So, Ascot is coming to my town, huh? This could get interesting, I think. He would be here in two and a half weeks. The sexual chemistry was palpable. But, I couldn’t possibly sleep with him on his first visit down here, could I? I mean…
No, of course I couldn’t!
I write back immediately, thanking him for his response and telling him that I’d love to meet up with him while he’s here. We go back and forth like that for a few days, telling each other about how much we enjoyed the other’s company and what we were hoping would happen when we finally saw each other again.
A few days before he was to arrive, my boss told me I was being sent to New York overnight to work an event we were producing. JACKPOT! I wouldn’t have to wait long at all to see Ascot. Though our primary mode of communication had been email for the weeks that we had known each other, we had also spoken a few times by telephone. He’d talk incessantly about some Wall Street bullshit and I’d encourage him just to listen to that accent that reminded me of sand, seashells, and sunshine. I couldn’t wait to see him in person! In the brief time we had been chatting, our chain of emails became a full-time job. I was wondering how he was able to get any work done while also keeping up with our correspondence. Apparently, Wall Street wasn’t as busy as I thought it was.
I decided not to tell Ascot I was coming to the city. It would be a great idea to just surprise him when I got there!
After I arrived in the city and checked into my hotel, I called Ascot at his desk to let him know I was in town.
“I’m in New York! We have an event tonight at BB King’s and you are welcome to come hang out. It should be pretty good.”
“Hello?” I said.
“Er, how long will you be here?” he said.
“I see,” he says. “I have time to grab a sandwich in about an hour.” It was 2pm.
Huh? I come all the way to NY and he only has time to “grab a sandwich”? I definitely didn’t think he’d be bouncing off the walls with excitement at the news of my arrival in the city, but I certainly didn’t think that he would sound like he was doing me a favor by squeezing in a damn sandwich. Well, I don’t have to be at the venue until 6:30pm, so I could conceivably get a quick lunch with him.
My hotel is at W. 55th and Broadway. He is on Wall Street. At this point in my life, I know little to nothing about the New York City Subway system, but I figure I can find my way. I walk to the nearest train station and ask the man in the booth how to get to Wall Street. He gives me what I think are decent directions. It takes me forever to get down there, but when I finally emerge from underground, I am thinking: Wow! So this is Wall Street. Although it was late afternoon, there were people moving about all around me dressed in power suits and chatting away on cell phones. My eyes scan each building and I am in awe as I pass the Stock Exchange, Deutsche Bank, and Merrill Lynch. When I finally arrive at Ascot’s mammoth building, I call him and tell him I am outside.
He exits the building and I am stunned as I think, he looks better than I remember. He is wearing a black pinstripe, 3-piece suit, with a white shirt and a purple tie. A little flashy for a finance guy, I think. But, then again, this is the same dude that was wearing an ascot when I met him. In 2003. But I digress. He spots me and a wide grin spreads across his handsome face. We walk towards each other and he leans down and gives me a hug. He smells amazing.
“You smell amazing,” he says to me, as though reading my thoughts.
“I was just about to tell you the same thing!” I laugh.
“There is a deli around the corner that serves great corned beef sandwiches,” he says.
Um… deli? Like, was this mofo really serious about “grabbing a sandwich”?
I mask my disappointment and simply say, “Great!”
We walk toward the deli and there is an easy silence between us. There is no real rush to say anything. Our arms are swinging next to each other in rhythm. His swings forward, mine swings back, his swings forward, mine swings back. On one of my forward swings, he grabs my hand and starts holding it just as we turn the corner. I feel beautiful and romantic, this is New York and I am on Wall Street, holding the hand of an investment banker on the way to grab a late lunch. Could this get any better?
We get to the deli, he asks what I want. I tell him. He orders while I find our seats. We sit by the window and watch the late afternoon foot traffic on the street outside. We eat our sandwiches and talk about everything. Our knees touch and our eyes are flirting. Every now and again there is a break in the conversation and we smile at each other shyly.
Finally he says, “Sorry about the modest lunch. You kind of sprang your visit on me and I didn’t have time to plan anything. Plus, I have been so swamped at the office, I barely had time to grab lunch today, so. It is what it is.”
Did this negro really just say ‘It is what it is’? This is too funny.
“It’s cool,” I say. “I wanted to surprise you, so really it’s my fault.”
He doesn’t say anything. Ha! I guess the reason I am eating corned beef right now is because it really is my fault. So much for being spontaneous.
“So, are you going to be able to make it to the performance tonight?” I say as I chomp on my dill pickle.
“Oh,” he starts, wiping his mouth, “I don’t think so. I am just swamped with work right now. I’ll be working late.”
I pick apart my sandwich. Remove the top slice of bread.
“No problem. I just thought you might enjoy it. Wanna have dinner later?” I ask.
“Um… I don’t think I can make that tonight.”
“I am leaving tomorrow. So… if you can’t do something later tonight then I don’t think we’ll be able to see each other again before I leave.”
“Uh… yeah. I’m sorry about that.”
He’s ‘sorry about that’? What does that mean?
“Sweetie,” he says. He wipes his mouth with his napkin and pushes back from the table before continuing. “There is something that I have to tell you.”
He begins to tell me about his ‘friend’ Ana. They had met a few months before through a mutual friend when he and the friend had visited Argentina. She is visiting the States and has been staying with him for the last four weeks. The two of them are supposed to be having dinner with friends tonight to mark her departure in two days.
“So, she was here when I met you,” I say.
“Yes, she decided to go out with our mutual friend, rather than attend Belle’s party.”
“I see,” I say. All of a sudden, I can’t swallow my pickle. There is a lump in my throat and the food wouldn’t go down.
“We are just friends, though,” he says.
“Have you slept with her since she’s been here?” I ask.
He looks down at his hands in his lap. No words come out of his mouth, but his silence says it all.
“Ok,” I say, balling up my trash and standing up. “Thanks for lunch. I am going to get back to Midtown so I can get ready for my event tonight.” I spin on the heel of my brand new black boots and am on my way out of the door.
“Wait,” he says, grabbing my arm to stop me. “I never meant to hurt you. She really is just a friend and will be going back to Argentina in a few days. This all happened before I met you. If I had met you first, it would be you back at my house, not her.”
I looked at him and felt like laughing because his words were so unconvincing. But, I wanted to believe him. So, my heart softened a little bit – and I did (believe him).
He walked me outside, where it had begun to rain.
I raised my umbrella and began to walk away. He grabbed my arm again and pulled me into his chest. He smelled so good. My head started to spin. He pushed me away from him slightly and looked down at me, and I knew what would happen. He was going to kiss me.
Our lips touched, softly at first. And then, he began to kiss me with more passion. And, you know what? The earth actually moved. (Well, not exactly. A train was passing beneath us and I could feel the vibration under my feet.)
When we finally broke apart, he said, “I hope I can still see you when I come to town to visit my father.”
Still lightheaded from the kiss, I say, “Of course. I am looking forward to it.”
He hails me a cab and slips $40 in my hand. “For the fare,” he says. “See you in DC.”
“Yes, see you in DC,” I say dreamily.
He leans into the car and kisses me on the forehead.
Ascot’s spell did not break for 20 minutes. I was sitting in traffic and the Sikh driver asked me to repeat our destination. It was then, and only then, that I got pissed. Not so much that dude had another woman staying with him in his home when he met me, not so much because he carried on by email and phone with me as though he were in love and unattached, not so much because he told me he was banging her, but because he lied to me about it.
A sinking feeling hit my stomach. And, all of a sudden reality set in. He is a liar, I am thinking.
Just then, New York didn’t seem so romantic, Wall Street had lost his charm and I belched because the corned beef had given me heart burn. So much for getting my groove back. I am done with this city and I am done with this man, I resolved.
But that wasn’t the last time I would hear from Ascot...