Macy's night with the student-teacher of her dreams.
He might even stop taking so many trips."
I rather doubted that. But I said, "When should I be ready?"
"How about six-thirty?"
"Okay. I'll be ready for you."
"Excellent. I'll send a car to pick you up."
"No need to do that..."
"Nonsense. You're my assistant. I want to make things easy for you. I don't want you to have to find the place. Just enjoy dinner."
"Okay. That's very sweet of you..."
"Very good. Congratulations!"
"Thank you!" I ran my nails through my hair. "And, thank you, for listening. I didn't think anyone was on my side today."
"Awww, come here..."
Gabrielle eased her arm around my waist and pulled me towards her in a hug like I'd never had before, like being protected. She ran her hands up and down my back.
It was nice.
I pulled back, and looked in to the most beautiful brown eyes I'd ever seen. They filled my sight.
Suddenly Gabrielle leaned in very close, and our lips were touching!
We kissed, softly, soothingly.
Then, as I realized what we were doing, I pulled back and said, "Uhm..."
"I'd...uhm... I'd better get back to work. My boss is having kittens by now."
"Your soon to be former boss will not say a word to you. I promise. But yes, you'd better get back to work. And...you might want to speak to Staci. You know?"
I stood up. "Yes. I know. I will. Thank you again, Gabrielle."
"Congratulations, Lauren. I'll see you this evening."
As I walked out of the office, my legs were just a bit shaky.
* * * * * * *
As I came home from work, it felt like the day had lasted a whole week. When I left for work this morning, it felt like a century ago.
What I wanted to do was strip off these clothes, take a long hot shower or soak in the tub, get a glass of wine, and just chill.
But instead, I had dinner to look forward to.
I had to admit, getting dressed up again was a small price to pay for not having to make my own dinner. But before I could do all that, I had business to attend to. I took my phone out of my purse, and sent two text messages.
The first was to my husband. "Have a safe flight. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
And the second was to Staci. "I'm sorry I snapped at you. Thanks for the leg up. Love, L."
And then I locked the front door, and headed to the bedroom. As I went down the hall, I thought about how it would be interesting to see who replied first.
Even as I entered the master bedroom, my phone rang. I took it out. Staci.
"Hey. Gabrielle told me what happened. I'm so sorry, I was so insensitive. Please forgive me."
"Nothing to forgive, Staci. You couldn't have known what happened."
"Still though, I could have handled that a little better."
"You also could have been a little more honest with me about your new boyfriend."
"You're right. I should have been more honest with you. But I didn't want to hurt your feelings, and I couldn't think of a way to tell you, except, just to tell you."
"Okay. I suppose I'll accept that. Thanks for putting in a good word for me, by the way."
"It was the least I could do, after what you did for me."
"Thanks. Now I just wish there was a way to speed up Human Resources. They take forever."
Staci laughed, "I know, huh. But don't let me keep you. Gabrielle says she's invited you out for dinner."
"Yes. She has."
"I really hope...we can...still be friends. I'm sorry I can't be more than that, especially with all we've been through. But I would love it if we can at least remain friends."
I sighed. "You're a young woman, Staci. Don't be sorry for falling in love. It happens."
"Still though, I feel guilty."
"It's not your fault how my marriage is going. Or not going."
"Well, it sounds like you might be getting a lot of flowers in the future."
"Why do you say that?"
"There's this lady in my office, her husband got totally drunk at his office party and did something totally inappropriate and embarrassed her. She's been getting flowers every day this week."
We shared a good long laugh. It felt good to laugh.