It took me three months to detox Addicted Ailee out of my memory. After doing some intense detective work — by two clicks on Google — I unearthed the scathing truth about him. He is a trust fund baby to a wealthy shipping heir who was as consistent with rehab as Trump’s truth telling. Thankfully, the Lanvin dress was unharmed and even though I never recovered from the theft of my Jimmy Choo’s, I’m somewhat happy knowing they’ll make someone else’s feet happy.
The yearly publishing conference was held in Miami, Florida and I was excited for the change of scenery. But not too excited to be in the humid stricken Miami heat. Arab hair and humidity don’t mix. The first day of meetings started at the ungodly hour of 7:00AM. The Universe was on my side as I was neither late nor suffered from any wardrobe malfunctions beforehand. Things are looking up!
My team district is, of course, way too jubilant as they awaited the keynote speaker. I took my seat next to my boss and tried to pull off a look of anticipation and attentiveness. Truthfully, it was hard at 7:00AM and in a conference hall with a room temperature of below zero. My blood was literally not made to withstand anything under sixty degrees.
“Jehan! Are you OK? You’re looking … sickly,” my boss snapped at me.
“Huh? What? Yeah. Sickly? What do you mean? I’m just trying to adjust to the time difference.”
“You are looking a little blue,” John continued.
“Blue? How blue? Like smurf blue or I’m about to freeze to death blue?”
Before he could answer, the audience went quiet and the stage lights beamed on the podium. A tall man, dressed in all black, approached the stage with a dominant omnipresence. From the first row where I sat, a few feet below the platform, he looked tall. Before he spoke, I knew he was the kind to demand respect and your undivided attention.
There was a bit of internal intimidation going on. I continued with my professional poker face. When the mysterious man started talking, I gazed out the window looking over the beautiful coast and noticed a group of women walking behind two men by the pool below. What were they doing at this time? I thought to myself. Maybe there’s a hostage-prostitution ring going on and there’s about to be an epic show down! We are in Miami and at the FountaineBleau — these things do happen.
“Don’t even think about skipping the next session to flirt with Rico Sauve.”
I came back to reality and looked towards the stage and remembered that I’m supposed to be taking notes.
I started to scribble rapidly on my notebook until my boss gently touched my hand, motioning for me to stop and look up.
“What?” I mouthed.
John’s eyes darted towards the speaker. I met the stare of the man in black.
John leaned in, “Do you know him? He’s been staring at you since he started talking.”
“Oh no, maybe it’s because I’m blue!” I gasped, placing my hand over my mouth.
The man in black winked at me and gave me a smirk. He had a sexy smile, I must admit. I was startled. But my version of startled looks like disgust. I sat up straight and broke eye contact. Since I’m single and a recovering victim from a date from hell, I decided to try flirting back. I crossed my legs, straightened my back and tried to think seductive thoughts. Since our thoughts emit energy, then the sexy man in black could sense that. Right? Right.
“Stop it.” John hissed.
My head snapped to my left. “What?”
“You look like-” John began.
“Shouldn’t you be managing something? Leave me alone,” I retorted.
I don’t normally agree with work relationships, simply because the last one I had was the worst mistake of my life. Plus, I hate those sneaky colleagues who are boinking their boss. And by “hate” I mean, I’m secretly envious they can be so morally bankrupt to get away with a torrid affair with the married boss and not have a care in the world. I can’t even skip out of work a few hours earlier without feeling immensely guilty.
Ugh, damn morals.
The session finally ended. I lingered a few minutes longer while packing my workbag before proceeding to the next seminar, in hopes the mysterious man would approach me.
That was too predictable for him, apparently.
“Don’t even think about skipping the next session to flirt with Rico Sauve,” John threatens.
“Why are you babysitting me? Plus, you’re the one who told me to “think outside the box” and date outside of my culture,” I responded.
“I’m in the middle of management, that is the grown up version of babysitter.”
Point taken. John and I walked to the next session, in silence.
For the rest of the conference I didn’t see the mysterious man. I gave up on day two of even running into him. On the third and final day, I had mentally gotten over him. You know how it is when someone intrigues you, you mentally start dating them. So since my crush ghosted me, I mentally broke up with him.
There was a gala held on the last night in the main ballroom. These events are the corporate equivalent of a college frat party. Insurmountable amount of alcohol is provided and everybody’s inner frat boy emerges. I stayed around long enough for dessert and I bailed. Usually.
Tonight, I wanted to let loose a little bit and enjoy the night. I stepped outside my comfort zone even more by wearing a cocktail dress, that wasn’t black, to the work gala. I chose a deep burgundy knee length dress. For dramatic flare, my dress had a fairly large bow on the back at the small of my exposed back. My hair was swept up in a loose bun.
I stood off to the side of the dance floor, engaged in conversation with the Executive Director, when the mysterious man approached me. He had jet-black hair, hazel eyes and a firmly set plump mouth.
“I am Esa,” he held out his hand for mine. I could almost taste the spice in his accent.
“Hi, I’m Jehan. Nice to meet you. This is-” I was going to introduce the Director but was interrupted by his soft lips on the top of my hand.
Well that escalated fast.
The Director’s eyes widened and he stepped back, excusing himself. Leaving me to fend for myself. Thanks, Director Douche.
“May I get you a drink?” Esa offered.
“No thank you, I’m good with my water on the rocks,” I gleefully answered.
Three hours later and we were engaged in a heated political debate. Seriously. After I had learned he converted to Islam, in high school in Ecuador, we hit it off. His flee from Ecuador to the States was fascinating and brought up the topic of immigration. The political banter was thrilling and unexpected. The night was still lively and people’s true ambitions were coming to the surface with every sip they took. In the corner of my eye, I saw the same morally corrupt colleagues hanging off the arm of another married executive, heading towards the elevator.
The hotel walls were definitely going to be witnessing a lot of scandal tonight.
Esa noticed my eyes wander when he asked, “Do you want to go up?”
My attention popped back to reality and I just blinked back my disturbance.
“Go up where?” I asked.
“To my room. Or yours but I am staying in the penthouse so it’ll be more comfortable in my room,” Esa said confidently.
“I look way too fabulous tonight to get railed up over your smug and repugnant suggestion. For your sake, and honestly mine, I’m going to pretend this entire conversation never happened.”
I could almost taste the spice in his accent.
“Your loss, honey.”
One of the worst things to do to a woman of dignity is add a condescending nickname. Like, honey.
“Sweetheart, I think you need a cold shower. Here let me help,” I poured my glass of water right over Esa’s head. I gave the cup a little shake to make sure every ice cube was emptied. While I am a woman of dignity, who is always composed in public, the derogatory demeanor of Esa deserved the sassy side of me to come out.
“There you go, honey,” I smiled and placed my empty glass in his hand.
I could really hate this man. Or all men at this rate. It doesn’t seem to matter what nationality the man is, they seem to only have one thing on their mind. And the fact they are vocal about it, extremely early on, is baffling. I wanted to hide under the covers and sleep my way back to California. Where the sun isn’t blistering my skin nor frying my hair. I’m trying everything to attract the type of man who respects me, all of me, and something I’m doing seems to just screw me over. No pun intended. What is it about me that attract the slim balls?
Feeling vulnerable, as I huffed my way back to my hotel room, I started thumbing through my contact list. I wanted to talk to someone who could ease my mind. Scrolling through my contact list, I came across Adam’s name. Adam was a guy I met briefly in Washington D.C. He was one of those academic types who collected degrees because he couldn’t decide on which superman to be. He finished a Bachelor’s as a triple major. When I met him, he was finishing a J.D. and Masters simultaneously and considering a PhD. afterwards. I wondered what he was up to, now. Not realizing it was booty call hour, past midnight, I sent him a text:
Hey what’s up! I’m on the East Coast. I have a layover in D.C. tomorrow, if you’re free let’s connect!
I set my phone down and got up to wash my face and get ready for bed. Minutes later, I came back to his reply,
Great to hear from you! I am here visiting myself. I live in California now. Send me your itinerary. Perhaps you can extend your layover in D.C.?
And that is what serendipity looks like.
Meet, Ambitious Adam next week 🙂