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Friday, January 25, 2013

Carlos Meets Alexis

“Another Belvedere and tonic, ma’am?”

“Ma’am?”  Alexis seethed, drunkenly.  “Do I look old enough to be a ma’am?  How about not ruining my day and call me miss, ok?”  The surprised bartender froze in silence, unsure of whether or not the young, beautiful Latina whom he’d been serving drinks to all afternoon, was joking. 

“I am truly sorry, miss,” he uttered apologetically.  It was only his first week there, and he hadn’t caught a break yet.  “I didn’t…” Alexis abruptly cut him off.

“Never mind and just keep the drinks coming,” she scoffed coldly.  She could feel the eyes of the few other patrons on her, but she didn’t care.  The bartender had been out of line, and that was a fact, she thought.  Alexis felt drunker.  The Xanax was charging through her as well, pulling her into a spinning state of confusion.  She tried to keep it together. 

She refocused her eyes onto her computer screen as a new email popped into her inbox.  She was watching a conversation between Violetta and Juan Carlos.  She was hoping that they would figure things out with the shoe designs and get on the same page, but she felt that she would have to intervene soon. 

“Your drink, miss,” the bartender politely said as he placed her drink down.  He smiled, but did not make full eye contact.  She felt bad for snapping at him, but then shrugged it off.  Too late now.  She promised to leave him a good tip for putting up with her.  She sipped from her drink and took a piece of ice into her mouth. 

Alexis hated plane delays.  If it weren’t for the American Airlines first class lounge she would have gone back to the office hours ago.  She felt herself sobering up slightly.  ‘Mind over matter’ she repeated to herself.  She looked behind her into the lounge.  There were only a few other patrons, all of them minding their own business.  She couldn’t wait to get on the plane.  She turned back towards the bar and looked at the clock.  She still had two hours to kill.  That was going to get her to New York by five in the morning, New York time.  She sighed.  She heard the chime of a new message coming in and her eyes snapped to her laptop.

Violetta was out of control.  Alexis’ temper flared just then as she read the words from her overly dramatic, super high-maintenance, but all important client.  Alexis hit the ‘reply to all’ button and took a deep breath.  She typed out her email with a fury.


JC cannot make the requested changes that you desire, as he’s already stated.  We simply cannot make the glass bows stick to the leather material of the shoe without majorly altering the design. Our factories assure us that we can get the same look and style by using the acrylic bows, and we can save 6$USD per unit that way. We are wasting a lot of time going back and forth over this. We cannot risk missing the shipment dates. Are you on board with this? Yes or No.


Alexis sat back, pleased with herself.  She reached for her drink and noticed a man sitting a few seats over from her.  She hadn’t noticed him walk up.  She looked at him and he stared at her with a friendly smile.  He was Latino, and he looked very tall.  He had a handsome, but masculine face, with a strong jawline and kind eyes.  He already had a drink.  She couldn’t believe that she’d spaced out so bad. 

She turned back to her email, but she couldn’t focus.  She sent it anyways and then opened a web browser to check her personal email.  She thought about the strange Latino though.  She’d seen Latinos in the first class lounges and had even heard conversations in Spanish, but he seemed very different, but not like he didn’t belong. 

Alexis clicked through the pages to get to her inbox, but all the while she thought of this tall, dark, handsome man.  She had no new email, which was no surprise to her.  She wondered if the Latino was a banker or lawyer.  Alexis thought of the stranger again, and she let out a subtle chuckle under her breath.  ‘Yuck, I hate Latino men,’ she thought to herself.  ‘Why am I obsessing?  Am I drunk?’  She reached for her drink.  It was half done.

“Can I buy you another?” the Latino asked in a deep, smooth, tone.  Alexis peeked at him from the side with a sarcastic look.  He then laughed at himself.  “Sorry, I’m seriously not trying to pick you up.  I’m just here killing time, and I…never mind.  I’m sorry to have interrupted you.”

Alexis chuckled slightly.  How pathetic, she thought.  “Sure, it’s your money,” she blurted out.  She immediately regretted saying that, but agreed to go with it.  The stranger laughed again, clearly embarrassed, and ordered another drink and a refill for Alexis.  Alexis got a better look at him and determined that he was cuter than she first thought, probably in his early thirties, and from his clean cut look and expensive suit, definitely a professional. 

“I’m Carlos, by the way.  It’s nice to be here with you.”

“Thanks.  And, thanks for the drink,” she answered.  She checked her iPhone just then.  It was important for her to let him know that he wasn’t shit to her, because he wasn’t.  She was aware of her own disposition.  She was aware that she was a beautiful Latina that made her own six-figure income and dated global men of power and prestige.  She was well aware of her effect on men, and it had been shaping her personality for years. 

“Yeah, of course.  Anytime,” he said politely.  He checked his phone as well.  “I’m on my way to New York.  For a conference.  It’s been a while since I’ve been there, so I’m kinda looking forward to it.  How about you?”

“I’m on my way to Paris,” Alexis replied without looking up.  The bartender brought her drink over without saying a word.  She cut her eyes at him.  She couldn’t help feeling anger towards him.  She knew it was for no particularly good reason, but she couldn’t help feeling that way.  He had just rubbed her the wrong way, and now the feeling just stuck, and got worse, even, with the alcohol.

Carlos took a sip.  “Paris?  Wow, that’s amazing.  I’ve always wanted to go there, well, really, my wife’s always wanted to go, but it seems cool.”  Alexis’ eyes darted to Carlos’ hand and she spotted the wedding band.  She regretted that she hadn’t caught it sooner.  She had been trying to train herself to look for the ring right away when meeting a guy, but it was not yet happening.  Not like it mattered, she thought.

“Are you a model or something?” he asked before taking another sip of his drink.

“Are you fucking joking me?” she sassed rudely.  He spit part of his drink up as he laughed.

He looked at her, wondering if she was serious.  “Are you being serious?” he asked.  “I’m sorry if I offended you.  You are smoking hot, and you are flying first class, I just thought you might be.  I mean, you for sure could be.”

She eased a smiled.  “Thanks.  But no.  I’m not a model.”  She could see the bartender peering up at Carlos, obviously eavesdropping.  It annoyed her.  She decided to be nicer to Carlos, just to annoy the bartender.  “I’m going to Paris because I work in the footwear industry.  I travel a lot to keep the products running on time and to design.”

“Wow, “ Carlos replied.  “Beautiful and smart.  That sounds like interesting work.  You go to a lot of fashion shows and stuff like that?”

Alexis grinned slightly.  “Yeah.  I go to all the major shows.”

“That sounds exciting.  Do you know famous people?” he asked.  Alexis chuckled again and sipped her drink.  She unconsciously flashed her gorgeous smile and momentarily became carried away with her own flattery.  Carlos stared back at her in awe.  She didn’t answer him.

“Tell me, Carlos.  Does your wife mind you buying women drinks and telling them that they’re beautiful and smart?”  She smirked at him and then a serious look came over him.  He suddenly became a lot more tense and then he stared at his drink pensively.

“Yeah.  I’m pretty sure she’d mind if she knew,” he finally answered.  He downed the rest of his drink and signaled for the bartender.  “Two more,” he said quickly.  He turned to face Alexis.  She watched him curiously, wondering what load of bullshit he would toss out.  She wondered if it be, ‘we’re getting a divorce’ or ‘she’s cheating on me’ or possibly, ‘she’s dead’, which was one she’d actually heard before.

“You know…I really love her.  Or used to anyways,” he went on.  Alexis rolled her eyes slightly.  “Things have been changing lately.  She’s gotten back into her career, which is great -I love that.  She’s passionate about it.  So much has changed though.  She is different.  She won’t talk to me –like really talk to me.  We used to be so close.  I have been trying to reach her, but she is not responding to anything I do.  I took her to the place we first met.  A restaurant over by UCLA, and it was just like…I don’t know.  She wouldn’t get off her iPhone!” he said, raising his voice.  They both sipped from their fresh drinks. 

He went on, “I took her to on vacation to Lake Tahoe, about four months ago and she literally needed to leave after the first night to go back to work.  She has been spending so much time working for those guys.  She refused to go to Cabo when I offered.”  He drank again.  “We used to fucking love that place!” he said, raising his voice again.  He then chuckled and looked at Alexis, smiling with regret.  “I’m sorry for unloading all this on you,” he laughed again.  “You’re so beautiful, and I don’t even know your name, and I…” he laughed again and drank from his drink.  “I’m sure you pictured your evening listening to some jerk go on about his marital problems.”

Alexis laughed.  She felt bad for him.  He seemed to be speaking in honesty, but she didn’t quite buy it.  All guys were dogs and cheaters, after all.  “It’s ok.  I don’t mind hearing about it actually.  It’s kind of interesting.  You know, married life and all,” she smiled wryly and took a drink. 

He went on after a chuckle.  “Yeah, it’s a trip alright.  Maybe we got married too young.  Maybe we’re growing apart.  Maybe we are falling out of love.  She is getting farther away from me.  I am losing her and I’m not sure if we can ever get back to where we were.  This trip is more than just about business for me.  I guess it’s hard to be married to someone with such strong career.”  He looked at Alexis, helplessly staring into her beautiful eyes.  “I guess anyone you would be with would have the same problem.  I couldn’t handle being with someone like you!”

Alexis laughed.  “Nice!  Why not?” she asked curiously. 

“No, no!  I don’t mean it that way.  You are gorgeous and obviously smart!  But your career seems like too much.  Are you kidding me?  A beautiful woman, travelling the world, mixing with famous people in the fashion business?  I’m sure you come into contact with handsome, famous, rich men all the time.  That would drive me nuts!  Plus, I’d never see you.  I guess I’m selfish that way.  I guess I need someone who will be there for me –to give me her time and attention.”

She laughed.  “A man being selfish?  Wow, there’s a newsflash!”  He laughed too.  “You think that’s funny?  You should get a load of our friend the bartender over here,” she went on.  “He thinks I’m old enough to be calling ma’am!  Hey bartender!  This is your ma’amager speaking!  Can we get a few drinks over here?”  Carlos burst out into laughter, and then they both laughed joyously.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shopping Fun with Lisette

       Johnny loathed the mall.  Even in that moment with his girlfriend, Lisette, especially in that moment, he wished he were anywhere else.  They walked hand in hand down a wing of the Fox Hills Mall and he held a Victoria’s Secret bag filled with new underwear and soaps that he had bought for Lisette.  He was looking at her while they walked.  Her lips were moving as she talked, but he was distracted by his thoughts and was not listening to her current rant.

         For the past few months, she’d been driving him crazy with her incessant complaining, and her constant need to buy stuff, at his expense no less.  He watched her animated manner of speaking and they way she sassed her head with seemingly every word, and it was driving him insane.  He had once thought it was cute, and that she was so sexy and different.  He once actually loved her curly locks and vivid makeup, and he even thought that she was strong, vocal, opinionated, and smart.  It was so clear though, that he’d been wrong about it all.  

         She complained about everything and everyone, including him.  He never before had known anyone that could find something bad to say about everyone.  Her makeup looked caked on, and it made her look cheap.  He thought her hair was ridiculous, and he hated that she allowed her roots to grow so long, pushing out her highlights.  She refused to get them done, even though he had offered to pay for it.  “You know what I mean?” she asked, kissing her teeth slightly.  “Are you listening to me?”

         “Huh?  Yeah, you’re mad at your cousin cause’ she’s stupid,” he replied, just catching the tail end of her rant.

         “What did she do?”

         “She…” he paused.

         “See I knew it.  You never listen to me anymore.  What is your problem any….ooh!  I wanna go to Bebe!  You owe me for not listening to me!”  She didn’t wait for him, and in an instant she was walking to the store.  He rolled his eyes behind her back and followed. 

         The store was brightly lit, with cute young women walking about, ogling merchandise.  Johnny glanced around and could see that there were other boyfriends or husbands reluctantly lurching about, hanging close to the walls.  He saw a girl hold something up to show her guy, and his face changed from complete disinterest to a huge fake smile followed by an approving nod.  “Saps” Johnny murmured, chuckling to himself.

         Johnny saw Lisette by a rack of clothes, already pulling something down.  He walked over in a stooper and hung a few feet back from her.  She held onto a pair of black stretchy pants, and bounced away to another rack without saying a word to him.  He followed, noting that all of the women were trapped in their own bubbles, staring at the racks of clothes in a trance-like state.

         Johnny thought about Laurel, his soon to be ex-wife, wondering where she was.  He had thought about her often, feeling guilty for what had transpired and his major part of their breakup.  He never meant for things to go the way they did, but he thought that in the end, it had been for the best.  Poor, frail, hopeless, clueless Laurel, he thought to himself.  She must be at home, still crying, wondering what she had done wrong.  She would be beating herself up for months over this one, he thought to himself.  He figured that she would take him back the second he wanted to come back, and that, he thought, might just be his next move.

         He followed Lisette to another rack, keeping his distance, still entranced in his thoughts about Laurel.  He worried though, about her.  He always had.  There was a time, when he loved her simplicity.  Her stability, gentle demeanor, and pureness of heart was unbelievable to him, so much so that he actually thought it had been an act for so long.  She proved to be for real though, a genuinely good woman, but alas she was boring.  He couldn’t help take advantage of his freedom, and when another offer came, he slipped out the back door.

         As weak as he was when it came to other women, he was not completely without a conscience, and the guilt had worsened over time.  His made up image of her crying at home alone weighed on him.  He had even tried calling her once, but her phone was off.  Maybe he’d call her soon, he thought.  Better yet, maybe he would swing by in person.

         “What’s your problem?” Lisette asked.  She stared directly at Johnny, catching him by surprise.

         “What?” he asked, annoyed.

         “Oh forget it.  I was talking to you.  I’m gonna go try this shit on,” she said, rolling her eyes.  He sighed in annoyance and followed her to the fitting rooms.  “I need to try these on,” she said with an attitude to the girl working the fitting rooms.

         “How many items do you have?” the girl asked professionally, ignoring Lisette’s attitude.

         “Uh, three.”  The girl handed her a number with a three on it, and Lisette disappeared into a room.  Awkward boring minutes passed, when Lisette finally bounced out of the dressing room, wearing the black stretch pants and a t-shirt.  She was busting out of her pants that had to be at least two sizes too small, and that was without regard to her increasingly pregnant belly.  “Don’t you have these in a bigger size?” Lisette asked the girl.

         “Um, sorry, the biggest size we have left in those is an eight.  They’re a hot seller,” the girl answered nicely, but with a straight face.

         “Oh really?  You didn’t even go check.  And why are you giving me attitude?” Lisette asked, raising her voice.  Oh shit, not again, Johnny thought.

         “Miss, I did not give you attitude.  I was just telling you…” Lisette cut her off.

         “Oh you were.  I am not stupid!  Since you’re not going to bother checking for a customer, you need to just go back to doing your stupid little job!  I don’t need to take this kind of shit from no little retail person!” Lisette snapped, making her way back into the fitting room.  “This is bullshit!” she declared, slamming the fitting room door lightly.  A few other gals, who had been standing near by, were watching in disgust.  The young sales associate’s face was completely red.

         “I didn’t give her any attitude, she just started snapping,” the girl said in a low voice, to nobody in particular.  Johnny was red with shame and embarrassment, and he couldn’t bring himself to say a word.