View From Heaven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 14 (v.1) - Chapter 13

Submitted: March 27, 2008

Reads: 161

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Submitted: March 27, 2008

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Chapter 13

“Did you ever notice how John Travolta dances in virtually every single one of his films?”

“I never even thought about it. Well, I can see why. He’s got the talent. I suppose he’s got the right to show it off.”

“Pssh! Just look at him,” Jamie signaled with disgust towards Cecily’s humble twenty-seven inch T.V. where Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace were currently performing the twist at the Jack Rabbit Slim’s night club. “He’s always got that ridiculous look on his face like he’s incredibly constipated or something.”

“Hah!” Cecily cried out.

“And come on, I danced better than that tonight, right?”

Cecily lifted her head from its comfortable resting place on Jamie’s chest in order to better glimpse his sour expression.

“Yes, baby, everyone was envious of your wicked Cha Cha Slide moves. Your face on the other hand,” she grabbed his chin with a hand gently rubbing at the neat stubble lining it she adored so much. “The face could use some work.”

Before she could react, Cecily was locked in Jamie’s arms and he was tickling her stomach violently. She writhed and screamed at the top of her lungs, but to no avail. Even shouting “Mercy!” did not suffice to soften his heart.

“Take it back!” he growled moving one hand up to her arm pits.

“No!” she hollered laughing wildly dangling half way off the couch.

“All right!” Cecily finally conceded in a voice weak with laughter. “All right you win. You win! You are so much better looking than John Travolta. You are a man-god!”

Jamie finally released his prisoner from captivity and she rolled the rest of the way off his legs onto the floor, landing on the wood with a loud thud. There was a moment of breathless giggling before two hands appeared above her and Cecily was lifted back onto the couch tight against Jamie. They resumed their late night viewing of “Pulp Fiction”, dressed to the nines.

It had been just minutes ago they had returned to her apartment following the Merrill-Lynch holiday gala at the Ritz-Carlton. Cecily had never felt more like Cinderella that December evening as she entered the breathtaking confines of the ballroom in her apple red, satin halter dress, with her dark hair pulled tight to the back of her head flowing out into a smooth, classy pony tail. She clung tightly, almost protectively, to Jamie’s arm as he led her across the expansive floor, looking undeniably handsome in his charcoal black suit with satin black tie. They turned a few heads as they passed under the giant crystal chandelier illuminating the entire room in a warm glow. He immediately began introducing Cecily to friends and colleagues he spotted as if showing her off was his sole reason for attending the party. She was well aware of what a dashing pair they made tonight and it made her heart swell with pride.

As a waitress in an upper-scale restaurant, Cecily felt as if she had always been on the outside looking in. However, this one night gave her the opportunity to experience life from the other side for once. Here she stood drinking, eating, and schmoozing with millionaire CEO’s of one of the world’s largest financial management companies—men and women who drove cars more expensive than her apartment, owned two and three houses in exotic locations she had never heard of, and would retire before they came close to fifty. Yet, they drank, ate, and talked with her as if she was one of them, never intuiting that tomorrow she may very well be serving them hors d’oeuvres and refilling their drinks over lunch. It truly was a Cinderella story and midnight would arrive in a flash. That’s why she meant to enjoy herself.

However, playing the role did not come as easy as she might have hoped. She could not hang on her boyfriend’s arm all night like a Christmas ornament; at some point she had to fend for herself. Therefore, she would have to acquire the etiquette of affluence through instantaneous observation, ready at a moment’s notice to put it into effect. Most of the surface stuff was easy:

1. Show little emotion, but laugh at everything someone else has to say.

2. Comment on how delicious the food is but only eat one bite.

3. At least pretend you are somewhat knowledgeable in every area of life by always putting in your two cents. Total ignorance of any subject is unacceptable.

These rules of the game she attained within minutes of her arrival and she had seen it every day for the past five years at her job. No matter who she met or with whom she talked, these seemed to hold true.

However, she had a new lesson to learn—one she could only have ever gathered through extended casual conversation. The golden rule of social encounters with the rich and successful was this: lie unto others as they lie unto you.

Fib, fake, misrepresent, exaggerate, or embellish. The truth would usually get you nowhere if you wished to maintain your reputation or keep a conversation interesting. Put a third Bentley into your garage, tack another zero onto the end of your yearly assets. It certainly wasn’t going to hurt anyone, because everyone else was doing the same thing.

Cecily found this little game was almost inevitable particularly during one of her longer conversations of the night with Deanna, the wife of one of Jamie’s business partners.

“Your dress is beautiful,” Cecily exclaimed with genuine interest in the Asian woman’s flowing, strapless cream colored dress which hugged her perfect figure perfectly.

“Thank you,” Deanna replied with a bright smile flattening the non-existent wrinkles of the dress with her long manicured fingers. “It’s a Dior. I found it at the last minute just wandering around Saks.”

The woman, probably in her early thirties, snuck a look over at her husband, Eric, who was laughing heartily over something with Jamie, then raised a hand to shield her mouth as if disclosing a deep secret.

“He hasn’t seen the price tag yet. I lied and told him it was on sale for half off, and he believed me. Shows how much he knows about fashion. I think he might lose half his mind when he sees the credit card bill for five thousand dollars.”

Cecily nearly spit out the candy cane martini she was working on at the moment. Two and a half month’s rent right there on that—that table cloth wrapped around the woman’s body, was all she could think. But still she couldn’t help but back a few inches away from the dress, terrified she may do something to damage it, like breathe on it.

“I love your dress too. You are a fine little mama! Where’d you find it?”

Sixty five dollars full price at GroupUsa. She had almost thought better of buying it because she didn’t know how she was going to afford it this month.

“This? Oh,um, just a little number I found by Prada.”

Cute, Cecily. Real cute. She didn’t even have to think about that one. The lying came naturally in this environment.

“It’s wonderful to finally meet you,” Deanna advanced their conversation leaning against one of the stuffed dining table chairs beside her. “Eric says Jamie mentions you all the time in the office. What did he call it? Oh, yes. ‘A severe case of mentionitis’. You must be quite the girl.”

“He…he does?” Cecily couldn’t help but blush. She never thought cool, slick businessman Jamie would be one to go singing her praises to the world no matter how much he cared for her. She would have to thank him for that later.

“Yes. You must be a wonderful girl. Because he, if you’ll let me say it, he is quite the guy himself.” Cecily beamed proudly in Jamie’s direction and found him smiling back at her. She held up her empty glass to signal she needed a new drink and he headed for the bar compliantly.

“I think so too,” she nodded dreamily.

“Yeah, he has helped us out so much in the past, too. He gave Eric so much great marriage advice last year while we were still engaged.”

Funny, Cecily thought. That was just about the time his own marriage was falling into shambles.

“He even helped us move all our furniture into our new apartment down on North. He is so generous.” Deanna leaned in towards Cecily, a mischievous smile forming on her lips. “You better hope Eric and I last or I am coming straight for that man.”

She pointed towards the returning Jamie and tittered loudly at herself.

Cecily was more than a little taken aback by this comment, and wasn’t quite sure how to reply, so she forced a smile. Who the hell said something like that to someone’s girlfriend? It was her fortune that Jamie arrived just at that moment to rescue her and provide a good excuse for cutting away from her new “friend” Deanna.

It had been a strange encounter, one that made her ponder whether all rich women in five thousand dollar dresses were hot on other women’s boyfriends. However, she had completely forgotten about Deanna by the time Jamie began spinning her around the dance floor to cheesy eighties tunes, and Cecily remembered just how well even the richest of the rich could party if they had enough drinks in them.

She was still feeling a bit dizzy as the clock struck 1 A.M. When the movie went to commercial, Jamie switched off the television with the remote and tossed his expensive satin tie lazily onto the ground. The two lay enjoying the silence for a moment.

“How did I look tonight?” Cecily asked rolling over to face Jamie and nestling her face into his warm body.

A grin crept onto Jamie’s face.

“Darling, you looked wonderful tonight,” he sang in his best, yet slightly off-tune Eric Clapton.

Cecily smacked him playfully on the arm.

“I’m serious,” he replied sobering up and gliding hand gently over her back. “You looked beautiful. The most beautiful one in the room. I was so proud of you.”

Cecily bit her lip, her face beaming.

“And my dress. Did you like it?”

“Yes, but not as much as I liked the idea of getting you out of it.” He raised an eyebrow into a rather devilish look and snaked his hand towards the zipper on the back of the dress. Cecily quickly swatted it away.

“Spoken like a true male,” she mumbled a bit annoyed, but not altogether unpleased.

“But, seriously,” she urged. “Was my dress as impressive as the other women?”

“It was ten times better, sweetheart.” Jamie shifted under her weight and ran a hand over his tired eyes. “I only wish you would have let me buy you a dress.
Cecily sat up stiffly and frowned deeply at him.

“What is that supposed to mean? You don’t think my dress was as good as the others, do you? Just because it wasn’t—it didn’t cost five thousand dollars.”

Jamie cried out.

“Five thousand dollars! Who would spend five thousand dollars on a dress?”

Cecily shot a rather sheepish look in Jamie’s direction. She didn’t really have the stomach to bring up Deanna at the moment.

“I only meant,” Jamie continued, “that I wish you didn’t spend all that money for one of my events. You work so hard for that money, it isn’t right. I should be the one giving it to you. I should be giving you all of it.”

With these words, the hard look on Cecily’s face quickly melted back into a smile. That was it; no matter how hard she tried to uncover any number of her boyfriend’s faults, he always succeeded in convincing her a bit further that he was, well, perfect. Sometimes that fact was a bit unnerving, but at this late hour, warm inside his arms, it comforted her incredibly.

Cecily took hold of Jamie’s hand and gently coaxed him up from his sprawled out position on the couch. He followed her willingly in the direction of her bedroom, loosening the buttons of his now wrinkled white dress shirt.

“Listen, the church my mom’s been going to—a church in Lincoln Park, well they’re throwing her a fiftieth birthday party next Thursday.”

“Whoa, your mom is turning fifty?” Jamie whistled, draping his shirt and tie over one of her bed posts. “That’s pretty insane.”

“Yes, well. It’s going to be nothing but cheesy old people and nauseating home cooked food and fruit punch—and not the good kind, the kind without any alcohol. All-in-all it’s going to be a really miserable night, and I want you to be my date.”

Jamie paused in the process of removing his watch.

“I guess it’s kind of inevitable your mom would finally find out about the two of us. Are you ready for that?”

Cecily collapsed onto her bed, feeling too exhausted to even undress herself.

“Of course I’m ready. I’ve been ready from the very beginning. I won’t even need to buy her a birthday gift; the news alone will be enough for her to die happy.” She reached her hands out for Jamie, practically begging him to lay with her. “Besides, I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore. I’m ready to show you off to the world.”

Jamie stepped out of his trousers and crawled onto the bed next to her, his lips lingering just inches from hers in a teasing manner.

“Well, then, I would love nothing more than to attend your mother’s fiftieth birthday party with a bunch of old people and bad food.”

With this he brought his mouth firmly against hers and rolled his hips slowly until she felt the brunt of his body weight. Cecily was just about to let out a silent thank you for times like these when she had someone to help get her out of her clothes, but a loud knock at the door startled them. Both froze in confusion.

“It’s almost 1:30 in the morning. Who the hell is that?” Jamie grumbled pushing himself off the bed, then walking into the main room to investigate.

Cecily stalked after him nervously, considering how she must invest in a baseball bat. When she emerged from her bedroom, Jamie was already peering into the peep hole. After a moment he straightened himself again.

“Hmm,” he grunted.

“Who is it?” she urged, rather irritated at this point.

“Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the guy, but I’m pretty sure this is your friend Landon.”

Cecily’s heart dropped into her feet at the sound of his name. She squeezed her eyes shut actually welcoming the idea that she had fallen asleep during sex and that this was a dream. Anything would have been less uncomfortable than dealing with Landon again at this hour and in this situation. When she peeled open her lids again, she found Jamie reaching for the door.

“What are you doing?” she hissed. Jamie retracted his hand as if he had been burnt.

“I’m, I’m opening the door for Landon.”

“I doubt he’s here to scout out a new Fruit of the Loom model!” she returned gesturing towards his black boxer briefs, the only item of clothing he still sported.

Jamie gazed down at himself with furrowed eyebrows as if just becoming aware of his nearly naked state, and then retreated, his eyes twinkling.

“So much for wanting to show me off to the world,” he mumbled, re-entering her bedroom. Cecily gave him a playful shove for good measure, then tip-toed to the door.

Any hopes that Jamie could have been mistaken were dashed when she spotted the curly haired, t-shirt and jeans, All-American boy still waiting in the hall.

Her heart, as if on cue, performed a double-flip. Just inches from making love to her boyfriend—her committed, wonderfully obliging boyfriend, and Landon still did it to her. She knew this couldn’t fare well. She might have pretended she wasn’t home or was sleeping, but decided that was pretty much impossible now after the ruckus she and Jamie had just caused. Instead, she held her breath as if ready to dive into the deep end, and unlocked the door.

“The lobby door was just standing open so I let myself in. You may want to get something done about that.” He paused to give her a once-over then let out a low whistle. “Wow, you look nice, Cess.”

“Landon what are you doing here? Are you, are you drunk yet again?”

He simply shook his head in response and stuffed his hands into his jean pockets, rocking on his heels. She never realized how much he still resembled a little boy sometimes.

“I was in the area and you won’t answer your phone. That’s not like you and I figured this was the only way I could get a hold of you and I…I guess I just wanted to make sure you….that everything was all right.” Landon craned his neck, attempting to catch a glimpse of the inside of her dimly lit apartment. “I…I thought I heard a guy’s voice. Hope I’m not interrupting anything.”

“Um, yeah…no. You remember Jamie don’t you?”

Cecily advanced further into the hall, letting the door close behind her. It gave her great satisfaction to project the fact that she had not been sitting in her home miserable and alone all this time. Landon hardly reacted to this news though.

“Listen, I’m going to make this quick. It’s just that things have been not so hot between us lately. I think we’ve both said and done things we don’t really mean.” Cecily was silent, her eyes glued to the ugly brown carpet on the floor.

“I just wanted to go out and talk and get some things straight. I hope you would agree that our friendship is worth too much to let this…this crap hang over us.”

“Y-yeah. Yes. I suppose.”

Cecily shielded her bare arms with her hands from the cold air drafting against her skin. She looked everywhere about her except directly into Landon’s eyes. She was sure the cold-unforgiving-bitch-act would cave the moment she saw their pleading look. This was just great.

“Aaron and I and a couple other buddies are leaving next Friday for the Bahamas. We won’t be back until Christmas Eve. I’d hate to leave without clearing the air between us. Let me take you out to dinner. You pick the place. Preferably somewhere we don’t have to yell over the noise to hear each other.”

“Jamie and I are dating now,” she blurted out, submerged in regret an instant later.

Landon’s lips contorted into a crooked and mercifully patient grin.

“That’s not what I asked, Cecily. I asked if you’d have dinner with me.”

Cecily paused for a moment to consider her options: she could lie and say she was completely booked until after the holidays; she could flat out reject his attempts to make amends and slam the door in his face; or she could swallow her pride and acknowledge the fact that all she wanted was for things to be amicable between her and one of the most important people in her life.

“Thursday. It’ll have to be lunch. Tempo on Chestnut and State. Noon. Can you make it?”

Landon nodded acquiescently.

“Thursday at noon it is. Sleep tight, Cecily.”

“You…you too, Landon,” she replied, bringing herself to look him directly in the face for the first time since their conversation had commenced. She was ensnared in his gaze in an instant. His eyes were unreadable; there was no pretense, no telepathic message shooting from them. They were just so good, so full of goodness, and they captivated her. So much so, she had to pull her entire body away from him just to break contact.

Landon seemed to discern the inner battle she waged, or at least that he needed to be the one to walk away. With a final nod, he turned and headed for the stairs, zipping up his coat as he went. He disappeared soon after.

Cecily returned into the warmth of her apartment. Jamie was still standing in the doorway to her bedroom, looking on expectantly.

“What was that all about?” he inquired, unassuming.

“Oh. Well, typical Landon. He’s been drinking too much on a Friday night as usual.” Why the first thing out of her mouth to Jamie was a lie, Cecily was unsure. It just seemed more acceptable, it made her knees a little less weak to imagine he hadn’t trekked across town completely in his right mind only to ensure her welfare. “I—I called him a cab. He should be fine.”

As she drew near, Jamie grabbed onto Cecily’s waist with both hands, dragging her aggressively back towards the bed.

“Now where were we?” he growled in a low voice.

Cecily placed her hands over his, stopping him en route to his destination. Feigning a smile she planted a gentle kiss on the bridge of his nose before sitting on the side of the bed alone, tugging at her diamond dangly earrings. What she had craved deeply from Jamie only minutes earlier suddenly seemed wrong and ill-timed in the light of Landon’s visit. To offer her body to him when her thoughts had diverged onto someone else seemed unfair, almost unfaithful. To try and explain to him what she could not exactly place a finger on seemed futile. She’d utter one last half-truth for the night and repent of it later. It seemed the lesser of two evils in the end.

“I’m sorry, baby. It’s just, all of the sudden I’m…I’m really, really tired.”


© Copyright 2018 Megan Maydell. All rights reserved.

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