric in her hands so she won’t trip over the hem, she comes over to hug me. “I can’t wait until we’re officially sisters, Nancy.”
“Me, too, Cee.” We hold each other for a second. “Cee?”
“Yeah?”
“Can we go eat now?”

************************************************************************
When I accepted Cee’s dinner invitation tonight, I knew that in exchange for the free meal, I first would have to endure at least three hours of Christmas shopping. Last year, I would’ve been all for it. This year, however, I’m so broke, my eyes have splinters. It hurts to look at anything I can’t afford which is pretty much everything. It’s so bad that despite my lack of holiday cheer, I force myself to go every holiday party I can for the free hor’deurves and liquor.
So I appreciate Celestina making dinner all about me. Cee lets me choose the restaurant, doesn’t blink an eye when I order my third margarita and lets me go on and on about how much it sucks to be so broke during Christmas because the at-home graphic design business that I quit my dull but well-paying job at a major stationery company to start is almost dead.
“The worst thing is that I’ve been so good, Cee.” I take a big gulp and polish off Margarita #3. “I mean, if I were being irresponsible with my money or slacking off, I’d admit it to you even if no one else. But I’ve been so. . . so. . . “
Cee spears a crouton on her Caesar salad. “Disciplined?”
“Sooooo disciplined, and I’ve got ssssquat to show for it.” I reach for my fork, and drop it the second I lift it off the table. OK, I’m at the edge of drunkenness. You know, that point where you’ve drunk enough to affect your speech and coordination yet sober enough to be aware and embarrassed by the slurring and the dropsies. That’s when you’re supposed to quit. “Where’s the ssserver? I need another fork. And a Cosmo.”
God bless Cee. She rolls her eyes but bites her tongue. That’s a friend. Instead she says, “Oh, before I forget. Santa dropped this off for you at our place.” She reaches down into one of her shopping bags and pulls out a gift-wrapped box.
I stare at the box. “Oh, my God, Cee, you didn’t. . . “I finally accept it and unwrap it. She bought me the latest BlackBerry which does everything – makes calls, sends email, plays music, washes dishes. . . No wonder it costs almost four hundred dollars without a service plan.
Cee smiles. “Well, I didn’t. I mean, that’s from both your brother and me. You’re an entrepreneur, Nancy, and every entrepreneur needs a PDA.”
Only if she’s successful. I know Migs and she meant nothing but the best, but the extravagant gift makes me feel worse. No one – not even my parents and nieces in Florida – is getting a thing from me this Christmas except cards which I’ve been too depressed to even send.
And as if she can read my mind, Cee says, “We just loved the card you made for us, Nancy. Instead of hanging it along with the rest of the cards we received, Migs framed it and hung it on the wall. You’re so talented, Nancy.”
After such tremendous generosity, I don’t know if I have the heart to tell Cee that I can barely keep my current cellular phone service never mind switch to. . .
“Wait a minute. . .” I reach for my jacket and pat down the pockets. Then I start to panic. “Oh, shit! Cee, I lost my cell phone.”
Cee laughs and raises her glass. “You don’t need it anymore!”
I grab my purse and scour through it. “What do you mean I don’t need it? It’s the only telephone I have. My entire address book is in there.” I hadn’t told her that the telephone company disconnected the outgoing service on my landline because my account is sixty days overdue. If I don’t pay before the year is out, they’re going to cut my incoming service, too. “And what if a potential client calls me, and I can’t get back to them.” Never mind that for the past three months the only business calls I get are about my outstanding invoices with Yahoo! and Staples. “The last thing I need right now, Celestina, is for some pendejo to rack up calls on my phone and send my bill soaring through the roof!”
“OK, OK, OK, Nancy, calm down.” Cee should know better than to say that to me. I slam my head down on the table and start to cry. “C’mon, you’re getting garlic sauce in your hair.”
That works. I don’t want to walk around smelling like tilapia. Although at the rate I’m going, that will be inevitable since I’m also behind in my rent. I lift my head, but bury my face in my sleeve. “This is the worst Christmas I’ve had in my entire life.”
Cee reaches over with a napkin to wipe garlic sauce out of my split ends because it’s been six months since I’ve gotten a trim never mind gotten my hair done. “Look, we’ll head back to Nordstrom. How much you wanna bet it’s in the dressing room? That’s where you used it last, right?” I nod like an unconvinced toddler. “Let’s just get the check and go back. They’re probably holding it for you.”
She summons the server for the check, and we head back to mall. On the way, Cee even calls the store and asks if anyone found my phone. Two seconds after she asks, the look on her face gives away the answer.
“Let’s go anyway and look for ourselves,” says Cee. Then she starts scanning the sidewalk like a Basset hound. “We’ll retrace our steps and. . .”
“If I dropped the phone between Nordstrom’s and PF Chang’s, forget it. It’s gone. If someone didn’t kick it into traffic, and it got smashed by a truck, they picked it up and are singing Feliz Navidad to their abuelita a million miles away.”
“C’mon, Nancy, let’s at least go back to Nordstrom. Just because the girl who answered the phone didn’t see it doesn’t mean no one else there did. You never know.”
“No, Cee, I just want to go home.”
“OK.”
Cee drives us back from White Plains to the Bronx, allowing me to brood in silence and changing the radio station every time the DJ decides to play a holiday jingle. Only when she finally pulls off the exit and heads toward our neighborhood does she speak “Why don’t you come by our place for a bit?” says Cee. “Your brother’s been asking for you. I’m sure he’d like to see you.
Translation: Migs wants to be sure you’re not going to ruin our holidays by hanging yourself with the Christmas lights. “Some other time, Cee, OK?”
“OK.” She gives me a hug, reminds me not to forget my new BlackBerry and tells me she’ll call me later. Once I get back to my studio, I fling myself across the futon and cry myself to sleep.

************************************************************************
I wake up around ten the next morning in the same exact position where I crashed. Slowly but surely, I get myself up. That’s when I notice the light blinking on my telephone. When I came to accept that the only calls I was going to get were from collection departments and not potential clients, I shut off the ringer on the telephone and turned down the volume on the answering machine. Since I feel bad about being such a grinch, I turn up the volume and play my messages just in case I received a call from Cee or Migs or some other relative. Maybe just maybe, a long lost friend that I had blown off one time too many while starting my soon-to-be defunct graphic design business is feeling charitable this season and has decided to give me one last chance. So I hit play and listen while pressing my fingers into my face trying to iron out the sleep wrinkles embedded in my right cheek.
The first message is from that same chick with the thick accent. This is Kathleen from Universal Fidelity calling Nancy Aguire. Miss Aguire, this is not a telemarketing call, and I need. . .”
“It’s Aguirre, ¡idiota! Ah-GHEE-reh not Uh-GWY-er!” I yell at the machine. “That’s why I’m not going to call you back never mind pay you.” I glance at the caller ID window on the machine. Area code 281. Isn’t that freakin’ Texas? Then she really should know better. Any excuse, right? I hit delete, realizing that if I had had ordered voicemail service through my telephone company instead of splurging almost two hundred dollars on this home office system, good ol’ Kathleen from Universal Fidelity wouldn’t be breathing down my neck right now because Verizon would’ve cut off the voicemail. I can’t even screw up right.
“Nancy? It’s Migs. Yo, Nancy, pick up. Look, mama, I know things are real tough right now for you, and I just want you to know I’ve got your back, OK? I’ll help you best as I can even though I’m not exactly rolling in it since. . .” He lowers his voice into a whisper. Well, as close to a whisper as a Puerto Rican six-foot-two, muscle-bound correction officer raised in a South Bronx housing project can manage. I just bought Celestina an engagement ring, OK, and, so help me God, you best not breathe a word to her. You hear me, Nancy? I don’t care if she is your best friend. If you say anything to her, I’ma go over there and kick your ass. I swear, Nancy, as I live and breathe. . . In the background, I hear Cee enter the room and ask if my brother if he reached me. So if push comes to shove, and you need to stay with us until you get back on your feet, you know, you can. OK, mama? I’ll try you again later.
Despite the threat to do me bodily harm if I spoil his proposal, I’m moved by my brother’s offer. I know it’s sincere and had nothing to do with Cee’s prodding. I’d just rather pitch a tent underneath a bypass of the Bronx River Parkway than move in on two newlyweds. I put the volume on maximum, skip to the next message and head over to the kitchen to make myself some coffee.
Nancy. . . It’s Jay. Wow, it’s been what? Definitely more than a year. Even though my refrigerator is in my living room, I spin around and run back to the phone. Listen, a little bird told me that you lost your cell phone at Nordstrom’s. No, the bird’s name is not Celestina who I’m sure was with you at the time buying out the place. Anyway, if you want to find out how I know and to make arrangements to get your phone back, give me a shout. My cell’s the same. . . It’ll be good to hear your voice… you know, in person. Well, not in person, but. . . you know what I mean. Looking forward to talking to you, Nancy. Bye.
How on earth did the ex-boyfriend that I haven’t spoken to in over a year get his hands on the cell phone I lost in White Plains?
Although Jay and I parted on good terms, I feel nervous as I dial his new number. The last time we saw each other. . . I can’t even remember. After we broke up, we made a genuine effort to remain friends and even got together for coffee two or three times. But I was knee-deep in building my own business, and he was trying to get his doctorate in psychology. Once I cancelled dinner to take on a last-minute rush job that would have brought me some desperately needed income. We rescheduled for lunch two weeks later only for Jay to bail because his advisor gave him a break-neck deadline to revise a chapter of his dissertation. I’m not sure, but I think he was supposed to call me to reschedule but never did, and so we just fell out of touch. Until now.
I’m sorry. Your call cannot be completed. Please call. . .
“Shit!” In my surprise over Jay’s call, I forgot that I had no outgoing service. I pull on my jacket and walk the five blocks to Celestina and Miguel’s apartment.

************************************************************************
As I dial Jay’s number from the telephone in my brother’s bedroom, I feel like a linebacker with Celestina sitting on my neck like a huge shoulder pad. I look over to her and mouth His voicemail. Cee sucks her teeth and backs off me a bit.
But then I realize that I’m not prepared for this call at all.Just as the beep sounds, I hang up. Celestina gives me a questioning look. “Cee, why did Jay and I break up again?” I ask, “I mean, I remember all the damned fighting. But what was it the hell about. I can’t remember.”
Cee shrugs. “Everything. Stupid shit. All that fighting about nothing, that’s why you had to break up.”
I nod, but I’m not satisfied. It makes sense, and yet it doesn’t. “Oh, what’s the big deal?” I finally say as I dial Jay’s number for the second time. “Hey, Jay, it’s Nancy. What a nice surprise to hear your voice after all this time! Yes, I’m super curious to hear how you got your hands on my cell phone which I do need back right away so. . .” For a second, I’m lost for words. Celestina puts her hand to her ear as if she’s making a call. . . “. . . uh, yeah, call me back. Youhavethenumbersothanksbye!” I disconnect the call. I don’t know where that sudden wave of anxiety came from.
“You should’ve left him this number, too, you know, and hang out for a bit in case he calls back.”
“What for?” Before she can even answer that, I say, “Besides, it’s bad enough my broke-ass is going to have to see him to get my phone back, I don’t need him calling here looking for me.”
“Why not? What’s so terrible about seeing Jay?”
“It’s not Jay. It’s me. I don’t want him to see me like this.”
Cee looks me up and down. “OK, so you need a trim and the highlights haven’t grown out, but so what? You put your hair up. A little makeup, a nice outfit. . .”
“Cee, it’s not the way I look.” I throw myself backwards on her bed and stare up at her ceiling. “It’s the way I am. If you were in my shoes, would you want an ex-boyfriend to see you this way?”
“What are you going to do?” Cee’s upside down face pops over mine. “Wait until your life is perfect before you meet the guy to get your phone back?”
“No,” I say. “But I should at least get a damn job.”
Migs comes into the bedroom with his Love you but get out face so I head home.

************************************************************************
Who happens to call me while I was walking the five blocks?
Nancy! Where are you? You just called me. Probably at some party rubbing elbows with other artsy types. Hope you’re having a good time. Anyway, I’ll be up pretty late so if you want to find out how I got your phoooone, call me back when you get in.
Shit! Why doesn’t the man just tell me? No way in hell am I heading back to Cee’s to return his call. Besides Jay thinks I have a life. Let him. I’ll go get one tomorrow and then call him back.

************************************************************************
With a batch of quarters in my purse and my resume on a flash drive, I go to the neighborhood library so I can search for a job. I’m not above getting a customer service gig at a department store just to keep myself afloat, but what’s the point? The holiday season is underway so there’s probably no work in retail to be had. Better to invest my time in finding something more permanent.
When I feel my resume is in decent shape, I take a break to call Jay on the pay phone. The library is virtually empty during a cold weekday so the conditions are ideal. Having done something to better my situation, I feel ready to speak directly to him.
I take a deep breath and dial only to get his voicemail.
Tag, you’re it. . . I give a small laugh. You know what, Joaquín? I’m starting to wonder if you truly want to return my phone. Don’t let me find out you’re using up all my minutes. Whoa, where did that come from? I sound way too flirty. I hit three on the keypad so I can erase and rerecord my message. I wait for the cue, but it never comes. Only then I remember that feature only works on my phone. ¡Que estupida! I immediately slam the receiver down and back away from the phone as if it were possessed. Should I call back and apologize for the obnoxious beep I left on Jay’s voicemail? No, that would be even more pathetic.
Instead I head back to my job search. I keep it at for a few hours not stopping until my eyes blur and my stomach growls. Do I save time and grab fast (and not inexpensive) food near the library or do I save money and walk the three blocks back to my apartment and make myself a (free) meal? I decide it’s best to go home.

************************************************************************
Waiting for me are five messages. Four are about overdue accounts including one from the telephone company. The last, of course, is from Jay and starts with a husky laugh.
Don’t worry, Nancy. I’m not using up your minutes. Damn, you called me Joaquín, too? You must mean business. Now what if I were using your phone? What were you going to do about it? Spank me? He laughs again and then hangs up.
I laugh like I haven’t in weeks. One of the things Jay used to do to crack me up was that silly spank-the-booty dance. Whenever I had an unproductive day and refused to cheer up, he’d just start galloping around and smacking his own ass just to make me laugh. It never failed. Once we had a big argument about something before meeting Cee and Migs at the movies for a double date. I was behind on a job, he was stuck on a chapter. . . I don’t think either of us really wanted to go out, but somehow we got started on each other. Right there in the middle of the multiplex lobby, Jay starts to gallop, and I just couldn’t stay mad at him. It takes guts for a man to do that in public, especially in front of his girlfriend’s muy macho older brother.
While waiting for my griddle cheese sandwich to heat, I scour through my jar of loose change for more quarters. I toss them in my purse, wrap my sandwich in a paper towel and walk back to the library, eating along the way. I even stop at a bakery and splurge on a large cup of hot chocolate.

************************************************************************
Before I settle in front of a computer at the library, I head over to the pay phone and call back Jay. Once again, I get his voicemail, and I don’t mind. I decide to play with him just a little. Spank you? From what I remember, you’d like that. A lot. Now me? All I want for Christmas is my phone so would you pretty please let me know when and where we can meet? I’m pretty flexible. From what I remember, you liked that, too.
Whoa, I didn’t mean to go that far! What’s gotten into me? Well, what’s done is done. And what’s a little flirtation between exes turned friends? It’s sweet even if it’s going nowhere.

************************************************************************
Over the next few days, Jay and I compare schedules and make a date via telephone tag. Not once does he ask me why I never call him from my home number, and I stop asking him how he wound up with my cell phone. He flirts up a storm, and while I can’t deny it puts a smile on my face, I do my best not to give him the impression I’m interested. Still I tease him a little so as not to hurt his feelings.
So you’re still flexible, huh? Well, then we should get together soon.
Real soon. Like tomorrow night. How ‘bout Café Sevilla’s at six?
Hi, Jay. Café Sevilla, yes. Tomorrow night, no. Migs and Cee are insisting I go to her office Christmas party because he’s going to pop the question. Migs has no clue that she sees it coming, Cee doesn’t know that I know he bought the ring, they both need me for moral support. You know how it goes. I’d like to invite you, but I don’t know. . . I’m starting to think you’re a figment of my imagination. You know, an eggnog mirage. Like Santa, I’ma need to see you to believe you. Byyye!
Misss Nancelot! You know, I almost took you up on your invitation to Cee’s office party, but I decided I want you to myself. And by the way, I known you know I’m real. You know how I know? I’ll tell you when I see you. Sevilla’s on Friday?
J-Real, so we be chillin’ at Sevilla’s on Friday, but can we make it seven, babe? I have an appointment in Brooklyn at four. Don’t want to be late lest you get it twisted. I ain’t skeered of you.

************************************************************************
The interview I scored at the up and coming design boutique in Williamsburg goes so well, I lose track of time. I had applied only because I had no choice but to go back into the traditional workforce, but fifteen minutes after I arrive, I decide I really want this job. The pay is much less than I made at the stationery company since it’s a mom-and-pop shop – or maybe I should say a papi-y-papi shop since my bosses are two older Latino gay men – but the job requires true creativity. Not only will I gain new skills, I’ll also learn about the business. I can see myself happily making the hour-and-half commute every day for several years until I either become a partner or strike out on my own again with a real shot at making it.
I leave the loft knowing that the reference check is just a formality, and I can’t wait to see Jay and tell him all about it. I glance at the clock in the lobby. It’s five-thirty. I’ll be cutting it close, but I should make it to Café Sevilla’s on time, especially since it’s rush hour. And first chance I get, I’ll switch to the express. On my way to the subway station, it starts to flurry, and the holiday spirit just grabs me. I even start humming Sleigh Ride. When I realize how corny I’m being, I actually start to sing.

************************************************************************
Ladies and gentlemen, there’s a problem with the train in front of us. As soon as we can, we will be moving. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
Liar! We have moved, like, seven inches in the last half-hour. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t bother me. I’m a native New Yorker, and like it or not, these unforeseen delays happen, and I can take them in stride. But not today, damn it! For the past year and a half I’ve been working from home with only rare occasion to go into Manhattan, and now the subway wants to act up?
It wouldn’t be so bad if my train at least had paused in a station. That way I could just get off, find a pay phone and let Jay know that I’m running late. But we’re stuck underground where I couldn’t even get a signal if I had my cell phone.
The train finally crawls into the next station, making me a half-hour late. At least now I can do something besides sit and wait. I paw my way through the rush-hour crowd – thicker with the holiday shopping bags – and onto the platform. I practically have to walk to the other end to find a pay phone.
I lose a dollar and watch my train leave the station before I realize that bastard doesn’t work. But I keep my cool. It’s not like that train is going to pick up speed and make up time. I look at the system map and see that another subway line is not far. I’ll just walk to it and stop at a pay phone to call Jay on the way.

************************************************************************
Damn it, I forgot how deceivingly close things seem on a Metropolitan Transit Authority map. Not to mention how a working pay phone in New York City is much like Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer – something that ceased to exist in my universe once I turned ten.
I walk at least a mile in my interview pumps and lose several more dollars at five pay phones before I reach the next subway line. I imagine Jay sitting at Sevilla’s, checking his watch and wondering if I stood him up. Having used my cell phone instead of wearing a watch for years, I have no idea what time it is until I get to the station. It’s now a quarter after six. I can forget about getting there by seven. At best, I’ll make it by seven-thirty. That is, if nothing else goes wrong.
Jay will give me until seven-thirty. He knows I’d call him if I could. I mean, the man knows I have no phone. Well, at least no mobile phone. He has my cell phone. So he’ll cut me some slack and give me until seven-thirty.
Won’t he?
I mean, he’s been flirting with me for over a week. Surely, Jay’s not going to jump ship at the first misunderstanding, is he?
Then again, why shouldn’t he? Especially since I’ve been playing hard to get. Well, not playing, but. . .
I have to do something. Last night I swallowed my pride and asked Cee to lend me a few bucks. Despite all his flirtation, I didn’t want to risk that Jay would offer to treat me to dinner. Even if he did, I planned to insist on paying for myself. The way I see it, I have two choices.
One, I could just stick with public transportation with the hope that Jay is still waiting for me at the restaurant. Once there I then could recover a modicum of pride by paying for my own meal. And I would never have to reveal just how much life has sucked for the past few months.
Two, I could use the cash I have to take a cab, perhaps get there only fashionably late and confess my poverty to Jay when it came time to order.
“Taxi!”

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Those damned flurries I had been serenading just hours before become the bane of my existence. They contribute to a three car fender-bender on the FDR Drive. I arrive at Café Sevilla’s at ten after eight. As I run from the cab to the entrance, I keep telling myself that Jay’s still there. Of course, he’s there. Jay’s here.
But he isn’t.
At least, I have enough cash left for a margarita. Reluctant to head home to an answering machine of messages from collection agencies threatening to keep me out of heaven, Cee dying to know how my momentous day went, and Jay sparing the fewest words to let me know that my cell phone is in the mail, I sidle up to the bar. I ask the bartender to bring me a margarita. As he prepares it, I reach into my purse to pay only to
realize that the bill I thought was a twenty is actually only a five.
I would’ve burst into tears if Jay didn’t fly through the door that second. “Nancy!” He’s adorably messy, and I find myself wondering – hoping – that I look the same to him.
“Joaquín!” We give each other a hug, and I get a whiff of his cologne. I have to smile because Jay never wears cologne.
“Thank God, you’re still here.” He exhales and plops onto the barstool next to me. “You wouldn’t believe how bad traffic was.”
I laugh. “Try me.”
He seems relieved that I’m not pissed. “And I couldn’t call you. . .”
“. . . because you have my phone.” I wait for Jay to order himself a Scotch and soda. “Speaking of which. . .”
He grins at me. “I got your phone because the sales clerk at Nordstrom who found it called me. So I drove to White Plains to pick it up.”
He pauses to sip his drink as if that’s all there is to it. “Why of all people in my address book would she call you, Jay? It’s not like you were one of my recent calls. We haven’t spoken in over a year.”
Jay reaches into his pocket and pulls out my cell phone. He opens it up and scrolls through it. “Because I’m still your primary I.C.E.,” he says as he finally returns my telephone.
I take it from him. In my address book, he has highlighted I.C.E. #1- Jay. I.C.E #2 says Miguel and I.C.E. #3, of course, is Celestina.
Now it makes sense. When we moved in together, I made Jay my primary In Case of Emergency contact, and after all this time, I never changed it. To think that there was a time Jay outranked my older brother and best friend. That’s how much he meant to me.
And he still does, I realize. That’s why I snapped out of my whiny funk when Jay reappeared in my life. That’s why I had to get to Sevilla’s before he could leave. That’s how Jay knows that I know he’s real.
I feel Jay’s hand brushing my hair off my face in a way that tells me he hasn’t noticed the split ends or the dulling highlights. He asks, “I’ve missed you so much, Nancy.”
“Even after all the fighting over nothing?”
“But it wasn’t over nothing. You were starting the business, I was trying to finish my dissertation, and those things became more important than our relationship. We were drifting apart.” Jay takes my hands in his. “I used to think that was the reason why were starting arguments with each other over the stupidest thing. That that’s why the best thing was to break up.”
“So did I.”
“Well, now I understand that sometimes people who love each other fight as a way to connect. Or in our case, stay connected. I like to think that if we had known that then, we would’ve found a way to work it out.”
“New psychological insight, huh?” I lean forward to press my forehead against Jay’s chin. I wait for him to kiss my forehead and then pull back to look into his eyes. “Hey, you’re Dr. Ocasio now, aren’t you?” In the year and half since we were together, Jay must have completed and defended his dissertation. I reach for my margarita. “We have to celebrate.”
Jay’s eyes flutter. “Not quite. . .” He tries to laugh off the embarrassment of not having yet earned his doctorate. “Let’s stay positive. Tell me how’s the business going.”
“Oh. It’s going.” I roll my eyes. “Going, going, gone.” Jay and I laugh. “I guess this wasn’t our year, Jay.” I raise my glass in a toast. “To next year.”
Jay lifts his Scotch and soda. “Our year.”
We tap our glasses, but instead of taking sips, we kiss.

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Want to win not one, not two, but all three Black Artemis novels I've written to date? Then post your answer to this question below before midnight: What Brooklyn neighborhood did Nancy go to for her job interview? A random winner will be selected from all the correct entries and tomorrow the winner's name will posted on Toni Plummer's blog along with the last story of the tour. Enjoy and Good

3 comments:

Karin said...

The interview I scored at the up and coming design boutique in Williamsburg

I enjoyed the story - sometimes we do get so into what we are doing that we forget who is important!

Karin

anne said...

Wonderful story. Enjoyable.

Williamsburg

Black Artemis said...

I'n glad you both enjoyed the story, and I've entered you in the contest. Be sure to go to http://www.myspace.com/toniplummer to find out who won. Good luck and happy holidays!