1 year ago I was writing Chapter 3 of Expecting Serendipity!
In honor of that day I am sharing Chapter 3 with you today:)
I can’t believe I have agreed to go to the dinner with some random guy Danielle works with. What is wrong with me? The things we do for each other sometimes. I guess for me, the part I am looking forward to the most is dressing up for the party. I’m sure I’ll find a way to make it a fun night and have good conversations. I always do.
I’m wearing a tight fitting, silky red, crossed strap dress. To complete the outfit, I chose my strappy nude Alexandre Birman stilettos, and carry my new red, patent-leather Alexander Mcqueen clutch. I almost trip in my high-heeled shoes as I get on the elevator. Normally, this would be about the time my hot neighbor, Chandler, would poke his head out of his apartment to see my clumsiness.
Walking to Danielle’s, my feet start hurting in the heels, so I take them off. Fortunately, I have my red Tory Burch Mini Travel Ballets rolled up in my clutch for just this reason. Of course, I will switch back before the party. As I get to Danielle’s building I press her code on the call box. She buzzes me up and opens the door. She says, “Wow! Wow! Wow! You look freaking amazing! What the hell was wrong with Josh anyways?”
I give her a smile, and say, “Thanks. Now, I seriously need a drink!”
“Are you nervous about meeting John?”
“Danielle, I’m not nervous… This is just weird. Why does his name have to be so close to Josh? UGH! John, Josh couldn’t these 70’s and 80’s parents come up with something more original? This is so weird. I just got out of a two-year relationship with Josh… Now it’s just a couple days later, and here I am going on a blind date with a co-worker of yours, John. It’s kind of a lot to digest. Now pour me something! Maybe I should do a couple shots so it kicks in quick.”
“I got it. I’ll get you something. Don’t worry, John is lovely. You’ll be pleased. Oh, and he’ll be here soon, so just sit down and try to relax.”
Danielle starts mixing me up one of her concoctions. Truly she makes the best mixed drinks, especially for times such as this. She extends her hand to give me a beautiful glass with red etching on the rim and says, “This should take the edge off…it’s a berry martini.” I reach for it and take a huge gulp. “Yum! That is good!” Yet again she’s made the best drink.
“Thanks,” I say.
We’re sitting out on her balcony when we hear the buzz from the call box go off. Danielle gets up to see who it is. I hear a male voice, and assume it must be John. I get up to greet the man, and Danielle says, “Kiera, I’d like you to meet Sam.”
“Sam? I say. “I thought you said John was his name?”
“Oh no, this is not your date.”
I think really hard about who Sam is…I’m sure I have heard his name before, but I’m drawing a blank. Luckily, after a couple of seconds pass, I remember Danielle had mentioned Sam in a passing conversation a few weeks back when she stood me up for dinner. I waited at Tom’s Restaurant for an hour before she finally texted me back. I kept texting her, and as I was getting ready to leave, I got a text back from her saying she was so sorry and that she’d explain everything in a bit. She ended up calling me within a few minutes to tell me she’d met this really great guy and had lost track of time. She reiterated her apology, and I just left the restaurant and headed home. I was upset she’d stood me up for a guy. After all I’d left Josh to his own devices for her, and I couldn’t quite understand her logic. I ended up eating a Stouffer’s when I got home and forgot the whole thing had happened by the next day. I’m not really one to hold a grudge, and if anything, I’m known for being too forgiving at times.
As I approach Sam to shake his hand, I give him a good look over. It’s hard to look past the fact that he’s very handsome, and I conclude he’s very much Danielle’s taste. I extend my hand and say, “Hi, Sam, It’s nice to meet you.” I glare at Danielle and say, “Danielle has told me so much about you.” She and I both know I know nothing about him, but I enjoy making her feel uncomfortably squirmy.
As we sit at Danielle’s kitchen bar and have some cocktails, there is a light knock at the door. I take in a deep breath and assume its John. Quickly, I turn my glass up and finish my drink. Danielle looks at me like I’m an alcoholic, but I ignore her. John walks in and, at first glance, I think he’s cute. Danielle makes the introduction, and John comes across very easy going. He makes a couple of jokes, and I begin to appreciate his great personality. I can’t help but wonder what he thinks of me. Also, I wonder what Danielle has told him about me. There is no telling…
John and I go to sit in the living room and are engaged in a quick “get to know you” as Sam and Danielle come in carrying more drinks. Sam says he has something to toast, but he must first make an announcement. I’m not too sure about this chap. He seems so stiff and bland. His looks may be Danielle’s type, but he is definitely too stiff and bland for Danielle for sure.
Sam says, “Danielle, this last month of being with you has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You’ve made me the happiest person alive.”
I’m starting to feel awkwardly embarrassed for Danielle and Sam, but as I look at Danielle she seems to be hanging on his every word. I’m astonished at how happy she seems. I had no idea she’d been dating this guy for a month. I would think she would have talked about him more.
I tune back in to what Sam is saying. “Danielle, I know we’ve only known each other for a short time, but I love you so much. I want to be with you every Moment I’m alive.”
I’m totally about to gag! He doesn’t know her that well. What the HELL is going on here?
Sam places his drink on the table and reaches in his pocket.
OMG! Is this really happening, or have I had too much alcohol?
Sam gets down on one knee, and Danielle is looking at him all googly-eyed. He continues saying, “Danielle Millbanks, will you be my bride and marry me? You will make me the happiest man on the planet.”
I thought I said it under my breath, but it actually came out of my mouth. Danielle is angry as she looks at me. She reaches out her hand and allows Sam to place the ring on her finger. She then begins screeching the loudest “YES!!!” ever, practically screaming it for the people on the streets eight blocks away to hear. I feel bad for my reaction, especially after she says yes, but who in the hell knew she’d agree to such nonsense. John and I just look at each other while Danielle and Sam are kissing deeply, passionately. It’s like a scene from a movie where a man proposes and the leading lady says yes. I’ve never felt more out of place and awkward in all my life; I mean ever. How could Danielle be so serious about Sam, going to marry him, when I, her closest friend, only have heard her mention him one time? This is so weird. I don’t know how to act or what to say.
The car ride over to the dinner was extremely uncomfortable. Now, at the venue for Danielle’s work event, she and I are sitting at the table under a big white tent. The guys walk out to get drinks from an open bar. A long silence settles between Danielle and me. Finally, I decide to break the silence and start talking about how nice John seems and how the event is lovely. I tell Danielle the evening is not as unpleasant as I had thought it would be, and John has a great personality. The small talk continues, but I can’t seem to take it anymore. I look at Danielle and try casually to ask her what has been the proverbial elephant in the room. I say, “Wow! So marriage?”
She cocks her head at me cautiously and says, “Yes, it’s so exciting!”
She then goes off on a tangent talking about how beautiful the wedding will be. She asks me if I’d seen her “Dream Wedding” board on Pinterest. As she keeps rambling on, all of the sudden, I can feel my temperature rising. Sweat begins to form as I try to remain calm. She’s my best friend. I have to say something. I can’t just sit here and pretend everything is okay. I have to help her in her state of weakness. That is what it has to be. Weakness. She needs me.
I place my hand on top of Danielle’s hand, and I decide to tread lightly. Considering her current state of euphoria, I’m concerned she may not understand the reality. I calmly question, “Danielle, you’ve only mentioned Sam to me one time? Why’s that?”
She finally stops talking for a second. I feel bad having to be the one to point this out. She looks very calm. I think she must see where I’m going with this, and for a minute I feel sorry for her. She places my hand down on the table and says, “Oh no. Oh my God! I’m so sorry Kiera. I just didn’t think about it. I keep rambling on and on, I’m being so insensitive. I can’t believe I didn’t really think about this. I just thought you could be happy for me regardless.”
“What are you talking about?” I ask.
Danielle has pity in her eyes. She solemnly stares at me and says, “Kiera, you’re jealous! With everything that just happened with you and Josh…I’m so sorry. I didn’t even think about how you must feel.”
“What?!? Are you kidding me?!?” Now I am irate. How could she possibly even go there? She’s being so stupid.
Danielle looks at me intently and says, “That’s exactly what is going on here. I can’t believe it didn’t occur to me. You can’t be happy for me because you’re in your funk of doom and gloom. You’ve been chasing getting in engaged for so long you’re to the point you can’t possibly be happy for anyone else. I’ve told you before, this is not new. You’re completely miserable every time someone gets engaged. I’m sure you’re going to deny it, but it’s the truth and you know it.”
I stand up quickly and grab my clutch off my chair. As I turn to walk away, I can see the guys heading back towards the table and it makes the urge to leave even stronger. I turn back to Danielle and say, “You’re so off track here. You think you know me so well. You’re wrong on this one. I’m not feeling sorry for myself at all. I’m just concerned for my friend who seems to be lacking judgment thinking it’s perfectly okay to get married to someone she just met. I’m going home. I don’t feel like being here. You’re acting ridiculous.”
Calmly, I look Danielle in the eyes. With as much sarcasm as I can muster I say, “I hope you have a fun time tonight. I’m out of here.”
When I get back to my place, I decide to linger a little longer than normal fiddling with my door to see if by chance I run into Chandler. I pretend to be having some trouble getting into my apartment. After a few minutes pass, I realize how stupid I am, and I finally go inside. What would I have said to Chandler anyways?
Once inside I pour myself a large goblet of 40th anniversary Caymus Cabernet. When Danielle bought me the set of large goblets, she said, “Here. Now you can drink your normal amount, but it is only one glass.” It’s true. It makes me feel justified, like I’m having less wine, even though we all know it’s the size of the glass.
I take my wine into my bedroom. Immediately, I see Josh’s white Ralph Lauren polo on my night stand. I grab a clothes hamper and begin to place random things that belong to him inside. Tomorrow is Wednesday and I need to make certain I have all of his things together before work. I do not want to have to come back home before going to his place.
Surprisingly, as I’m packing away all of his things, I don’t feel very sad. It seems strange. I do, however, feel a bit lonely. I assume loneliness is a normal feeling after being with someone for so long and ending it abruptly. I continue searching my apartment for Josh’s things.
When I think I’ve found everything, I undress to get comfortable. I slip into my favorite white tee and short cotton brief-bottom shorts. I take a long look in the mirror. I pull my blonde locks up into a pony tail, and wash my face. Still towel blotting my face, I go back to the kitchen for a second glass of wine. Theoretically, I guess it had to be my fourth, considering the size of the goblet, but who’s here to count?
My door buzzes, and I immediately assume its Danielle coming to apologize about earlier. Neither of us is capable of staying mad at each other too long. I walk over thinking I’ll just ignore her. I look out the peep hole and I’m shocked to see Chandler standing there.
Of course, I just undressed and look like a complete bum now. Ugh! Why could he have not stopped by two minutes ago before I got all comfy? I quickly run my fingers through my hair and pinch at my cheeks for color. Slowly, I open the door trying to be nonchalant and I say, “Hi Chandler, what’s going on?”
He’s standing there in my doorway holding a bottle of beer. He smiles the sexiest smile making chills run down my legs. I say, “Come in.”
My mind goes back to the awful embarrassment a few weeks ago in the hallway, and me tripping as I met Chandler’s girlfriend Juliette. I wonder if they think about that and laugh? We’re standing awkwardly just looking at each other, and as I start to ask him if he needs something, he also starts talking. We both laugh. I say, “Oh…sorry, you go ahead.”
He smiles and says, “Yes. Well, actually, I can’t seem to find my bottle opener anywhere and I wanted to see if we can borrow yours?”
I realize by him saying “we” he must be referring to himself and Juliette. I smile back with a flirty smile and say, “Absolutely! Let me grab it.”
He’s so hot he makes my knees weak. I walk into the kitchen and open up the cabinet looking for the bottle opener. As I stand on my tip-toes reaching to the back of my noticeably tall cabinets, I can’t seem to reach the bottle opener, and he notices my struggle. He walks into the kitchen and stands beside me offering to help. Ignoring his offer I grab my short-girl step stool. He says, “Here let me.”
I say, “No worries, I use this thing all the time. I hate these high cabinets.”
Being only 5’5” can make it hard to reach; but honestly, the only time my height poses a challenge is when I’m working in the kitchen. I climb up on the stool and begin to feel a bit woozy. I guess it’s from the wine. I reach up and then my foot slips and I lose my balance. I completely freak out and try to grab onto the refrigerator. Luckily for me, Chandler is beside me waiting on the opener and he catches me before I hit the floor. I feel so stupid yet again. I’m certain he either thinks I’m the biggest klutz or a drunk. So embarrassing!
Chandler is holding me sideways from my clumsy fall as we look at each other and burst into laughter. He turns my legs down towards the floor and slowly places my feet on the kitchen hardwood. I decide I’d never seen him so loose and relaxed. I attribute it to the freak show I just demonstrated. He says, “Kiera, are you alright?”
I laugh some more and say, “Yes. I’m so sorry about that.”
Chandler says, “Are you kidding me? I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!”
Smiling a big toothy smile at him, I hand him the bottle opener and say, “You know where to find me and I’m always up for a good laugh.”
As we make our way to the hallway between our apartment doors, we say goodnight. I tell him he can leave the bottle opener by my door when he’s done, or I’ll get it from him later. He says, “Thanks Kiera! I better get back to Juliette. I’ll catch you later.”
He turns back to his apartment and I watch him inside. I go back to my door and close the door behind me. Smiling the whole way back I roll my eyes at myself for being such a flirt. I mimic myself in my foyer mirror saying, “I’m always up for a good laugh.” I’m such a total DORK! I imagine what he and Juliette are talking about and how they treat each other.
It’s hard to get Chandler off my mind the rest of the evening. Finally, I decide to go to bed. All night long I toss and turn waking up every hour on the hour. Around 5 a.m. I give up and get up frustrated with my lack of sleep. I make some coffee and hear the low battery alert beeping on my cell phone. I go to my bedroom to grab my charger and plug in my phone. I check my notifications, and see I missed a text from Danielle and Josh last night. Curious, I open Josh’s first.
Josh: Can u look and c if any if my tools r in your storage rm out on your balcony?
I hadn’t thought about it, but I’m sure he does have some things out there. Although, Josh was not a “Mr. Fix it,” he could definitely do minor things like fix cabinet doors or hang things on the wall. I quickly send him a text back.
Kiera: Absolutely. C ya around 6.
I immediately go out to the storage room and fight through the mess and spider webs as I look for his tools. I move my bike out and pull out a couple of boxes. Finally, I see a little red tool box sitting beside an old half-deflated Ab Ball I bought a few years back, which has gotten little to no use. As I reach to pull it out I hear someone yawning. I lean over the balcony and see Chandler having a cup of coffee reading something on his iPad. He sees me and says, “Good morning Kiera! You’re up early?”
“You too!” I say.
He says, “Do you always wake up this early?”
“No. I didn’t sleep well.”
“What are you doing?” he asks.
I think about making something up, but what the hell, I say, “Josh and I broke up. I’m packing all of his things up to take him after work.”
Chandler leans over and says, “I’m sorry, Kiera. I had no idea.”
“Really, it’s no big deal. I’ll be fine. It’s for the best. These things happen you know…”
“Trust me, I do. Luckily though, for now things seem to be going in a positive direction with Juliette. I hope we can advance our relationship soon.”
Advance. I immediately fixate on what he means by this terminology. Noticing that he’s still looking at me I quickly say, “That would be wonderful for you. I am glad things are going so well.”
I try to sound genuine although I’m still quite confused about the meaning of “advance,” and I’m not too sold on Juliette being Chandler’s type at all. Chandler says, “Wait here a minute.”
He goes inside and comes back out holding my bottle opener. Reaching across the balconies that are not side-by-side, but rather cornered from each other, I can’t seem to reach it. We both laugh, and I tell him I have plenty of bottle openers, and really it’s not a big deal.
He says, “No. No. No. When I borrow something, I like to give it back. You stand right there and I’ll toss it to you. You ready?”
I giggle a little under my breath and say, “Why don’t we just meet in the hall?”
He says, “This is way more fun, right?”
I shrug back at him, and feeling ever so flirty, I say, “You’re right. This would be more fun! Go ahead toss it to me!”
He slings the bottle opener up in the air, and I somehow clamp onto it catching it cleanly. I’m so excited that I didn’t look clumsy, until all of a sudden I lose my grip. The bottle opener falls out of my hand, and it’s too late. Chandler and I can hear it hit the pavement eight stories below. We both burst into uncontrollable laughter. We’re trying to re-live the whole scenario laughing in between our words re-telling how it had all happened. Chandler gets quiet, and I can hear a female voice saying, “What are you laughing at?”
I realize it’s Juliette. I don’t want her to see me, so I go inside and close the door.