A Cab, an Enemy and Valentine’s Day

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“You know what today is, don’t you Amy?” asked Beth.

“Thursday”, Amy replied.

“It’s also Valentine’s Day”, said Beth.

Amy didn’t say anything. She never liked Valentine’s Day. To Amy it was just another day for men to disappoint her. A long professed man hater, Amy had had many a bad run with the male species all the way back to her father who abandoned her and her mother when Amy was only seven.

“Aren’t you going out tonight?” Beth asked. Amy quietly began stapling the last of her boss’s forms and laying them on her desk.

“No, I am not; I will be spending time in the company of myself tonight”, Amy said without even looking at Beth.

“Oh”, Beth replied taking this as her queue to return to her own office.

Beth and Amy hadn’t worked together for very long so it was easy for Beth to make the mistake of speaking about Valentine’s Day in Amy’s presence.

Amy had transferred to the law firm of Morgan & Morgan as a secretary four years ago, after her then boyfriend and coworker of five years Steve cheated on her with another secretary. Since then Amy had given up on men all together.

“I hate this stupid holiday”, Amy said to herself, “I wish people would just leave me alone.”

As Amy began to gather the last of the forms her boss requested, her coworker Jeff stepped into her office.

“Hey ‘Ames’”, he said.

“Jeff, how many times do I have to tell you, my name is Amy, don’t call me Ames!” she said pounding the stapler on the last set of forms.

“Dang someone isn’t having a good day”, Jeff said with a chuckle. “So I wanted to know if you wanted to get a bite to eat tonight”, Jeff asked with hesitation.

“Jeff, how many times are we going to do this? No is no! I’m not interested. I don’t go out with coworkers!”

“But it wouldn’t be a date ‘Ames’… uh Amy, it’s just two friends catching a quick bite.”

“I’m sorry Jeff but my answer is still no”, Amy said.

Jeff turned and left to head home. After dropping off the forms to her boss’s office, Amy headed home herself. Amy and Jeff lived in the same apartment building so she always tried to leave after him so as to not be hassled into sharing cabs. It was just beginning to rain when Amy got in the cab. Once arriving at her apartment complex she hurried inside out of the rainy weather. Her closest companion, Sophie, was there to greet her at the door. “Hey there girl, ready for some dinner”, Amy asked the little yorkie. Amy set down her purse and coat and began to look through the cabinets. After giving Sophie some dog food, she began to look for some dinner for herself, “Well girl looks like we’re out of food; I’ll make a quick run to the store”, Amy donned her coat again, grabbed her umbrella and dashed out the door. Once she made it to the curb she saw that the storm had really picked up. She was getting soaked by the rain being blown right in her face. She grabbed a cab but quickly notice another man nearby getting soaked too. She motioned for him to get in the cab with her. Once inside the man removed the hood of his jacket and Amy realized it was Jeff.

“Amy, what a surprise”, Jeff exclaimed.

“Oh, hi Jeff”, Amy said with a forced smile.

“So what brings you out on this crazy night?” Jeff asked.

“Just picking up some dog food”, Amy replied.

“Cool.” Jeff and Amy sat awkwardly in the cab without further conversation, until Jeff finally broke the silence.

“Why don’t you like me Amy?” Jeff came right out and asked.

“I, I uh I don’t dislike you, Jeff”, Amy stammered.

“Oh come off it Amy you hate me”, Jeff said.

“I don’t hate you Jeff, I just don’t want to date you or anybody else right now”, Amy replied.

“I’m not asking you to date me Amy I just want to be your friend and friends do things together you know” Jeff said beginning to get frustrated. Amy knew if she was ever going to get this guy to leave her alone she would have to get dinner with him at least once to satisfy him.

“If you really mean that Jeff that you only want to be my friend then OK lets go get a bit to eat”, Amy said already regretting her statement.

“Really, you really mean it Amy?” Jeff asked not really believing his own ears.

“Yes Jeff you pick a place and we will go there right now”, Amy said already wishing this night was over.

Jeff instructed the cab driver to take them to one of the most expensive restaurants in the city, The Blue House. Amy wondered how they would even get in the door without any reservation especially on Valentine’s Day. She was glad she was still in her skirt and blouse from work and Jeff too was still in his business attire. Once the cab pulled up they went inside where the host knew Jeff by name.

“Good evening Mr. Keizer, your usual table?” asked the host.

“Of course, thanks David.”

A waiter then came and escorted them to a table, the kind of table that only the highest paying guests would sit at. Amy began to wonder how Jeff could get them in with no notice on Valentine’s Day. Unless Jeff made a reservation and planned for her to say yes; the nerve! Amy began to get a little irritated but tried to keep her cool.

“Do you have friends here Jeff, how did you get us in with no notice”, Amy asked.

“I guess you could say that, actually my family owns this restaurant, this is my family’s table, it’s reserved for us”, Jeff replied.

Amy had underestimated Jeff she had no idea he came from such a wealthy family, The Blue House was one of the most successful restaurant chains with restaurants both in North America and Europe.

The night was still young but Amy had a feeling there were even more things about Jeff she had yet learn.

“Your family must be very well off. Why do you not work in the business directly; if I may ask?” said Amy knowing she was prying but feeling overcome with curiosity.

“Oh I don’t mind, ask anything you want. My parents have always encouraged my sisters and me to pursue any career we felt drawn too and still have ties to the company and its stocks.” Jeff explained than pausing to sip from the Château Laroque wine that had just been served.

“I knew since I was very young that I wanted to be a lawyer” Jeff continued “My cousin was falsely accused and sentenced for a crime that has had him behind bars for twenty-three years, he will be there for another twenty-seven more”, Jeff explained.

“That’s so sad”, replied Amy.

“Yes it is, especially since he has a wife and two kids” Jeff continued “He is my inspiration, him and other people who have been wrongly accused of crimes they never committed”

“That is a very admirable cause”, said Amy.

Amy began to feel she had grossly underestimated the kind of person Jeff was. He seemed to be much deeper than she had ever given him credit for. “Shall we choose something to order?” Jeff asked. Amy replied with a nod and then proceeded to pick up her menu. Everything sounded so delicious, roasted Long Island duck breast, Grilled Loin of Venison, Mediterranean Sea Bass. Everything sounded amazing to her but she couldn’t even begin to imagine what the costs of this dinner would be for a regular customer. Just then the waiter returned to their table ready to take their orders; Amy was far from ready. Jeff could see in Amy’s face she had no idea what she should order.

“Eric, how ‘bout you surprise us this evening and bring us the very best the chef has to offer tonight.” Jeff said to the waiter, full of confidence.

“Yes Sir Mr. Keizer.”

The waiter took the menus as Amy quietly sighed with relief, she didn’t want to look stupid trying to pronounce the various names of the dishes. The night continued to progress from black olive tortellini to Suffolk pork bell to chocolate soufflé with mint ice cream. Amy thought everything was exquisite, including Jeff. He was very down to earth, close to his family and he shared similar interests and values with her and Amy even noted he had quite a charming smile.

“Well I have really enjoyed this evening; just two friends enjoying a meal.” Jeff said with a smile, proud of himself for using Amy’s beloved word, “friends.”

“Shall we head out?” Jeff said offering to help Amy out of her seat.

Once they arrived back at their apartment building Jeff walked with Amy to her door.

“Well this is my place”, Amy said feeling a bit awkward and surprisingly overwhelmed by the smell of Jeff’s cologne coupled with his blue eyes.

“Well then I guess I will see you at the office” Jeff replied leaning in to give Amy a hug goodnight. As he did Amy reached out and cupped his face in her hands and kissed him goodnight. Taken aback by her actions, Amy threw out a hasty “Night Jeff” and quickly ducked inside her apartment. Jeff stood outside Amy’s closed door in shock. He couldn’t believe what just happened as he began to walk to the elevator. He ran his fingers through his hair as the elevator ascended trying to make sense of the night. Jeff wondered what work would be like tomorrow and when he should ask Amy out again, should he even acknowledge tonight’s surprise kiss. Either way Jeff knew whatever tomorrow held for him and Amy it would be good, he could feel it.

Back downstairs in Amy’s apartment, Amy sat on the edge of her bed with Sophie in her arms. She was in complete shock of what she had done. She wondered if she had even meant to do it but in her heart she knew the truth. She meant to kiss him and she even liked. Amy shook her head; she couldn’t believe it, after all the pain Steven had put her through was she really ready to let another man in her life? Amy knew whatever happened everything was going to be OK, she didn’t know why but she could feel it deep inside her heart.

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