This week's edition to our Olympia Extracts is the fantastic romantic fiction, You're That Someone by Anz Wall.
Good Times Irish Café, Brooklyn Heights, a place buzzing with the youthful action of the neighborhood. Sun was dropping dizzy on a hibernating Sunday and a warm June summer breeze was brushing its riveting charm on the canvas of a vivid city. An antique clock, hung on the bricked wall of the café, ticked six of the evening. Zeena, dressed in a pink satin knee-length dress, brown long boots and with burgundy hair resting on her shoulders, was sipping her second cold coffee when she noticed through the thick glass a silver Cadillac zooming in front of the main door, almost taking down the valet guy; but of course, he was destined to survive, so the brakes gripped just in time. No surprises there, smiled Zeena knowing, it was Alisha. However arrogant as it was a scene already she curiously watched Alisha winking at the guy, walking past him throwing the keys at the ‘lucky boy!’ and dashing into the café. The boy, Zeena observed further, speechlessly admired the beautiful, six feet tall, svelte damsel in orange jumpsuit festooned with all golden colored accessories to match – a charm bracelet, big ear-hoops, stringy stilettoes and a Louis Vuitton tote bag, with her perfectly streamlined white teeth gleaming under the orange of her mouth and thick dark layers of long hair thrown up to her waist, adding an extra oomph to her feminine frame; he surely seemed proud of his job.
Zeena stood-up to greet and hug Alisha and they both retired into the cushioned sofas of the café.
“When will you learn to go easy on those breaks Al?” Zeena questioned amusingly.
“Old habits die hard Zeen, you know me,” Alisha returned with a languid air.
“How old do you think you’ve got anyways? Uncle has really spoiled you with that machine.”
“And I love him for this,” she giggled. The waiter interrupted Alisha just then for her order: “A cappuccino with a hot croissant please,” she dismisses him politely. “Sundays are such short days. They just fly out in a heartbeat,” Alisha began, “I wish there were some more hours to them.”
“You’re right, life is perhaps very short,” Zeena sighed.
Alisha flinched at Zeena’s tone and an unexpected unnecessary dash of philosophy there but continued, “Anyways it’s been three weeks we haven’t met. What have you been up to?”
“Nothing much, really,” Zeena spoke with a faint smile, “but yes I agree it’s been long. We should meet more regularly just like it was in the good old days. How’s your work?”
“Work is hectic as always. And going to be even more in the coming weeks. You know me Zeen, how I enjoy the creative process, but certain deadlines, suffocate me. I don’t understand why clients are always in a rush? Is it some corporate curse or rather a dysfunctional fashion statement; always making requests at the last minute? Every client seems to be riding a horse that’s out of control and then he somehow expects our company to save him within the moment. It’s a circus, trust me,” Alisha laughed, “still I love doing what I do. You tell me, our city’s proud lawyer, what’s the legal course of the NYC these days?” Alisha added teasingly.
“The usual dear, nothing new,” replied Zeena with a lazy and a bored voice. A bit out of her element today she continued to sip her coffee in silence. Her enthusiastic talkative curious large eyes were oddly without a gleam and her impatient restless mind, which usually couldn’t help spooling the interesting gossips and stories on what was happening in who-friend’s life seemed too numb for any expose. For her not beginning with a ‘You know what!’ already, would surely catch Alisha’s attention Zeena knew, yet she couldn’t help feeling jaded.
Alisha’s order arrived right then and without any further words she sipped her coffee waiting for her friend to say something, which Zeena was completely aware of, but still chose to remain ignorant. Alisha got through half the cup of coffee when raising her eyes she searched Zeena’s face, finally breaking the silence, “Hey babes what’s up? You seem quite out of order.”
“Hmm…maybe, lack of inspiration,” Zeena clears her throat, “followed by too much work pressure I guess – and a…” Zeena paused suddenly and sighed, wincing.
Alisha not missing any speck of emotions and stress on her friend’s face, threw her signature stare on that dramatization, which Zeena only knew too well and perhaps expected it coming. Alisha lifting her right brow curved her long lashes around the pair of whites, as if loading the gun with two black retina’s looking like bullets waiting to be released from their socket when her brain pulled the trigger; coupled with her Mona Lisa smile further adding to that ‘you can’t escape me!’ moment. Though Zeena always enjoyed that look of her friend vis-à-vis the discomfort of the victim, but being on the receiving end today made her shift in her chair uncomfortably and she attempted to escape it – “Oh! Stop it Al, not that stare of yours,” cried her. Alisha still not budging added a lopsided grin to it.
“Okay! Alright!” Zeena gave up, speaking, “One of our company’s directors is leaving for good and I feel miserable. I had such a strong crush on him.”
“Nowww I get it! Yours handsome Mr. Danish or something.”
“Uff! Don’t even mention his name – it kills me.”
“I thought it was going good between you guys – what happened?”
“Going good! God! Yeah going great, but all in my imagination,” Zeena continued finding back her energy. “Firstly, he is ‘the Mr. Perfect’. A Greek God. His salt and pepper hair; that crisp strong jaw-line. Secondly, a finance genius. He is so...”
“Babes hold it! Let’s discuss the real issue – I am very well acquainted with his godly demeanor, thanks to you!”
“Okay!” Zeena blushed then continued on a serious note, “the real issue is that there could be no issue between us in all those two years that I have been working with him and now there won’t ever be; he is leaving. Dan was a nice friendly lively guy to be around with, but so he was with EVERY-body, not just me alone. We did go to a few meetings together, just us – and the client, but he always kept it very professional. I won’t deny that I did try to get his attention a couple of times, but, failed miserably. I don’t know if he was aware and ignoring me, or he just did not bother. I am sure he isn’t gay though.”
“Maybe, he already has a wife or a girlfriend, a one-woman kinda guy, did you check?”
“Yes of course I did, he is single. No strings attached. Completely in stock and available.”
“You’re crazy,” Alisha chuckled.
“Well crazy, I am, and if you see him you’ll know why.”
“You were to go with him on a dinner date last month, you had told me, what happened to that?”
“Well here’s the story. We went to a Spanish restaurant, which his assistant had reserved for four people. We were expecting our clients to join us. Purely a business date. We arrived early as it was supposed to be. To my luck, the clients were running late. So we got to speak about random things – like life in New York city, good places to eat; he ordered wine – Dan is a connoisseur by the way; Mr. Perfect. Well, the clients arrived and dinner went smooth; the deal was cracked. We stepped out of the restaurant happy-high, bid our goodbyes and suddenly we kissed. It was a light quick fling, but it happened. I guess we both drank little more than necessary or maybe was just an accident or maybe we both wanted to; I don’t know.”
“Wow! Hollywood,” exclaimed Alisha, “then?”
“Then his chauffer arrived with his car. Dan called a taxi – let me in – smiled and left.”
“Yes! Then the ‘gentleman’ did not speak to me for about one complete week. Apparently he was always busy. I called his cell phone and he did not care to answer. His assistant Ashley would always tell me he is unavailable or in a meeting. I even went by his office to check, at which he just smiled in acknowledgement – asked me if something was urgent – which obviously was for me and clearly not for him. And after suffering a minute or two of those awkward moments I got suffocated and left. That’s about it. After which I never pursued him. Yet my heart aches to see him leaving the company, perhaps if nothing else, he was a good eye candy,” Zeena whined.
“That’s weird. Usually women react so on accidental kissing and men actually get started after it. What went wrong with this guy?”
“Maybe I need some lessons on kissing,” Zeena added solemnly.
“Oh! Zeen don’t bother, you’ll find someone better. Unleash the hook,” consoled Alisha.
“The toughest thing for a woman to ignore, is her infatuation,” Zeena pointed, “and you have been the one telling me this always, Al.”
“I guess it’s easier to say when not dealing with it,” Alisha nodded acknowledging.
It was half past seven already when they finished their snacks along with their long overdue, hearty conversation, so they both decided to leave. Their rendezvous perhaps proved some antidote to Zeena’s trite spirits and both the friends headed-out on their ways parting with hugs and smiles.
Alisha Randhawa and Zeena Shah, both of Indian origin, in their late 20’s now, were bosom friends. Since childhood, they have been living in the same neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, went to the same schools, college and hung-out with same gangs of friends. They were an open book to each other. Although both were ballsy in temperament, Zeena’s inquisitive mind with adventurous streaks quite complimented Alisha’s calm, composed, matter-of-factly demeanor. Many confused them as sisters due to their equally tall, svelte frames. Maybe not biologically but in soul they were. After graduating together, they went to different schools for further studies. Zeena was now a practicing lawyer in a reputed New York law firm – Samuel Linden & Sons and Alisha, who chose advertising as her career, was employed with a global giant – Brian & Hudson (B&H).
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