I knocked several times on Iris' door. There was scrambling on the other side, but it's safe to say she took her precious time. When the door opened she yanked me in and held on to my coat and dress shirt for dear life. "Help me!" She exclaimed, pointing at the TV across the living room. The Victoria's Secret fashion show was on and criminally beautiful women were going down the catwalk in huge, puffy wings and sexy lingerie. Did I forget to mention Iris used to model? She's beautiful, Iris, and since very young she took modeling classes. She's great and wanted to go pro, but her mother always held her back. Looking now at the Victoria's Secret Angels I can understand why it would be torture for Iris. I keep asking her why she wouldn't try going into the America's Next Top Model show? There's always an excuse.
"We've talked about this. The reason why you're held back is you. Now where is my food?" I tossed my coat on her couch and patted her head before I dragged her to the table with me. I sat at the dinning table and waited oh so patiently for my food.
"You're so mean." She took to the kitchen and served a plate of white rice, beans and pork-chop for me and sat across my chair with another plate with only pork-chop. She must have already eaten before I got home.
"Realistic." I corrected. "Hey, did you check if that package I was waiting for arrived? I've bee waiting for it for weeks."
"No, but you did get a letter from your parents." She jumped off her chair and grabbed a small stack of letters from her living room couch and handed them over. The letter from my parents was at the top and at the bottom was what could only be bills. For the sake of my sanity I ignored them, deciding I'd look over them tomorrow morning. The letter from my parents was actually a holiday card. A Valentine's day greeting that wished me a great Valentine's Day and whatnot. I used to get small gifts when I was much younger. Mom would surprise me in the morning with a gift bag that contained cute little trinkets and chocolate. Again, I wasn't much for this holiday, but I smiled wide because they never missed a single chance to send me cute letters and their love. They were great and I still see them as often as possible. They lived in Philadelphia, which was shy of two hours away. Iris and I ride down together and spend Christmas and New Years with them.
Iris' parents were still back in the island. She takes a trip every now and then, but lately her job has been keeping her pretty busy. Iris is a nurse, and still studying. So, between her job and studies she's been tied down to this place. Also, the bills she has to pay now on her own are not helping. I'm in the same boat, but lets face it. Taking a three hour plane is nothing like taking a two hour drive.
"Mom called. She says things have been harder with dad since my brother left." Iris began. I knew where this was going and I felt the urge to stop her, but I knew she needed to get it out of her chest. "I don't know Billie. Maybe I should go back. Don't you think? I mean they are all alone." I could see the conflict in her eyes and how the guilt was eating at her. I can't imagine what it must be like having your parents so far for so long.
"I don't think you should be going back anywhere. They understand why you left, Iris. They get you're making something out of yourself. You're a nurse, darlin'. They are fine and you said yourself you could go see them this summer."
"I know." She sighed dramatically and sat crossed legged over the beat up couch we got from a thrift shop a few months ago. "So what was it you needed to tell me?" She was leaning back when she asked, with her middle finger and index raised and gestured in to a peace sign. She was no hippie. What she was is a recovering smoker. She got into the habit of it two years back when studies, work and her parents overwhelmed her. It didn't last long, mostly because I bitched at her until she gave up on it.
"Right." I finished up eating and turned to her. "Do you remember that Chase Fletcher?"
"Of course. The man is super hot, not to mention a love expert. I think I've seen his stuff featured in magazines"
"He's working with us now, for a few months now actually. And he's my new partner."
"What?! No way. How can you forget to tell me something like that? I got paired up with a new nurse who can't even bother to spray on some cologne." Iris looked at her watch for a long time before speaking again. "Has he asked you out?"
I let out a laugh. "No. It's not like that at all. Besides, I'm sure he has some poor girl wondering around and drooling over him. A guy like that couldn't possibly be single." Although, I've never seen a girlfriend or a wife come into the office. Ever.
"A guy like that? Watch it, Bill. I'm starting to think you might actually be interested."
I shook my head and took my plate to the kitchen. I washed Iris' plate as well before taking to her living room and collapsing beside her to watch a new episode of The Flash. That's also when my phone vibrated in my purse. I could hear the buzzing over the TV's sound and searched for it. A message was on display when I unlocked the phone.
"Love: an intense feeling of deep affection."
It was from an unknown number, but of course it was Chase. I didn't even question how he got my number because out of all the female clerical assistants in the company I knew at least a hundred percent of them would roll over to give him what he wants. I get it. Most women would be dying for this kind of attention, yet he targets the least interested one in all the building. Men truly want what they can't have. After deleting the message I sat back down next to Iris and enjoyed the show with her. My eyes were half way closed near the end, but I wasn't going to miss a thing. The Flash is my favorite show and Iris loves it because one of the characters has her name.
When the episode ended I went home, a good ten feet from Iris' apartment. I still had some work to catch up on before showering and going to bed. I sat at my desk and turned on my laptop, which was synced with my work desktop. As soon as the screen loaded I searched trough my files to find the one on Fletcher's story. At first I started writing a general opinion, one everyone would agree to. The problem was, I couldn't make sense of any of it. Instead, I wrote my own opinion just or the hell of it. It wasn't all bad, but it wasn't all good. If Fletcher gets a look at this he would probably... Well I don't know. The guy is a mystery to me. For all I know it could make him that much more determined to convert me into a mindless, love loving, psycho woman. Or he'd quit and live the rest of his life thinking his work was a waste, but that would be giving my writing too much credit.
I deleted it as soon as I was finished. I tried one more time with a general opinion. It was useless. I was tired and at a loss for words. It wasn't at all like me to give up, even if the story I'm covering is is, in my opinion, a waste of space. I should be out there, covering major stories. Not writing about love and a guy who thinks he knows it all. I've never had to turn to what I was about to do next. I guess there is a first time for everything. With that reaching its pivotal moment, I dragged myself to the bathroom and took a long, hot shower. Soon I sat on the edge of my bed with my phone in hand I thought twice as my fingers hovered over the numbers pad.
Without giving myself that much time to think it through some more, I called my mother. As expected, she picked up after an eternal ringing.
"Tell me." Was the first thing she said. I could hear her fingers rushing over the keyboard, which could only mean she was working on the lesson plans for the week. Mom was a teacher. A really good one. She did more than what her job asked of her and because of it she has recently been promoted to run the child center she works at.
"I can't write. I have this silly story I have to cover and my new partner was assigned to me today." I felt like a child. Mom always had that effect on me.
"I'm guessing you don't like him, or her." She began. "Get to know this person. You're gonna have to be working with them from now on, so find a common ground. Also, every writer goes through a blockage. Sleep on it. Let your brain rest. I bet you have been working without a moments rest, haven't you?" Again, she didn't let me answer, as it wasn't really a question. "You're a wonderful writer, Roza. You just need a little down time and inspiration. Go out, have fun, sit at the graveyard, and let your mind relax." She still remembered. As a child I used to love going out for drives and graveyard seeing. I find them strangely beautiful, so every time my parents spotted one, they would point it out for me to see. Now that I've grown and have a job, there hasn't been much time for that.
By the time she called me Roza, which is my middle name, I was already feeling better. She was right. Mom was always right. "Thank you. I miss you guys. Tell dad I love him, will you?"
"Of course. Goodnight, sweetie." She hung up.
I was ready to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I honestly was until a banging at my door scared away the sleep. I'd kill the son of a bitch bothering me at, I checked my alarm clock and nearly growled, eleven twenty-three at night. When I opened the door no one was on the other side, but when I looked down there was a vase filled with at least a dozen roses. They were beautiful, I admit. I reached down and crouched, checked the card on top. It read "To a most beautiful woman. From your secret admirer."
I stared, dumbfounded at the flowers on the welcome mat I had just outside my door. Fletcher wasn't kidding at all about his plans for me this week. I yanked the flowers into my apartment, set them down on the dinner table and hurried to throw myself on the bed. I closed my eyes and the whole night I dreamed of the many ways I could torture Chase Fletcher. None of them seemed good enough to fill me with satisfaction. It didn't matter. Soon I was asleep. I'm a restless sleeper, so I remembered the whole night before the next sound I heard was my alarm clock going off at six thirty. I could nearly count every minute that passed by before I had to get ready to work.
I tossed, turned and gave myself ten more minutes. I wanted to sleep for a little while longer, but once awake there was no way I could keep my eyes closed.