Chapter 6

I wanted to get away as quickly as I could. When I reached the fence of his enormous property the shouting slowly disappeared. 
I stepped onto the main road and waited until the taxi was there. 
Just before the taxi arrived I received a text message; how surprisingly, it was from Max.
He apologized for his behavior and wanted to bring me home. I told him I was fine going by taxi. I got in the cab and the driver drove off.
All of a sudden it hit me that this was the place where we actually first met. Around this block he drove up to me that Saturday morning.
So he wasn’t that far from his home that day.

As I arrived at my apartment I stormed off to my bedroom and undid myself from the clothes he bought me. I decided to wash them and send them back to him this Monday. 
I ripped some old navy jeans out of my closet and a red shirt that had the ‘Coca Cola’ brand on it. I made a loose braid in my hair and slipped into my black Converse. That’s when it hit me I left my dress and heels at his place.
I growled at the thought of it. Well, I guess I had to consider them lost.
Now it was time to go visit someone. 

“Can I talk to you?”, I briefly asked Eddie. 
He took off his apron and laid it on the counter, asking the girl standing next to him to take it over.
“What is it?”
“I don’t want to discuss it over here. Can we please go have a coffee somewhere?”, I asked him.
He looked at me quizzically, but then he walked to the counter and said he’d be right back. I saw his partner standing in the kitchen; he caught my gaze and waved at me. I waved back at him and gave him a small smile.
As we were outside his café he asked why I wanted to talk to him.
“Let’s go there, I’ll explain it to you when we sit down.”
“Now you’re making me curious”, he said while holding the door open for me to enter the lunchroom.
We took a seat in the back and ordered our coffee.
“So, come on! Tell me!”
I heaved a sigh before I started talking.
“I spend the night at Max’s”, I said in a whisper.
Eddie’s eyes grew big as he let the words sink in.
Before he could say anything the waitress came to our table, placing our coffee in front of us.
“You what?! Did you sleep with him? OMG!”, he exclaimed.
I frowned my eyebrows and realized what I just said.
In my defense I threw my hands up and shook my head.
“No! No! It’s not what you think!”, I spoke loudly.
He looked all confused at me so I started to tell the whole story.
While I was talking he gave me a few looks but didn’t interrupt me.
“So he actually did you a favor…?”
I didn’t really want to answer that. I knew he was right, but I was still mad for him treating me like a kid.
“Mira! Come on! We talked about this! I thought you would stop acting like that!”
My eyes were glued to the table, while I wrapped my hands around the empty coffee mug. Slowly I nod my head in agreement.
“You can do better than that lifestyle. You are worth so much more than you think. I just wish you could see it too”, he softly spoke while putting his hand on my arm. 
Right on time I could stop a tear from falling. I knew he was right, but it was all I knew to fill up the empty feeling I had. Maybe this time I didn’t sleep with anybody, but I knew it was an addiction. Just like someone who is addicted to drugs.
“You are right that Max shouldn’t have talked to you the way he did, but I think he meant well with you.”
I looked at him, why did he always say the right things? It was very annoying.
“Mira, he is a good man. I just know it, give him a chance. Maybe he’s what you’re looking for. Stop this empty life and fill it with a good man instead of sleeping around all the time. Those men don’t deserve you.”
I had the need to feel miserable. There was that need to hurt myself. I couldn’t live without that feeling anymore.
Without saying another word to him I left some money on the table and left. 
Tears were streaming down my face. I had to get home as fast as I could.
I curled up on my couch, listening to some music and thinking about my life.
How hard I tried not to cry, tears were still forming in my eyes. At one point I stopped fighting them and let them just flow down my cheeks.
I must have dozed off to sleep because when I woke up the sun was almost gone.
While yawning I stretched my arms and legs and sat up. A knock on my door startled me a bit. I was not in the mood for company so I just kept still and didn’t make any effort to get up. 
Another knock on the door and a voice asking if I was there; it was Eddie.
“Mira, come on open up. I know you’re home”, he said firmly.
“I’m not! Now go away!”, I yelled from my couch. My legs were pulled up to my chest, my arms embraced them and my head was resting on my knees.
He chuckled as he heard my answer.
“Come on, I have something for you.”
What could he possibly have for me?  Now I was curious..
After a few seconds of contemplating whether or not I should open the door I finally got up and opened it.
Eddie waltzed right in, before I could even properly tell him to do so.
He had a white box which he placed on my kitchen counter.
“What is that?” I asked curious looking at the box.
“Well, you have to open it.”
I shrugged my shoulders and opened the box. There was an envelope in it and my dress and shoes from the other night.
“Before you say anything, open up the envelope”, Eddie said as he saw my face when I found out what was in the box.
“How did you get this?”, I asked, staring at the envelope in my hand.
He stayed silent, leaning on my kitchen counter, crossing his arms in front of his chest. 
“Read. The. Card.”
I finally sat down at my kitchen table and opened up the envelope.

Dear Mira,
I’m sorry for what I said and making you mad. 
Let me make it up to you.
You left your dress and shoes at my place.
I figured you’d want them back.
Max

I stared at the card for a few minutes. Not sure how to respond.
In the meanwhile Eddie had poured himself a drink and sat next to me.
He put his arm around me and I let my head rest on his shoulder.
“You know what? Let’s come over to my place and have me fix you dinner. I know you can use the distraction. Let’s just leave this as it is.”
And so we did.
Jerry cooked a delicious dinner for us and we talked and laughed the entire time. It was nice to have friends like this.

They were the first people I met when I moved here a couple of years ago.
Like everybody knows it’s hard to meet new people when you moved in to a new city. I’m also a little shy so it can be difficult for me to talk to other people. I’d rather just be in my own world, not bothering anybody.
Eddie and Jerry were just so nice to me back then. I started to visit Eddie’s café every lunch break I had and that’s how we became friends.

“So, have you heard from Claire?”, Jerry asked while cleaning out the table.
“No, not really”, I answered looking at my empty glas.
“Maybe you should call or text her”, Eddie said as he stood up.
I thought about what they said as they were taking the dishes to their kitchen.
“I don’t know..”, I said hesitating. “I mean, she could have called me too. I haven’t heard from her for weeks.”
“Someone has to make the first move.” Eddie sounded like my father , so annoying.
We took the bottle of wine to their living room and I placed my butt into one of their comfortable chairs. It was my favorite chair from the room. It was very soft and the pillows were very comfy. 
Eddie and Jerry settled on their couch, curling up to each other. I loved watching them. Especially when they had these googly eyes towards each other, it was so cute!
I always felt like home when I was with them, their home had this kind of vibe, that instantly made you feel like home. Plus they know how to make you feel welcome, that’s for sure!
“More wine?”,  Jerry asked as he reached for the bottle.
“Yes please”, I said, stretching out my arm so he could reach my glass.
He also poured some in Eddie’s glass and his own.
“You know, Eddie, you still didn’t tell how you got that package with my clothes in it.”
Boom, silence was our best friend again. I know Jerry was uncomfortable cause he got up and left the room to go to the bathroom.
Eddie heaved a deep sigh.
“Well..”, he started, not knowing where to look. “..He came to the café and practically begged me to give this to you.”
If someone would have dropped a needle you could hear it, it was that quiet.
“Aren’t you going to say something?”, Eddie said, raising his eyebrows.
“What should I say? I mean it’s nice that he returned my clothes, but that’s all.”
Jerry just came back from his bathroom break and took a seat again.
“You should have seen him, Mira. He really was sorry.”
I stared into my wine glass, then I took a sip and thought about what they just said.
“He even wanted to go to your place, but I told him not to do that.”
If Eddie didn’t give my number in the first place, none of this would have happened. Now I was stuck with all these thoughts.
I stretched my legs and put them over the arm seat, taking more sips of my wine.
“So…do you accept his apologies or not?”, Eddie asked curiously.
“Sure, whatever, I mean it’s not like we’re dating anyway, so what the hell do I care actually”, I said with a smile on my face.
It just hit me that we weren’t dating, he didn’t mean anything to me, so why be mad?
When I got home I wrote a card that said I accepted his apologies and thanked him for returning my stuff. I replaced my own clothes with the clothes he bought me and put the card on top of them. I figured I could bring these to Eddie in my lunch break that Monday and he would find a way to give them back to Max.

I was glad to have a break. The phone kept ringing non-stop and my fingers hurt from typing so many things. I didn’t have time to sit down and eat, I ordered my lunch, asked Eddie to deliver the package and left with my lunch. Mr. Hensley had asked me to pick up a few things for him and also get him lunch. 
“Thank you Mira”, he said as I brought him lunch. I wanted to walk away but he stopped me.
“Mira?”
“Yes, Mr. Hensley.”
“As you know we have that project with Mr. Woods, right?”, he started off.
His folded hands were supporting his head, he had a firm look on his face.
When he said ‘Mr. Woods’ a weird tingly feeling quickly shoot through my body.
“Yes, I do sir.”
“I need you to come with me this Thursday for a couple of days. We have a meeting in L.A. with Mr. Woods”, he stated.
I was shocked with his question and didn’t know what to say. It wasn’t even really a question, more of an announcement. 
When I thought I got rid of Max, I now heard I had to go to a meeting where he would be too.
“Mira?”, he interrupted my thoughts. “Are you okay?”
“I’m sorry. I’m fine. I will be there to accompany you”, I answered and turned around to restore the files I was holding.
I always loved my job, but at this point I hated it. I wanted to quit it and move to the other side of the country.
After I had returned the files I took place at my desk again. Before my butt even hit the chair my phone rang.
Mr. Hensley asked me to prepare everything for the meeting, including plane tickets and booking a hotel.
I immediately got started with the assignment, like I didn’t have one hundred other things to do as well, but I was used to it.
Halfway through the day I received a text message.

Hi Mira! How are you? Sorry it has been so long, but I’ve been very busy. Can we meet this week? Xxx Claire.

I had no time to answer her right away, so I waited until I got home that evening and decided to call her.
With the things Eddie had said I figured he was kind of right, even though I would never admit that to him!
We made a date for the next day to catch up. I knew I would have a lot of work to do before I would leave on Thursday, but I needed to tell her all about what happened these last few weeks. 
As I wouldn’t be here this weekend, I figured I had to see her before that.

That morning I got up early, so I wouldn’t have to stay at night. I didn’t know if I could finish everything before we would leave but I figured I could do a lot.
Mr. Hensley was happily surprised to see I had been in the office for a couple of hours when he arrived.
The day went by faster than a roller-coaster ride. After I left my work I quickly did some grocery shopping. 
Around 8 p.m. Claire rang my doorbell. It was nice to see her again after such a long time. Her shiny blond hair was tied up in a loose ponytail, she looked very casual, it was a nice look on her. We hugged and I let her in. It still felt a little awkward to hug her. She was a lot taller than me, and my face would always squash against her boobs. A problem all short girls might recognize.
We started talking and it didn’t even seem like we hadn’t seen each other for a while. If I hadn’t been that stubborn, this could have happened earlier. It was a reminder for next time.
All of a sudden she spotted my suitcase. I got it from a storage place when I got home. I didn’t think to put it in my bedroom yet.
“Are you taking a break?”, she pointed at the suitcase.
I turned my head around. “Oh that, no my boss wants me to be at a meeting with our new client, Mr. Woods”, I said my voice filled with boredom.
She almost choked on her drink and her eyes shut wide open.
“Excuse me? Did I hear that right? Mr. Woods you said?”, she said in disbelief.
“Euh, yeah. What’s with you?” 
“Nothing”, she quickly said.
“No, tell me”, I said curiously. Now I wanted to know why she reacted like that.
She hesitated for a few seconds. Her cheeks were still red and I think they even turned darker as she started to talk.
“So that’s how I got to know him…”
I didn’t know what was so shocking about that. Until she started to talk again. Everything I first thought about him, seemed to be true. I knew it!
“I swear, I didn’t know he had a wife at that time. I think I found out after a year and that’s when I dumped him. For a long time I even doubted to tell his wife”, she said without taking a breath.
My mouth dropped to the floor, I couldn’t believe she never told me this before.
“Why did you never tell me this?”
She shrugged her shoulders, not knowing what to say.
“Do you ever wish he got a divorce for you?”
“Yeah, for a while I kept hoping he would leave his wife and come back to me, but he never did. Well, he did divorce her, but he never came back to me.”
I could see this was still hard for her. Maybe that’s why she never told me.
“I’m sorry”, I whispered.
“It’s okay, I’m over him now. I moved on.”
But the bitterness in her voice betrayed her. She wasn’t over him, not by a long shot.
“Have you met him before?”
“Yeah, a couple of times”, I said casually.
I don’t think it would have been a good idea to tell her I went on a date with him, let alone my sleep over.
“He’s a real charmer huh?”, she chuckled.
“Well..”, I hesitated on what to say.
She laughed and said; “Oh come one Mira! Don’t tell me he didn’t try to put his spell on you too!”
I laughed, it was true I couldn’t lie about that.
“Yeah he tried, but it didn’t work”, I answered.
“How?! You must admit he is hot!”, she practically yelled.
I closed my eyes and a chuckle escaped from my mouth. 
“See! I knew it!”
“Okay, okay! He’s attractive but totally not my type and way too cocky!”, I told her. 
“He is, but he can also be very romantic and sweet. Oh and don’t even get me started about the love making..”, she sighed with a dreamy look.
It was a nice evening and it was way too late when my head finally hit my pillow. My mind processes the things she told me about Max.