My name is Theresa but most people call me Reese for short. I am about 5' 8" tall. I have shoulder length brown hair and brown eyes. I am 35 years old. Those are the basics of me. I've been told I am beautiful, so why is it so hard for me to find love? My answer to that? I'm overweight. I am only about 50 pounds over my ideal weight, but that seems to be enough to turn off most men. I will admit, I am far from being "supermodel" skinny. I've struggled with my weight most of my life, but I've never let it hold me back from the things I've wanted to do.
I work at a telecommunications company in Michigan. My job isn't all that glamorous, just data entry, but it pays the bills. I've worked there for the last five years and I share a cubicle with a guy named Michael who has only been with the company for about two years. On his first day, Michael had told me that he'd never done this kind of work before and he was nervous about his new venture. I helped him get through some tough spots, now he's better at this job than I am.
We became friends quickly and he stuck to me like glue his first few days, wanting to learn all he could, as quick as he could. We eat lunch together everyday and we've even gone out a few times, just as friends. He tells me about the troubles he has with his girlfriend, I tell him about the troubles I have even getting boyfriends because of my appearance. We've actually gotten to know each other pretty well, right down to how we like our coffee, our favorite foods, even favorite movies.
I had already started falling for him about a year ago when he came over one night after he had caught his girlfriend cheating on him. We just watched movies, ate popcorn and talked, I loved being close to him. I convinced him to work things out with his girlfriend and he convinced me to try harder to get men to notice me. When he left, we hugged good-bye as we always did, but this hug felt different. It was a slow, lingering hug. He held me tight, his arms around my waist, his hands very low on my back. I had my hands under his jacket, feeling his muscular back flexing as his hands gently caressed my back.
It sent shivers through my entire body and I forced myself to break our embrace. He said good night, turned to smile at me, then headed down the hall and out the door. I closed the door and just leaned against it wondering what had just happened between us. After that night, our hugs were back to the platonic "I just want to be friends" type of hugs.
After the bump in the road with his girlfriend, our friendship seemed to have diminished, limited to working together and eating lunch together. I had fallen hard for him. Every morning I'd look forward to seeing him and hearing about what he did the night before. My heart would race as soon as I saw him get off the elevator and I sometimes wondered if other people could hear how loud my heart was beating.
Michael is 36, has short, sandy blond hair and the deepest, darkest brown eyes I've ever seen in my life. He stands about 6' 3". Oh yeah, he looks damn good in a suit and tie, too. He smiled at me this morning as he approached our cubicle and began removing his leather jacket to hang it up.
"G'morning, Reese, how was your weekend?"
"Not bad, Michael. How was yours?"
"Quiet. Sandy decided to go visit her sister so I stayed home and watched movies all weekend," he said as he pulled his chair out from his desk and sat down.
"Really? What did you watch?"
"While You Were Sleeping, Tango & Cash, and Underworld."
"Nice mix, looks like you got all the major genres covered!" I told him, chuckling softly. "While You Were Sleeping, huh? I don't recall you liking that movie."
"Yeah well, I remembered watching it with you and you told me it was one of your favorites, so I thought, what the heck, I'll watch it again," he said as he turned on his computer and searched for his coffee cup.
"Is this what you're looking for?" I asked him, holding his coffee cup out to him.
"Yep! That's it! Can I get you a refill while I'm up?" he asked, walking away from his desk.
"No, I'm good, this is my second cup already," I said. "Hurry back, we've got some new stuff to learn today." I watched him walk over to the coffee maker at the opposite end of the office.
We usually started our day at 8:00am, but I got here early today to start working on some new software the company wanted us to learn. I watched Michael as he prepared his coffee -- two cream, three sugars -- and chatted with the other workers who were filing in slowly to fill the rest of the cubicles in the office. He glanced over at me and smiled while he chatted with Veronica, the office floozy. Veronica had slept with just about every guy in the office at least once, except Michael. It always seemed to frustrate her that she couldn't break through whatever barriers it was that he had up. She tried every single day, only to face defeat.
Michael finally broke free of Veronica's clutches and headed back to our cubicle. He set down his coffee cup, removed his suit jacket and sat down. As we sat at our desks, we faced each other, our computer monitors "back-to-back." He scooted his chair around to my desk and I scooted my chair over a bit to let him get closer so he could see my monitor.
"OK, what's this new stuff we gotta learn?" he asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
"We have some new software that I already installed on both our computers. It's supposed to make our jobs less tedious," I said as I just took a deep breath and enjoyed the scent of his cologne. He had one hand resting on his thigh, his fingers gently brushing against my thigh. I felt my heart beat faster. "Instead of manually entering the numbers, all we have to do is enter the ID number of the customer and the software should do the rest."
"So, where's this ID number?" he asked, looking at the invoices in front of me.
"It's right here in the corner. See?" I replied, pointing to a string of numbers in the upper right hand corner of the invoice I was holding.
"So this number," he said pointing to the same one I was pointing to, "Entered in this box," he continued, reaching for my mouse while still looking at the screen, he put his hand on the mouse before I brought mine away, causing a jolt of awareness to surge through me. He clicked on the entry box on the monitor and entered the number from the invoice.
"Yeah, that's it. Pretty simple," I said and he was even closer to me now, my heart skipped a beat. "See? Now all the information we'd normally enter manually is there." I turned my monitor so he could get a better view.
He sat back in his chair. "We should kick up productivity by about a thousand percent with this new program!"
"Makes our job easier, but gives us more work. Ironic, isn't it?" I hoped he didn't notice the nervous tone of my voice. Our legs were touching and it was driving me crazy.
He scooted his chair back to his desk, took another sip of his coffee and began working on the stack of invoices on his desk. I just sat there staring at him out of the corner of my eye, feeling my heart still race. I really did love him, but I knew he didn't feel the same way about me. I broke my daydream and went back to work on the stack of invoices on my desk.
We worked silently for awhile, glancing over at each other on occasion. When the lunch bell rang, it startled me and I felt Michael's hand on my shoulder. He already had his jacket on and he was reaching out one hand to me to help me out of my chair.
"Where do you wanna go for lunch today, Reese?" he asked me as he took my hand.
"I'm in the mood for Chinese, how 'bout you?" I asked as he helped me with my coat.
"Sounds great! I'm buyin'!" He took my hand and led me to the elevator.
We rode in his car to the restaurant and both of us were surprised at how crowded the place was for a Monday afternoon. We decided to order our food to go and headed back to the office. We sat at our desks eating our lunch, talking about what we'd be doing after work. Michael's cell phone rang and he fumbled to answer it before it went into voice mail.
"Yeah, I'm eatin' lunch right now. What's goin' on?"
"When?" he asked and I saw the look on his face turn from happiness to anger.
"You've gotta be kidding me!"
"Okay. Just relax, I'll take care of it as soon as I can."
"I can't leave work early, it's gonna have to wait 'til I get home!" he told the person on the other end. "It's not like anything else could happen before I get there!"
"Yeah, I'll be home about five. Okay. Bye," he said and closed his phone. He started eating again and refused to look up at me.
"Everything all right?" I asked.
"Yeah, everything's fine," he replied quietly.
"You sure?" I prodded.
"Yes. I'm sure. Let's just finish our lunch." The tone of his voice was cold and he looked up at me and forced a smile.
We finished our lunch in silence. I just sat there wondering what that phone call was about and why he didn't want to tell me. He usually confides in me, even though our friendship is strictly at the office these days. I figured he'd tell me when he was ready. We worked quietly for the rest of the day and occasionally, he'd get up to refill his coffee or grab us a snack from the vending machines in the break room, but other than that, no words were spoken.
Michael was distant for the rest of the day and I figured it was from the phone call he got at lunch. I didn't pry, but I worried it was something he needed to talk to someone about. When it was finally quitting time, he grabbed his jacket and raced out of the office, not even saying good-bye. I walked around to his desk, turned off his computer, grabbed his coffee cup and took it to the break room to clean it out.
I came back to my desk, turned off my computer, put on my coat and headed to my car. As I drove home, I thought about Michael and how distant he was and wondered exactly what that phone call was all about. I pulled into my parking spot in front of my apartment building, grabbed my purse and headed inside.
I set my purse down on the end table just inside my apartment, flung my coat over the arm of the chair and ran to the bathroom. When I finished in the bathroom, I headed to my bedroom to change. I threw on a pair of sweats, a t-shirt and my slippers, walked out into the living room and turned on the TV. I flipped through the channels for about an hour before I went into the kitchen and pulled a dinner out of the freezer. Just as I was popping it into the microwave, there was a knock on the door.
I looked through the peep hole and saw it was Michael. He was still wearing his suit, but his tie was hanging out the pocket of his jacket. "What are you doing here?" I asked as I opened the door partially.
"I need to talk to you. Can I come in?"
"Sure," I said and I opened the door wider to let him in.
"She left me," he said as removed his jacket and hung it over the back of one of the chairs in the kitchen.
"Sandy. She left me. That's what that phone call at lunch was about today. She packed her bags, trashed my apartment and left," he said walking over to sit down on the couch.
"I don't know. When the landlord called me at lunch today, he said something about her finding out about me cheating on her." He kept his gazed fixed on his hands.
"Cheating? With who?" I asked.
"You," he said, still not making eye contact with me.
"ME? Where the hell would she get an idea like that?" I asked with confusion in my voice.
"I guess she thinks since we work together and we're such good friends --"
"Wait, wait, wait. She thinks that just because you and I are friends that we're sleeping together?" I asked, finally sitting down next to him. "That's crazy."
"I know. When I got home, I found the note she'd left saying she was at her sister's, so I called her. She said she was looking through my cell phone last night and saw your number stored. Since you're the only other girl whose number I have, I guess she drew her own conclusions," he said, looking up at me. My heart raced when he looked into my eyes.
"That's crazy," I repeated. "Does she realize how stupid that theory is? I mean just because you have one girl's number in your phone doesn't mean you're cheating." I placed a hand on his. He pulled his hand away and blushed slightly.
"I tried to convince her of that, but she wouldn't listen. Honestly, I think she's seeing someone else behind my back anyway. Remember, I caught her cheating before."
"Yeah, I remember," I said as I broke eye contact with him and remembered the lingering hug we shared that night. "She's pissed at you for cheating on her, but she's done it to you. That makes no sense."
"I'm better off without her, right?" he asked, moving his hand closer to mine again. Our fingers touched lightly, but I didn't take his hand.
"I've never met her, Michael. But you know I always felt she wasn't the right woman for you. She treated you like shit and you treated her like a queen. You deserve so much more than that. You deserve a woman who loves you and wants to treat you like a king." I looked up at him and and felt my heart racing faster.
"I told her nothing had ever happened between us, but ever since that night I caught her, she's acted suspicious. She knows I came over here that night to talk to you. She thinks I'm in love with you -- " he trailed off.
I got up from the couch, walked into the kitchen and sat down at the table. The look in Michael's eyes made me want to kiss him so bad that I had to move away from him or I would have done something I regretted. He got up and followed me.
"Why would she think that, Michael?" I didn't turn to look at him, instead I kept my gaze fixed on the table in front of me. "I mean, seriously, why would she think that unless you gave her some reason to think that?"
"I don't know, Reese. I really don't know. She said she came to see me one day at work just as you and I were going out to lunch. I guess she saw us together, then saw your number in my phone last night and put two and two together." He came to the table and sat down beside me. "She said she saw the way we looked at each other and thought we looked like we were madly in love."
"I'm sorry, Michael. Maybe you shouldn't be here. I don't want to cause you any more problems than you're already having. If she thinks we're in love with each other, it's probably best for us to keep our distance so you can work things out with her." I still didn't make eye contact with him.
"I don't want to work things out with her. Let her believe what she wants. Irefuse to keep my distance from you. We're friends and if she doesn't believe that there's nothing going on between us, then that's her problem. I care about our friendship too much to throw it away just because of some crazy notion that we're in love with each other."
"It's not a crazy notion, Michael," I started. "I've heard people at the office talking. They think the same thing. Veronica even asked me once if we were. I told her we were just friends but she said she could see by the way I looked at you that we were more than just friends."
I kept my gaze fixed at the table. My heart was racing. What would happen to our friendship if I told him how I really felt? I can't tell him. I wouldn't want to see his reaction or possibly risk not ever seeing him again.
"Don't worry. Anytime I heard people talking, I set them straight. I told them that you were happy with Sandy and could never possibly think about a relationship with me. I told them Sandy is a beautiful woman and why would you want me when you have her," I said, my voice trembling. "Until I change my life and lose more weight, I'm destined to be alone."
"I think you're perfect just the way you are. Don't let anyone ever tell you different."
"That's sweet of you to say, Michael. I know you're just trying to make me feel better. But you know I'm right. Sandy's beautiful, she's thin. She could have any man she wants. We can't forget women like Veronica. She's got a different guy every night, men fall at her feet to be with her. Then there's me. Not so beautiful, not so thin. Yeah, there's a line of guys bustin' down my door," I said as I turned my face to wipe a tear on my sleeve.
He placed his hand on my chin and turned my head up to look at him. "You're a beautiful woman, Reese. I don't know if anyone's ever told you that. Any man would be lucky to have you," he said as he caressed my cheek softly.
I put my hand on his, bringing it to my lips and kissing his palm softly. "Thank you. It means a lot to me to hear you say that."
"I'm serious. You are beautiful. I've thought so since the day we met."
He leaned in closer to me, brushed my hair back behind my ear and caressed my cheek again. Our faces were so close, I could feel his staggered breath. I turned my head slightly and pressed my lips gently against his. He responded by placing his hand on the back of my neck and pulling me closer for a deeper kiss. I felt his other hand gently brush against my breast as he placed it high on my waist, his thumb just missing my nipple. It sent shivers through my entire body. After a few seconds, I pulled away, feeling the heat of embarrassment in my cheeks while my heart raced faster.
"I'm sorry, Michael. I'm so sorry," I said as I got up and walked back to the couch.
"Sorry for what, Reese?"
"I shouldn't have kissed you. It's wrong. We're friends and I don't want to ruin that."
He walked over, sat down next to me and put his hand on my leg. "How can you think that, Reese? It felt right to me."
"I -- we -- I can't," I said, trying to find my words.
"You can't what?"
"I don't want to ruin what we have, Michael. I care about you so much and I want you to be happy. I've wanted to do that for a long time, now that we have, I'm worried about where our relationship is going. I don't want you to hate me."
"I could never hate you. You're my best friend. I know we haven't gone out much in awhile, but that was only because Sandy was so jealous any time I even said hello to another woman. I think it's time we took our relationship to the next level."
"I can't, Michael. I just can't. I think you should go," I said as I forced the words past my lips. The look of disappointment on his face made my heart sink.
"If that's what you want then I'll go," he said then walked to the kitchen for his jacket.
"Yes, I think it will be best if you leave."
"I'll see you at work tomorrow." He turned and gave me a smile, opened the door and left.
I just sat there on the couch, crying. I can't even believe what I had just done. I loved Michael so much and here was my opportunity to let him know how I felt, instead, I kick him out. I know I won't be able to ever look him in the eye again after what had happened tonight. I turned off the TV, locked the door, shut off the rest of the lights in my apartment, went to the bedroom, fell to the bed and cried myself to sleep.
The next morning I woke early. I decided I needed a day or so to figure out how I would handle things with Michael, so I called in sick. I went back to sleep and was awakened about an hour later by my phone ringing. I picked up the handset next to my bed and saw the caller ID. It was Michael so I let my machine pick it up.
"Hey. This is Reese. Not here right now, leave a message," my voice said on the answering machine.
"Reese?" Michael said, then a pause.
"Reese?" he repeated. "I know you're there. Pick up. This is Michael. We need to talk about what happened last night. I -- need -- um -- please, just call my cell." Then the machine beeped and the line went silent.
A few minutes later my cell phone rang. I didn't get up to find it because I knew it was Michael. I dozed off, slept for about another hour and was awakened once more by my phone ringing. It was Michael again. This onslaught of phone calls went on all day. Sometimes he'd leave a message, sometimes he wouldn't. After about five calls, I turned the ringer off on my phone, turned the volume down on my answering machine and turned my cell phone off.
I went into the other bedroom where I had my computer, powered it up, and just stared blankly at the screen. I pulled up one of my favorite websites and sat there playing games until late in the afternoon. I fixed myself some lunch around 2:00, went into the living room and turned on the TV. I wasn't really interested in what was on, I just wanted the noise in the background. I headed back to my computer and checked my email. Michael had been trying to email me all day as well as call. I deleted his emails without opening them, shut down my computer, went back to my room and fell asleep across the bed again.
I was awakened again a few hours later to a knock on my door. I walked out to look in the peep hole to see who it was. Of course, it was Michael. I just stood there staring at the door, refusing to let him in. I didn't say a word as he kept knocking.
"Reese! I know you're there, I saw your car outside. Can we talk about this, please?" he said through the door, still knocking. After a long pause, I finally spoke.
"There's nothing to talk about, Michael. I think you should go home."
"We need to talk about what happened between us last night. Will you open the door?"
"NO! I said there's nothing to talk about. What I did was wrong, it never should have happened. Please just go home and leave me alone." I wanted exactly the opposite but my emotions were on overload and I needed time to think.
I heard no response from him so I looked through the peep hole again. He was gone. I went to the kitchen, fixed myself dinner, grabbed the remote for the TV and flipped through the channels until I found something I wanted to watch. When I finished my dinner, I popped in a movie and fell asleep on the couch.
I got up the next morning, took a shower and got ready to go to work. I went into the kitchen to make myself some coffee and I noticed there were three new messages on my answering machine. I pushed the play button and listened.
"Reese, listen to me. We need to talk about this. I care way too much about you to leave things like this. I hope you'll be at work tomorrow, I want to see you. Please, let's talk," Michael's voice said, there was a long pause, then a beep.
The next message was also Michael, "I really hope you're all right. See you at work tomorrow," and another long pause before the end beep. The third message was a hang-up, but I'm guessing it was Michael also.
I fixed myself a bagel, poured a cup of coffee, sat down at the table and wondered just exactly how I would handle the situation with Michael. As I sipped my coffee slowly and picked at my bagel, I couldn't help but think about that kiss and how good his lips felt against mine. I wanted him so badly, I just didn't know what to do.
I finished my coffee, cleaned up the dishes from the table, filled my travel mug with the rest of the coffee from the pot and headed out the door. My thoughts drifted back to Monday night and that soft slow kiss with Michael.
As I walked into the main lobby from the parking level, I was greeted by the receptionist. "G'morning, Reese. Getting an early start today, huh?"
"G'morning, Barb. Yeah, I want to make up for missing yesterday," I told her as I headed toward the elevators. The elevator ride to the eighth floor seemed to take longer than usual, it was probably just my anxiety.
I got to my cubicle and noticed something laying on my desk. As I got closer, I saw it was a single long stemmed yellow rose with a card attached to it. The card read: We need to talk. M.
I powered up my computer, grabbed the stacks of invoices from my desk and headed into the copy room. I heard Michael's voice behind me as I worked on making my copies for the day.
"G'morning, Reese. It's good to see you. Hope you're feeling better."
"I am. Thank you for the rose, Michael, I want -- " I turned to face him but he was gone.
I finished up what I needed to do in the copy room, went to the break room to find something to put the rose in and headed back to my desk. Michael was already working when I approached. He wasn't wearing a suit today, but rather black slacks and a dark gray sweater. Just seeing him made my heart race again. I was glad he was here early so we could talk before our other co-workers arrived.
"Thank you for the rose, Michael," I repeated as I set everything down on my desk. "I want to clear the air between us before everyone starts arriving. I'm sorry I kissed you the other night."
"Stop apologizing, Reese. I understand why you're upset. I promise I'm not angry with you and we're still friends." The smile he gave me made my heart melt, but I kept myself in control.
"Thank you, Michael. I'm glad we can get past this. I know kissing you was wrong. You came to me because you needed a shoulder to cry on and I threw myself at you."
"We were sitting close, we were talking like we never had before, we just got caught up in the moment. Actually, I rather enjoyed it."
"You're not angry with me?"
"I could never be angry with you, Reese."
"I'm so embarrassed about this whole thing, Michael. Can we just put it behind us?"
"Is that what you want?"
"Yes. I just want to forget that it happened," I said, knowing I could never forget how his lips felt on mine.
"Consider it forgotten," he replied, giving me another warm smile.
We worked silently through most of the morning. When the lunch bell rang, I grabbed my purse and headed toward the elevator. While I was waiting for the elevator, Veronica asked where Michael and I were going for lunch. I told her I was eating lunch at the new café on the sixth floor today, alone. Michael was in the break room and he called out to me, but I didn't respond. I got in the elevator and saw Michael walking toward me as the doors closed.
Today was the first day since Michael started working here that I've eaten lunch alone. I headed down to the café and found a table in the corner. I ordered a cheeseburger, fries and a Diet Coke. I was about halfway done with my cheeseburger when I saw Michael walking in. He saw me then walked toward me.
"I ran into Veronica and she said you came down here for lunch today," he said, sitting down in the chair opposite me. "Why didn't you wait for me?"
"I didn't think you wanted to have lunch with me today."
"Why would you think that? We've had lunch together everyday since I started working here."
"I know I said I wanted to put the other night behind us Michael, but I just can't. I don't want to get in the way of you clearing things up with Sandy -- " I trailed off.
"I told you the other night that I don't want to clear things up with her. We're through."
"That's what makes it so difficult to see you every day now, Michael." I turned my gaze away from him, looking everywhere but into his eyes.
"When you were with Sandy, I never had to worry about embarrassing myself. Now that I know things are over with Sandy and you're available, it makes it difficult for me to be around you."
"Reese, I don't know what to say --"
"I care about you a lot, Michael. Way more than I should."
"I care about you too, Reese. You're my best friend," he said, taking my hand.
"Michael, I -- " I started, but couldn't get the words past my lips.
"You're shaking like a leaf, Reese. What's wrong?"
"I have to go."
"Where are you going?" he asked, grabbing my wrist gently.
"I've got a lot of work to catch up on Michael. I'll see you later," I said as I pulled my wrist away from him. I put some money on the table for my food then raced out of the café.
I headed back to my cubicle and buried myself in work for the rest of the day. Michael was busy for most of the day with other things that our boss wanted him to do, so I didn't get to see him until quitting time. We rode the elevator down to the parking level, not saying a word.
"See you tomorrow," he said.
"Bye," I said quietly as I got into my car.
I didn't see Michael all day on Thursday, not even at quitting time. I knew he was working though, his leather jacket was hanging on the coat rack just outside our cubicle where it always was. At quitting time, I cleaned up our desks, turned off the computers and headed home.
Things really had changed between us since Monday. I barely spoke to Michael, even when he was at his desk. Friday, he was back in the cubicle with me. He would glance up from time-to-time, a sad look on his face. Veronica came over right near quitting time and invited me out to a new dance club in the area with some of the girls from the office tonight.
"It's gonna be fun, Reese. You should come!"
"I don't know, Veronica. I'm just not into the whole dance club thing." I glanced over at Michael who I could tell was pretending not to be listening.
"You gotta come! There's tons of hot guys there!"
"What time?" I asked.
"Eight o'clock," she replied.
"Okay. I won't make any promises, but I will try," I said, smiling softly and glancing over at Michael again. She wrote down the address of the place and said good-bye as she headed for the elevator.
"You gonna go?" Michael asked, not looking up from his computer.
"I don't know. You think I should?"
"Sounds like it'll be fun."
"Wanna come with me?"
"No. I've got other plans. Have fun tonight. You deserve it, Reese." Our eyes locked for a few seconds before we both looked away and resumed working.
Michael and I both cleaned up our desks today, he took our coffee cups into the break room to clean them out and I held the elevator for him. We rode down in silence again and he walked me to my car. He told me again to have fun, softly kissed my cheek then turned and walked to his car.
I got home and immediately started rifling through my closet to find something to wear. My cell phone rang but I didn't get to it in time. I pulled it out of my purse, dialed voice mail and listened to the message.
"Hey Reese, it's Veronica. I realized I didn't tell you that dress is casual for tonight. It's not an upscale or fancy place, so just wear something comfortable. Oh and wear comfortable shoes 'cause we intend on keeping your butt on the dance floor most of the night! See ya later!" I deleted the message and went back to choosing an outfit.
I finally settled on wearing a pair of black slacks and an emerald green blouse. It was comfortable and I could wear flats so my feet would be comfortable too. I fixed myself dinner then called Michael to ask him again if he wanted to go, but I got his voice mail. I left him a message telling him where the place is at if he changes his mind, closed my phone and headed out the door.
The dance club was dark, noisy and smoky. I saw Veronica and the other girls waving to me from the other side of the dance floor so I headed toward them, stopping to order a drink at the bar on the way. I played it safe and ordered a Diet Coke since I was driving and probably wouldn't be there that long anyway. I didn't drink alcohol that often, mostly during special occasions or holidays, so even one or two drinks would have made me tipsy.
I found an empty seat next to Veronica, removed my coat and sat down. The music had stopped for a few minutes, so we were able to talk in a normal tone of voice.
"Glad you made it, Reese!" she said, leaning over to hug me.
"I probably won't stay long."
"Yeah you will. You're gonna have so much fun, you won't wanna leave. Where's Michael? Didn't he come with you?"
"No. I invited him, but he said he had other plans," I told her. "It's probably best because we're not getting along all that great anyway."
"Yeah. It's a long story."
The music started again and I looked at her, smiling. "I didn't come here to sit, let's go dance!" I forced myself to change my mood. I was determined to have a good time, despite how depressed I really was. Michael was right, I deserve to have some fun.
Two hours had passed and I think I only sat down once. Veronica was ordering drink after drink for all of us, insisting on paying for everyone. We took breaks from dancing long enough to walk to the table and sip our drinks, then headed back out to the dance floor. I sat down for about 20 minutes, just to catch my breath and the waitress brought over another round of drinks. I switched from Diet Coke to Bacardi and Diet Coke with an occasional shot of tequila when the rest of the girls took a break from dancing.
When I stood up, I lost my footing and fell right into the arms of a guy walking by. He just smiled at me, holding on to me while I got my balance. He didn't seem to mind that I fell right into his arms.
"Wanna dance?" he shouted.
"Sure!" I answered as I grabbed his shoulder, trying to get my footing back. He took my hand and led me to the dance floor where we danced for the next four songs. A slower song started playing and as I turned to walk back to the table, he took my hand and pulled me into him.
"What's your name?" he finally asked as he held me close.
"Reese. And you?" I replied.
"Glen. Nice to meet you, Reese." He pulled me in closer. I wrapped my arms around his neck and I felt his hands on my waist, slowly caressing up and down.
I briefly pulled away from him, he looked down at me, put his hands on my cheeks and pulled me in for a kiss. I tangled my fingers through his hair, pulled him closer to me and plunged my tongue into his mouth. We kissed while our bodies swayed to the music. A flood of guilt ran through me and I pulled away from him.
"I'm sorry, Glen, I can't do this," I said.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"I'm in love with someone else, I shouldn't be here with you right now." There was a slight slur in my words, the tequila and Bacardi were definitely beginning to effect me.
"I'm sorry, too, Reese. You just look so beautiful, I seized the moment," he said, caressing my cheek. "Can you forgive me?"
"Of course I can, let's just finish our dance." I gave him a small smile before I rested my head on his shoulder while our bodies moved in harmony with the music.
I glanced over at the bar while Glen and I danced. I saw a guy who I thought looked like Michael sitting there, looking out over the dance floor. He made eye contact with me, turned away, got up and moved to a spot at the opposite end of the bar, just out of eye sight. I felt so guilty for kissing Glen, I hope that wasn't Michael I saw sitting at the bar.
Michael has said more than once that we're nothing more than friends, so why was I feeling so guilty? He told me to have fun tonight. Despite everything, all my thoughts were of Michael and I couldn't help but wish it were him here holding me like this.
I told Glen I was tired and wanted to sit the next song out. He took my hand, led me back to the table, sat down next to me and flagged down a waitress. I looked all around for the guy that looked like Michael. I thought briefly that maybe he'd decided to come after all. I had to know if it was him or just my imagination playing tricks.
"Glen, I thought I saw a friend up at the bar. Do you mind if I go look?" I asked slowly, trying to keep my words from slurring.
"Sure. If I'm not here when you get back, just look for me on the dance floor." He gave me a broad smile then kissed my cheek.
"'K-see-ya-later," I slurred, not looking at him as I walked quickly but unsteadily toward the bar.
I tripped over my own feet a few times as I approached the bar and realized I was way beyond tipsy. My head was spinning and I had trouble walking straight. I headed over to the other side of the bar where I saw the guy who looked like Michael earlier. As I rounded the corner of the bar I saw him. It was Michael. He didn't see me approaching at first, then glanced over and noticed I wasn't walking straight. He got up and helped me to the stool beside him and I tripped right into his arms.
"What're-you-doin'-here?" I asked, my words slurring together while I steadied myself and sat down on the stool next to Michael.
"I got your message and thought I'd check things out. How much have you had to drink?"
"I dunno. Ask Veronica how much money she's got, then I can tell ya how much I drank." I brought my hand up to my mouth to stifle a giggle as Michael looked at me with concern in his eyes.
"Reese, this isn't like you. How are you getting home?"
"Um -- my car, silly!" I told him, slapping his arm softly.
"I don't think so!" he said. "You're in no condition to drive. You can barely walk."
"What're-you-my-father?" I asked, annoyed.
"No, but I am your friend and I don't want you to get hurt or hurt someone else." He held out his hand and helped me to my feet. "Where are you sitting?"
"Over-dare-somewhere," I said, pointing in all directions and stumbling into other people at the bar. "Sorry." I added as I bumped into people. Michael put his arm around me to steady me and we walked over to the table where Veronica and the other girls were now sitting, resting for a few minutes before heading back out to the floor. Glen had joined them and he was sitting really close to Veronica.
"Look who made it!" I put my arm around Michael and nearly knocked him off his feet.
"Nice to see you, Mike," Glen said cooly.
"You two know each other?" I asked, looking surprised.
"Yeah," Michael replied. "We went to school together."
"Not really your cuppa tea, Mike, whatcha doin' here?" Glen asked.
"Just came to check things out, Glen. Reese invited me earlier today," he said, still trying to hold me up. "We work together." He watched Glen and Veronica share a deep slow kiss. "Makin' the rounds tonight, huh?"
"I don't know what you're talkin' about, Mike," Glen said.
"You and Reese were goin' at it pretty heavy on the dance floor just a few minutes ago, now you're all over Veronica. What's the matter, isn't Reese good enough for you?" There was an angry tone in his voice and he clenched his fists at his sides.
"First off, buddy, it ain't none of your damn business who I kiss or when," Glen started as he got to his feet and walked over to Michael. "Second, Reese is --"
"She's what? Not beautiful enough for you? Reese deserves way better than a guy like you in her life, Glen."
"What kind of guy does she deserve, Mikey? You?" he asked.
"No, I didn't say that -- she -- we -- " Michael stammered, breaking eye contact with Glen and looking at me again.
"Spit it out, Mike," he said.