Make Me Love You

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Rochelle didn't have a clue why men couldn't understand her. She felt that she had the qualities to attract men but yet her relationships failed. Her meeting with Simon would be the beginning of her change in understanding herself. At least, for a start, finding out what could be the matter with her.

Submitted: August 21, 2013

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Submitted: August 21, 2013

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Another relationship bites the dust. Rochelle Wong reflected quietly to herself. This was her third attempt and it didn’t work out. Didn’t they say the third time is a charm? She  wondered with a smirk. She felt angry that this one only lasted six months, the shortest of the two previous episodes. Either  those guys are not into her or she simply doesn’t know how to pick them.  She reasoned to herself in every conceivable way as to her attractiveness, intelligence and charm, all of which she had. She is the Chief Editor of a fashion magazine with a handsome salary. An apartment in a posh part of the city. She has an attractive face and a slender frame with curves at the right places. She had friends and pretty much a social butterfly in her line of work. People seemed to gravitate towards her. All those doesn’t picture her as an undesirable woman. What was it that her Personal Assistant, Joyce said to her, “Rochelle, you could have just about any man crawling on their feet….”  Rochelle chuckled and nodded. “Yeah, great. Men crawling on their feet. Losers! Hah!” fueling her amusement and yet, if it were only true.

 

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Rochelle grew up in a poor family. Her parents were street hawkers, making their living selling noodles at the night markets. They lived in a small rented room and she shared a bed with her mother, while her Father slept at the other end of the room, separated only by a walking gap between the mattresses. She didn’t mind those childhood years of lack and inconveniences. Besides, her parents were hardworking people and made a decent living. “We may not have much, but we have much love for you, pretty girl.” Her mother assured her when she brushed her hair and massaged her scalp with her delicate hands. Rochelle was happy that she was loved. The only time her feelings of security and self-worth turned to doubt was the constant teasing and bullying of her classmates at school. They would pick on her about her parent’s noodle stall being an unglamorous career choice, her rather worn out uniform and shoes. That she shared a room with her parents and have no car. Her pocket money of 50 cents was embarrassing, to say the least. In fact, on most days, she would end up furious and closed to tears. She wished and craved for more. More likeability, favor, money, respect and status. All of which she had none.

 

It was later in her teens that her living standard got better as her parents were able to rent an apartment  with two small rooms. Having her own room made her happy and yet deep within her heart she wasn’t appeased. She was still troubled by the haunting and intimidating episodes of the past. She was restless, edgy and constantly struggled to blend in at school. Trying way too hard to be liked and to impress. And when those attempts failed, she got more angry and disillusioned. One day….just one day, this is all going to change. Rochelle promised herself.

 

That was 10 years ago.

 

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She got her big break when she landed her first job as a  Promoter in a up and coming fashion magazine. Her job essentially, was to promote the magazine to the distribution outlets. She discovered that she had a flair in selling and persuading people to the magazine’s benefit and favor. She was smart and intelligent . A hard worker and usually stayed up working late into the evening  before returning home to her rented room to rest and unwind.

 

To cut the long story short, she was given a writing assignment as a sort of a bet from her then Editor, Samantha Goh, the Magazine owner. It was to be a featured column on Women’s Favorite Muses and she took the challenge.  She wrote an article entitled, “Women’s Prude And Prejudice” for the October Edition and got the muse of the city’s reading public. Instantly, she became the flavor of the month and the magazine shot up with triple sales for the issue. Fan mails and interviews ensued. Henceforth, her career took a flight and soon with the retirement of Samantha Goh, Rochelle was favored with an appointment to Chief Editor. She couldn’t believe her stroke of luck or was it her genius. Either way, she made it. She was only 29.  Just eight years with the Magazine and it was to her nothing short of a miracle. She had made her parent’s proud and they were when they heard the good news on the phone.

 

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She took another sip of her cocktail and tilted her head to clear her thoughts. Now at 32 and after three failed relationships, she wondered again. Could it be her age? But then, in today’s trend and modern times, women in their early 30”s is the new 20”s. Or it is just a bunch of bull, make up by some smart ass. She never quite understood about the age thing. To her, love is still the key ingredient , coupled with respect and communication. Perhaps, men don’t understand her as to why she worked so hard at her job. Why she appeared demanding and authoritative. And at times, when the challenge calls for it, she could be ruthless and manipulative. Well….if she wants to survive in the cut throat business of a Magazine Chief Editor, she might be forgiven for all her misdeeds and intimidating behavior. Take it or leave it! She knows what she wants and by all means, she would get it.

 

Rochelle took the last sip of her cocktail and ordered another. She sat at the bar feeling bored. She wasn’t sad or depressed. Just angry and disappointed that men had no idea or clue about her. Her requirements were simple enough as she told her dates. Don’t mess with her job. No players allowed. I don’t need your money and no smothering, in no particular order. Most of the men were slightly put off. For those who tried…..so far three, they did so because she suspected they thought she could be changed or at least persuaded to change into some woman they had pictured in their heads! Like their mothers, perhaps? She laughed at that silly thought.

 

“Hello.”

 

Rochelle turned around and faced the man who greeted. He looked about 40. A slight grey at the temples. About the same height. Neat and pleasant. He smelled nice. He stood with a drink in his hand and smiled, revealing a set of perfect teeth.

 

“If that is your pick up line, you know it won’t work on just about any woman here.” Rochelle quipped. She wasn’t in the mood but enough to have some fun with this man.

 

“The name is Simon Lee.”  He didn’t bother to extend his hand but took the empty seat next to hers. “In case you are wondering, I wasn’t trying to pick you up. You are not my type. I just want to ask if the seat next to you is taken.”  He winked , amused that he had somewhat embarrassed her.

 

Without missing a beat, Rochelle rebutted, “You didn’t have my permission yet to sit. You ought to get your butt up and out.” She glared at him. She wasn’t afraid and the first cocktail already have had a spinning effect on her.

 

“Well, well. Make me. I am shaking all over!” Simon winked again and smiled. This lady has guts, he thought and he liked it.

 

Rochelle stepped down from the bar stool seat and stretched her arms. She flexed her muscles while glaring at Simon, who apparently was unperturbed by her combative stance. One part of her felt the anger bubbling up from within and the thought of letting it all out would be just what she needed. All those frustration and disappointment could now be quenched all at once as she imagined slapping the daylights out of this moron.  Aided by the cocktail intoxicating power, she was feeling high and invincible. It doesn’t matter if the target was a man or woman. She got all her moves figured out. Another part of her beckoned on her sanity. What the heck are you doing…Rochelle? Are you insane? Take a hold of yourself! a voice in her head spoke. At the same time, tears began to well up in her eyes. She couldn’t control them from flowing down her face. Her body began to shake and between the soft sobs, she felt her body slowly crumbling and softening. Finally, she let her clenched fists down by her side and with a loud cry she hissed, “Damn it! Damn you!” And buried her face into her palms and sobbed. She sat back onto the stool seat and wept, oblivious of the stares from across the bar.

 

Simon was shocked and rendered speechless. He thought of reaching out to comfort her but didn’t know what she might do. At the state she was in, Simon reasoned that it would be better off to let her deal with her emotions. Let her calm down and see what happens next.  And so, he sat there and waited, watching her with concern. He felt horrible. He didn’t mean to upset her.

 

Rochelle lifted her face from her palms. Her eyes were swollen and her cheeks wet from the tears. For a moment, she stared at the ceiling, brushing her fingers across her cheeks to wipe away the tears. She turned slowly to face Simon and saw that he had a concern look on his face. Probably thinking how this insane woman got to be like that. Or worse still, she is a mental case!  “I am sorry. Don’t know what came over me. This is so embarrassing.” She apologized.

 

“Are you alright?” Simon replied. “It was my fault really. I shouldn’t have……” as he continued.

 

“It’s not you Simon. I have just had some really bad moments and the timing was bad. Life really sucks when it does.” Rochelle stated without offering details.

 

“Yeah….it happens to everyone. Me included.” Simon agreed.

 

“Why can’t men accept us women as we are? I mean, they expect us to take them as they are. How unfair can that be?” Rochelle questioned.

 

“I can’t speak for all the men. Being women just have a harder time when it comes to equality and treatment….I guessed. I am no expert but I see that happening more often than I care to admit.” Simon answered.

 

“It is bad enough that we have to “fight” our way through the business world. Why can’t we just have it easier in relationships? Can’t men give us a pass and love us just as we are? Do they have to turn us into wives, mothers and maids all at once? Rochelle protested.

 

“It doesn’t have to be that way. Well…women need to have their individual autonomy. To freely choose what is right or wrong. What they stand for. How they want to live their lives  and still be all that they want to be. Not what or who they are expected to be." Simon said pointedly.

 

“You know that’s all easier said than done. Men have their pride and once you hurt their ego, its game over….so to speak.” Rochelle responded.

 

“My honest opinion is to allow space for each other to breathe. To do what they are passionate about. Not interfering but listening and be sensible. And to make times together  to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. In short, put everything on the table and sort them out amiably, and being mindful of each other’s needs and feelings. It isn’t easy but it could be done if there is love and trust. Without them, the relationship is already in crisis.” Simon explained.

 

“I supposed that could be workable. I think we complicate relationships unknowingly or unintentionally with our selfish need to be pleased. Our happiness comes first in the expense of another. And everything else along those lines. We can’t get enough of it and still want more.” Rochelle reasoned.

 

“Perhaps, it is finding ways to keep everything simple. Relationships are what they are…to relate and not dictate. “ Simon said.

 

“Hmmm…….that make sense.” Rochelle agreed and smiled.

 

Simon realized how beautiful Rochelle’s face glowed when she smiled. Something inside him leaped. He had to see this woman again. There is something about her that he couldn’t put a finger on yet. But he felt it.

 

“Simon….I really have to go. It’s late.” Rochelle glanced at her wristwatch.

 

“Oh…..really?” Simon noted reluctantly. Just as they are warming up to each other.

 

“Sorry again about the….seat thingy. It was uncalled for.” Rochelle said softly. “Goodnight Simon. It was nice talking to you.”

 

“Goodnight. I didn’t get your name.” Simon winked.

 

“Rochelle” she replied. She took a business card from her purse. “Call me, Simon. We can have coffee if you like.”

 

“Alright. Thank you.” Simon said. And as Rochelle headed for the exit door, Simon thought to himself.

 

Perhaps…..just perhaps, you could make me love you.


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