Let Down Your Hair...
(Part four of a novella fairy tale)
It wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon, following no phone calls, no emails, no text messages, not even work-related or pretend work-related, that Dino swung by my desk.
“Hey,” said my man of few words.
“Hey?” I said. “Hey? That’s all you’ve got to say? I have bruises that have stuck around longer that you,” I said in a whisper. I did, too.
“Shh, sorry,” he said, looking around. No one was anywhere near my cubicle. “I know I look like a total jerk, and I apologize. Friday was un-fucking-believable,” he said, his lips curving up at the ends.
I could hear Susie now. “You want a relationship with a guy who uses the word ‘un-fucking-believable’ and uses it in concert with the most precious experience a girl can have? You’re better than that.” Truth was, I didn’t think I was better than that. I picked up every crumb he dropped.
“I can’t stop thinking about you,” he said. While I was seated at my desk, I swiveled my chair around to face him. His hands were in his pocket and he was bouncing on the balls of his feet, thrusting his hips back and forth, maybe juggling his other set of balls, who knew? He stepped in a little closer and all I knew was that if I turned my head a few inches he could have popped his guido right into my ear. Although why he would want to do that I couldn’t imagine. I shifted back in my chair, and away from that disturbing image, afraid I was going to break out in the laughing-at-a-funeral chuckle. I swallowed, and tried to ask myself. WWSD? What would Susie do?
I had to set aside emotions and petty thoughts, and keep my eye on the ball, er, prize. What did I want to happen here? Other than Dino dropping to the floor on bended knee and proposing, that is. I guess, if I had to be honest, I did want his commitment to being in a relationship with me, even though it did happen a little backwards, what with all the mind-blowing passion kicking things off. Even though I knew Dino had his suspicions, I knew our hook-up was not merely a result of the Rapunzel perfume or Phux factor. If it had anything to do with it at all, it may have added a little Sriracha hot chili sauce to the enchilada, a little Party in the USA to the dance floor, a little anti-frizz gel to the blow dry. So yeah, I wanted to do it again, and this time sans any so-called aphrodisiac. I wanted to do it after a real life, honest to goodness date. I wanted to be wined and dined and wooed--I wanted to learn his middle name for goodness sake--what does a parent stick in between a Dean and Dineno? Was it too much to ask for him to get to know me, the real me? To find out that with a name like MaryBeth, you didn’t even need a middle name.
“What do you think about me?” I couldn’t resist flirting and even tried to wind a strand of hair around my finger. Strand was such a strong word.
“You know. You. That night. God.” He ran his fingers through his curls and I was consumed with jealousy of his hands. He looked down at me. “Was it really the perfume that caused all that?”
“What do you think?” I tried to make my voice husky, alluring, without sounding like I was from Australia or something. My inflection wasn’t the problem; my question was. Never ask something you don’t want the answer to. No wonder I wasn’t in a relationship, I didn’t understand the rules.
“Well, to be quite honest, yeah. I think you put that stuff on to drive me crazy.”
His hands were now resting on his hips, a defensive stance against my feminine allure?
“You’re kidding right? You...” I had to stop. “You really think just because I put on a dab of perfume, you were hypnotized and lured in by me, not acting of your own free will, but powerless to resist my charms?”
“You’re a nice girl, and all, MaryBeth. But, come on. Well.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I think you kinda liked me before. A lot. I used to catch you staring at me.”
He noticed. Drats. Regroup. “Yeah, Dino, I liked you. I still do. I thought you were cute. But I never, ever, set out to trap you. Especially with some lame celebrity scent. How was I supposed to know you were coming back that night? You were the one who left your cell phone. I was minding my own business. You can’t really believe one whiff of me in that perfume and whammo! You were under my spell?”
“Since you’re throwing around those kinds of words like ‘spell,’ and ‘hypnotized,’ yeah, I have to tell you, I felt bewitched.”
“It’s called lust,” I said with a sigh. “Just lust.” I started to turn my chair back toward my desk, but then I stopped. I couldn’t go on living this way, waiting for his call or text that never came. I had to say what I wanted, and want what I said. “I had enough passion for the both of us, Dino. I didn’t need any aphrodisiac. I thought we were having fun that night, dancing around the office and goofing off. I guess maybe that gave me a little boost of confidence. Did you ever think that was what you were attracted to? Not some magic tantalizing aroma, but maybe just plain ol’ me?”
I felt the tears squinch up behind my eyes. Some girls can pull off damsel in distress weeping, encouraging TLC from a nearby Lothario. I was not one of them. Mucus would build up and spew in an uncontrollably geyser from my nose; tears would cascade over my entire face, making sure to powerwash every last drop of mascara and eye shadow I had on, creating dirty purple/black rivulets that congealed on my cheeks, and whichever sounded worse, a braying ass or cat retching up a hair ball, that’s how I sounded when I wept. I almost hyperventilated in my efforts not to cry, especially not in front of Dino.
His hand reached for my shoulder and squeezed. I decided anger beats sorrow any day. “You never noticed me, Dino. I have a lot to offer.” I gulped back a sob which came out like the hideous megaphoned hiccup during a yawn. “I happen to be an awesome drummer at RockBand.” I sniffed. “Maybe there’s a girl in here that’s worth getting to know, but guys like you who are always blinded by blonde hair and boobs have no idea what you’re missing out on...”
“What are you guys talking about?” La-ura snuck up on us, as usual; she was wearing 8-inch stilettos, what else could she do but tip-toe?
“Rapunzel,” I said, answering La-ura.
“RockBand,” Quick Draw McGraw said at the exact same time.
“Um, yeah,” I added. “We were trying to figure out what kind of music could go with the perfume campaign, you know, to try to get a handle on the branding.”
“Well, since the perfume was created by a rock star, I would say you should start there, don’t you think?”
“Yes. Of course.” I smacked my forehead with the palm of my hand.
“They want to see some creative by the end of the week. Can you handle that?” La-ura asked me, still looking suspiciously suspicious. Even though I didn’t now what all she heard, I was pretty sure her ego would never ever consider me a threat.
“Yes, sure, Laura. I think we’ve got some good ideas...”
She cut me off and yanked on Dino’s tie. “I need to speak to you.” I watched her sashay down the hall toward her office, Dino following in her wake. Again, Susie’s words came back to taunt me. He did kind of remind me of Fred Flintstone’s pet dinosaur, yammering down the hall looking for a juicy bone to chew on.
Stay tuned for part five...