Monday, August 23, 2010

Harter Union: Part Six, Chapter 5

“How come whenever I take a shower with someone, I come out feeling dirtier than when I went in?” I asked coming out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel.

“It’s probably because of what we did in the shower,” Melissa laughed. “So was last night everything you expected?”

“And more,” I hugged her and kissed her neck. “I have something to tell you.”

“Why does this seem like bad news?”

“No, no. It’s good news. Great news actually but I’m not sure how you’ll take it.”

“What is it?” Melissa asked.

“How about we put on some clothes and then I tell you. All right?”

“That seems fair,” she smiled.

Nathan and Stephanie entered the Union together and rounded the corridor past Sam’s office and into the kitchen. Wendy, Wanda, Aaron, Sam and Katie stopped what they were doing and looked at the couple. Nathan quickly waved and the two scuttled to the dining room. “And those stares are because Alyson left me!”

“Or it might be because they all know that we were having an affair,” Stephanie said. “And I want to talk to you about that. It was fun being together at first because we were trying to hide it from co-workers, friends and Alyson but now, I feel that if we continue what we’re doing, it’ll grow old and what happened between you and Alyson will happen to us.”

“What? It doesn’t have to! We’ve only just begun. We can just have some flings then after a couple of months we can breakup,” Nathan stammered.

“Eh, the notion of Alyson actually catching was a lot better than the sex ever was so…”

“What are you saying? Are you leaving me?”

“Yes. I’m glad you’re taking this well. Trust me, this will be best for both of us,” Stephanie kissed Nathan one last time on the cheek and she left the dining room and headed for the restroom.

Nathan stood in front of the soda machines, completely still and his mouth agape. Sam came out of the kitchen with a red cup and filled it with Pibb. He looked at Nathan a couple of times and then finally spoke, “She break up with you?”


“She could’ve at least waited a week,” Sam said taking a sip of his Pibb. “Oh, well,” he shrugged.

“Oh, well? My girlfriend just broke up with me one day after my fiancée breaks up with me!” Nathan shrieked.

“Come into the kitchen with me. Now, I haven’t been here very long but everyone believes that you were a lot cooler before you were dating either girl. Right, guys?” asked Sam when he walked into the kitchen.

Everyone agreed and Nathan leaned against the counter. “Thanks, guys. Hey, does anyone know what this employee meeting with Jeff is about?”

“No but he’ll be here about one. Him and Melissa got a hotel room last night so Jeff’ll probably be in a really good mood,” Sam sat his cup down and resumed slicing carrots.

“Look, Nathan, we all like you and, to a point, Alyson but the two of you together was nearly unbearable. We wanted to kill the both of you. Well, at least her,” Katie revealed.

“I’m her best friend and roommate and even I loved it when she never came home,” Wendy said. “And Stephanie just seemed like a little slut.”

“Guys, I’m right here,” Stephanie said, just entering the kitchen.

“Not like we care,” said Sam.

Melissa and I stood in front of the hotel room and kissed. We parted and Melissa smiled at me. “So what’s this surprise you have?”

“Well, it’s kind of a two-part surprise. I put back in my application and resume at Manhattan-Rooks Publishing, the company in New York I had to reject after becoming stranded in Baldwin and I ended up getting rehired for the same job but for more money,” I said. “I’m moving to New York so what I guess I’m saying is that I’ll be making a lot more money and I’ll be able to support both of us…” I got down on one knee and took out a ring box. “Melissa, my little Pussycat, will you marry me?” I took out the ring and placed it on her finger. I smiled at her and kissed her hand. “Come with me to New York and we can finally be together and maybe start that family we’ve been talking about.”

Melissa took her hand back and began crying uncontrollably. She took off the ring and gave it back to me. “I can’t. I can’t do this, damn it!” she grabbed her bag and began leaving the hotel room.

“Wait! What’s going on? Please tell me.”

“I want to marry you but I don’t want to do the ‘family’ thing. I can’t.”

“We don’t have to start immediately. We can wait a year or so to get settled in. As long as we’re together, nothing is impossible,” I didn’t want to resort to begging but was leaning toward it.

“I am so sorry,” Melissa cried as she rubbed my cheek. “I never should’ve tracked you down or slept with you or went back out with you. I am so sorry I played with your feelings.”

“What are you talking about? Why aren’t you going to marry me?”

“I—I can’t tell you. Not right now and…and you deserve an answer but I don’t have one for you. I’m so sorry,” Melissa left the hotel room and ran off to the elevator. I slowly followed her and we had a long, silent journey back to Baldwin.

I was in my office, having a meeting with the staff which was everyone but the new hires and Melissa. “So this is going to be my last week here,” I revealed and everyone started to converse amongst themselves.

“What job is it?” asked Wanda.

“It’s an editing position for a publishing company in New York. It was the job I was leaving for before I became stranded here.”

“What about Melissa?” asked Alyson.

“As far as I know, she’s staying in Kansas.”

“I thought you were going to propose to her,” said Heather.

“I did and she said ‘no’.”

“Well, did she give you a reason?” Heather demanded.

“She said she wanted to but couldn’t. Look, guys…” I tried to interrupt everyone but my voice was drowned out.

“Maybe she was just overwhelmed with the dinner and the hotel so she kind of freaked,” Wendy tried to convince me.

“No, no! Don’t you people get it?” I gruffly stood up and slammed my hands down on my desk. “It’s a pattern with me. The Teflon Kid. Lots of chicks, nothing sticks. I lose! I get nothing! Good day, sir!” I shouted and the look on my face began to disperse the crowd in my office.

“If it makes you feel any better, I would’ve said yes Jefferson,” Heather said as she was the last one to leave my office. I sat back down and finished ordering more pants for the Café before leaving for the Café to fix me something to eat.

Jeff and Melissa break up and he leaves Baldwin.