Whatcha Doin After Midnight?
IT WAS MY THIRD WEEK IN ORLANDO.
I was set out on a business trip to discover some information on the infestation of a new breed of lizards gathering along the coast. Riveting, I know.
I write a column in the daily newspaper, meaning I’m an endangered species. Before, stories in the paper contained remarkable substance, could be life changing. Now, I’m just getting by to feed myself. In this day and age we are facing the biggest threat to print since Gutenberg. It’s a constant battle between us and "social network users". It’s ridiculous. They have Instagram, twitter and tell the public something as if they’re daily reporters. I guess they are. Times has changed because look at me.
My job has pleasantly lodged me at The Frangipani, the luxurious hotel in Orlando. It’s misleading. At times I think my job deeply cares for me. I do, but it was off season and at that time trips were decidedly out of fashion. 75% of the working crew were “on vacation”. Each day was an expected high of 90% rain and I was given my linen and bed sheets from Mr. Jules, the lobby clerk after check in.
The few guests that stayed, started to recognize one another by site as the only living souls in the hotel. Although, I do not believe any acquaintances were formed despite the exceptionally number of nods we exchanged passing each other during and after morning breakfast.
However, possibly as a result of his general demeanor, I established an understanding with Mr. Jules. He struck many as lazy and exasperated. I expect he was not well paid.
One morning before heading out into the field to do some “research”, I noticed a new presence in our company. An older gentleman, accompanied by 2 others, one being an exceptionally good looking woman. They waited in the lobby for assistance with their belongings.
“Who’s the interesting crew sitting in the lobby?” I inquire from Mr. Jules.
“Don’t you know?” He asked. “You don’t recognize him?... that’s Mr. Harvey Patello.”
His name is certainly familiar to the city of Orlando, especially the seasonable crew at The Frangipani.
“He’ll come here and there. He owns this very hotel. But he never ever comes in the off season.” Said Jules.
At that moment, Mr. Jules recognized it was his duty to assist Harvey Patello and his crew with their luggage. I lounged around a bit, intrigued by the attention they received. Interested in the woman by his side. Mr. Patello was a high roller. At least that’s what resonated from his presence. And for him to appear on a weekend quite like this, grasped my undivided attention.
I returned back to my room after a compelling yet exhausting days of work. I did find out a lead into the story. I suppose I head to the hotels bar to celebrate.
Later that night I arrived to The Frangipani’s bar. Rested on the corner of the street. Unexpectedly it was crowded. Considering the number of guests that occupied the hotel, this was unusual. I find my seat at the bar, tucked in the corner closest to the bathroom; I order myself a Vesper Martini, shaken not stirred. Arnel was the bartender at Frangipani’s and happened to be one I established a familiarity with. Moments later Mr. Patello and his crew, which grew in numbers, made their appearance.
“You know who that is?” he asked. “That’s fucking Harvey Patello. He’s not supposed to be here. It’s the off-season!”
Arnel then taps me on my shoulder pointing towards the door. In comes the beautiful woman from earlier this morning.
“Fine as hell! Isn’t she?” he asked.
“Very well so.” I agreed.
“That’s Analia.” He replied.
Arnel signaled me to lean closer. “Let me tell you a secret. Rumor has it, that she’s 15 years younger than Harvey. He and that crew rescued her from a gang of hecklers on her way back home from university.”
At that moment, a bar fight erupted on the other side of the bar, requiring immediate assistance and complete attention by Arnel but frankly did not hold mine for long. I couldn’t bother looking away from something so beautiful. And I wasn’t alone. Every other fella in the bar had their eye on Mr. Patello’s girlfriend, Analia.
The night continued and I’m on my 4th drink. Suddenly Analia gets up to dance. I get up to accompany her but I’m quickly grabbed by Arnel.
“You’re looking for a reason to die? Sit back down.”
He points over to Mr. Patello.
“If he doesn’t see it, they see it. It’s best to let it be.” Arnel says.
I sit back and watch her move to the rhythm of the melody. Soulfully swaying back and forth, her hips in sync rocking slowly. Her eyes were closed as she mentally and physically felt free. No one else existed on the dance floor that night. As the song was coming to an end, Analia opened her eyes to find me staring at her like a fat kid in a buffet. I panicked and spilled my drink on my pants. I look up and she giggles. Immediately head to the bathroom to clean myself up, luckily I was close.
I walked around in the bathroom to think about it. Filled with embarrassment. I get myself together, look into the mirror and head out. Once I walk out, I see Analia heading this way. She’s accompanied by one of the douches in Mr. Patello’s crew. I look over to Arnel and his eyes are popping out. He too fears for me.
“Hey…” I cringe up inside and pause in my tracks. “Hey you… Can I use that bathroom, I’ve really got to go.”
I slowly turn around and smile. “Sure, it’s all yours.”
“Ivy, you can go sit down. I’m a big girl, I don’t need help cleaning myself.” She says to the douche.
“Go. Sit. I’m fine.” She says.
I stand there still, forgetting I’m blocking the door. Until I’m given a look by Ivy the douche to move aside. He then turns around and walks back to Mr. Patello.
“Thanks for letting me use the bathroom. A true gentleman. Most men won’t, HEY I’M NEXT!”
This scrawny belligerent fella tries to enter the bathroom before Analia. I quickly push him aside.
“Wow, some people are just IDIOTS. Let me hurry before someone else tries and takes my spot… don’t leave.” Says Analia.
“Is that your girlfriend? She’s HOT!” says the scrawny drunk.
My eyes light up. Mixture of emotions are running through me. I glance over to Arnel. He lifts his hands up in curiosity. I give the same gesture in return. Confused but excited! A hand then grabs me on my left shoulder. I turn around to Analia.
“Take this, I can’t talk any longer.” she says. She quickly heads back into the crowd towards Mr. Patello and his crew.
I head back to the bar with the tissue in hand. It was a note, written in red lipstick. It read:
Come to the Show tomorrow at the Madison
9:00 PM. Knight in Armor. Analia (with a kiss)
“Arnel! Pour me up a shot. One for you too. We’re celebrating tonight!” I said as I showed him the note.
“Hahaha coming right UP!” replied Arnel.
8:15 PM The Next Day
I arrive to the Madison quite early. I always have a strict policy with punctuality. I grab a candy from the concession stand and head to my seat. The ticket to this show was seventy five got damn dollars and my seat was in the rear beside the entrance. The room starts to fill as show time approaches, yet there was no sign of Analia. 30 minutes into the show and still no sign. I’m beginning to feel antsy, envious, and deceived. I don’t even like plays. After 45 minutes into the show, in comes Analia and she’s accompanied by Mr. Patello and Ivy the Douche. So this was some type of mockery. I’ve been played. I sit in dismay. I kept my eye on her and Patello before I was tapped on the shoulder by one of the Ushers a few minutes later.
“You have a package outside in the lobby sir.”
“Yes. Come, I’ll escort you there.”
We get to the lobby and it’s vacant. The kid at the concession stand waves me over. Looks around and leans towards me. He points to a door at the end of the corridor and says to go in there and take the stairs to level 3.
Rattled a bit. But I’m curious to know what’s behind this door. I follow his directions and head to level 3. It’s an empty room. Pitched black. I hear a door close. A light turns on. Proceeded by another. And another. The lights were in one line and continued to illuminate one after the other. The last light turned on hanging over top of a chair. Clicking sounds hit the ground one by one. A leg enters into the light, glistening with seduction. Analia appears in black lingerie and sits in the chair.
“I’m glad you came to the show. Sorry I’m late but the show doesn’t begin until I get here. Come this way.” She says in a promiscuous tone…… Hurry, I don’t have much time.”
I sprint to her and break quickly, stopping directly in front of her. She smiles. I smile. I grab her face and begin to kiss her. My hand begins to travel south. She removes my shirt. As I start warming her up, I release my belt and try to unzip my pants. She grabs my wrists and grips it firmly.
“We can’t do this right now. I have to hurry back. Whatcha doing after midnight?” she said as she starts to dress herself.
“Huh? What? I don’t know. Probably be back at The Frangipani.” I replied.
“Why don’t you come to my place, it’s a few blocks from here. Harvey won’t be there then.”
“But I thought you were at the Frangipani too.” I asked.
“No, that’s just Harvey being Harvey.”
“Harvey being Harvey?”
“Yeah he uses The Frangipani to wash money. That morning you saw us he was there for an emergency. Shit.”
“Nothing. You coming or not?”
“I don’t know, I’ll get back to you.”
I tighten my pants and head back to a crowded lobby. Intermission had just started a few minutes ago.
“Are you the writer?” An older gentleman comes up and asks me. “Come with me. Mr. Patello has been eager to meet you.”
She set me up. It was the only way he would want to talk to me. We enter a private room, separate from the crowd. Inside was Harvey, Ivy the Douche and Analia. I couldn’t believe her. She set me up.
“I can explain sir. I was just –“
“Explain what?” He laughs. “The kid is shaken like a stripper. Tighten up! I heard you were a famous reporter or some shit.”
“Yeah, well not famous.”
“Sit. Christ kid, it’s all about ego, this entire world runs on ego.” He waves me to a seat directly in front of him. “Look, I need your services.”
Mr. Harvey Patello was an intelligent man. He understood the ins and outs. He wasn’t easy to persuade nor easy to please but if he believed in you, you could feel the amount of trust he bared on one.
“The Frangipani, that’s where you stay right?” He asked.
“Yeah that’s where he stay. He was the kid at the bar last night.” Replied Ivy the douche.
He shoves Ivy in the shoulder. “Why didn’t you tell me he was there? We could’ve talked then. Now I’m interrupting the show for him. You wantcha money back for the ticket?... ahh I’ll give you your money back. It’s just money, am I right?”
“It’s fine sir. I’m not really a big fan for plays.” I said.
Analia cracked a slight smile.
“Shut up. Let me do something nice for ya.” Says Harvey. “Ok, now I need you to write a review about the
Frangipani. Write about your stay. Tell the world how amazing it is and all of that fluffy shit. We’re low on guests around this time. I’m sure you could tell.” Says Harvey.
“I thought that had to do with it being off season.” I replied.
“Kid, write the FUCKING report!”
“Ivy SHUT UP.” Says Harvey.
“I don’t like this fuck.” Says Ivy.
“What so you want to break his face? Fuck you Ivy. Go take a fucking hike.” Harvey says. “Don’t mind him kid, he’s a Douche! I mean look at the guy.”
“Ok, I can do that.” I said.
“PERFECT. See that Ivy, when you ask politely, people listen.”
I’m absolutely nuts. Instead of heading back to the show I head back to The Frangipani to discuss this with Arnel.
“You either just signed your death certificate or you just signed over your human rights.” Arnel says. “You’ve made the wrong move and exposed your queen. They’ll dig up any and everything about you. Where you’re from. Who you live with. What you like to eat, even when you take your shits! And don’t even think about backing out now. Once you’re in. You’re in. Mr. Patello probably already has surveillance on your room.”
I had to speak to Analia. I head to the lobby to catch Mr. Jules playing solitaire at his desk.
“Jules, I need some of your assistance. I need to know which room Harvey Patello usually stays in.” I inquired.
“Are you fucking nuts? No way. Hell no.” he says.
“Jules please. You’re capable of performing actions that nobody else could here at the Frangipani. You’re the only person possible that could provide me with this information. My life is on the line.”
Mr. Jules makes his next move in his game of solitaire strategically thinking whether he should be of help. Even though we’ve known each other for such little time, I would have thought based on the relationship we’ve formed he immediately would. My faith was running low.
“He stays on the 13th floor. Suite 13.” He says.
Before I could head to the room Jules grabs me and stares into my eyes. They were filled with worry. “Be safe.”
I nod my head in understanding. He too feared for my safety. I stop by my room to strategize a game plan. Pacing back and forth. My door sounds. I open the door to Analia standing alone.
“Does the invitation still stand?” I asked.
“Yes.” She gives me the address. “Come after midnight. That’s when they’ll be gone.”
She leans in and gives me a kiss on my cheek, later turning around to head to her place. I began to question her ability to manage to escape the over watch of Harvey and his goons. It was quite impressive but skeptical. I sat in my room staring at the clock that rested on the bedside table. The time was getting close and I became in denial questioning this woman’s trust. Then the phone besides the clock rang.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hello, it’s Jules. You have a guest sir. Should I send them up?”
Who the hell could this be? “Who is it?” I ask.
“A Mr. Bishop.” Responded Jules.
Oh fuck. “Yeah send him up.” I replied.
I stayed on the 2nd floor which did not give me enough time to situate myself. *Bang Bang* The door sounds.
I peek through the peephole to Mr. Mark Bishop. He stood there with his hands on his hips. Face content as a smug. And a toothpick in his mouth.
“Open the fucking door, I don’t have the time.” He said.
Immediately after I twist the knob he barges in. The pressure of the door hits my shoulder and slightly shoves me back.
“Nice place. So what’s up?” He asked. He turned around and looked at me. “Holy shit. You look like a ghost. Have you been sleeping? I’ve got some pills.” I wave him off. “Do we have any leads? What’s your progress on the story?”
“I’m working on it.” I said.
“You’re working on it. No shit. Listen, I don’t have time for your typical bullshit. What’s the status with Analia? Is she going to testify?”
“I’m meeting up with her tonight.”
“Just you two? Alone? GREAT. FUCKING GREAT! I’ll call the chief and get an extension on your trip. I know you could be a schmuck here and there but got DAMN do you know how to do your job! What are you guys doing?”
“We’re playing monopoly and chugging eggnog. Anything else?”
“Wait, you serious? You’re a fucking joke!”
“I’m joking asshole. Are we done here?” I asked.
“Yeah, we’re done.” He looks at his watch and taps it. “I think it’s time for you to go.” He says to me.
“Just call me and let me know how much time I have.” I reply.
I head out the door. The Central Intelligence Agency has issued me to build Intel on Harvey Patello and anyone that was completely out of their mind to possibly testify against him. Once they were aware of my travels to The Frangipani for research they used that opportunity to use me as an informant. Offering me a shit load of money. Money I would never see if I continued living the life I lived, and I accepted.
Apparently, Harvey Patello has been on the edge lately after his last tirade. 12 witnesses were executed and body parts were sent to their respective families. He was “sending a message.”
As I approached the address given by Analia, I couldn’t help but to hold my breath as I took in its magnificence. Marble statues stood tall by the entrance and I couldn’t seem to take my eyes from the brilliant details on them. I took a step closer and took in the essence of the home, with its soft willow trees and tiny lake. The glass windows on the ground floor were incredibly large along with the front door made of oak. I rang the doorbell.
The absence of vehicles in the driveway communicated vacancy. Seconds later Analia opened the door and that solidified by my observation. She walks me thru the interior giving me a brief tour as we head to the living area.
“Drink?” she asks.
“Ok.” I say.
“I thought you weren’t going to show for a second.” She says as she walks over and hands me my glass. “I want to show you this.”
“This is what we’re talking about?” I asked.
“This is where we start.” She said.
“This is where we start?”
I take a sip from the glass. “A bit stingy with tonic and ice?” I head over to the couch where she sat with a folder in her lap. “What’s this?” I asked.
She pulls a newspaper out of the folder and begins to read the front story. “Mysterious case solved! But not by the cops! By the Times Own…. You’re a hero! What’s this all about?”
“Wait a minute, give that here.” I stare at the front article with a large print of my face. Confused. “How did you get this? How - How’d you know I was here?” I inquired from Analia.
“If you think Harvey knew who you were based off of luck you’re silly. The entire country heard about this story. Didn’t you receive the key to the town hall or something?” she asked.
I relax a bit. Easing off the paranoid pedal. “The city.” I say.
“The city?” she asks.
“Yeah that’s where the key belongs.”
“So you have a key to some secret building and shit, with the aliens and all the conspiracies?” She asks giggling.
“I guess so. It’s a pretty big key, I’m not even sure where it goes.” I respond. We hold a moment of laughter and then she points her finger, waving me to move closer. We lock eyes and end up where we last started during the play. However besides intermission, the show came to an ending.
The sun enters through the windows illuminating the room. A bit of light shines on her, glistening her face. She rolls over to me and opens her eyes. She did a thing where she smiled with her eyes. Her eyes were the brightest.
“SHIT!!!! FUCK SHIT FUCK!” she hops up and screams. She grabs the clock and it reads 7:03 AM. “You gotta GO! They’ll be here any minute. GO!”
“Oh shit.” I hop up and grab my things. Analia begins rambling about me helping her with something in the background.
“What are you saying?” I asked Analia.
“I need your help, your skill really. I need you to help me. It’s Harvey. I need you to find something out about him. I know he was behind it and I need to know.”
“Slow down, behind what?”
“A few years ago my parents’ house caught on fire and burned down. They were in it. They died. And I think Harvey has something to do with it.”
I stopped getting dressed and stood still. “So, you used me.” I said.
“No I didn’t use you.” She runs over to me caressing my arm. “Ok I was going to use you, until I met you, but I’m asking this as a favor... I know what you’re feeling, I’ve been there. The feeling of being used, feeling worthless. I’m sorry.” She leans in and gives me a hug. “You don’t have to help, forget I even asked.” She said.
Her arms wrapped around me in fear and love. With truth and meaning. She really needed me. And I also needed her. Karma has a weird way of entering and revolving. I’ve been placed in the toughest situation. Why can’t things ever go easy?
“Sure.” She looks up to me, her eyes wide as a puppies. “I can help.” I say.
She gives me a huge kiss. “Thank you! Thank you!” she said in joy. “Shit. You gotta get out of here! Come on.”
We run to the front door and she tells me that she will come by the bar around 3:00 PM. I head on out and walk back to The Frangipani without being spotted by Harvey, Ivy the Douche or any other goon he had coming back to his place. Immediately as I step into my room, Bishop is laying in my bed. There’s takeout all over the floor.
“Bishop! BISHOP! What the hell man? Why are you in my ROOM?” I asked.
He wakes up rubbing the cold out of his eye. “Long night?” He asks.
“Relax, relax.. I’m leaving. I had to make sure you didn’t run off, it’s protocol. By the way, any leads?”
“No. I’m working on it.”
“Don’t screw this up. The chief is giving you an extra 3 days.”
“3 got damn days buddy.” As he slaps my shoulder and heads out the door.
I run to the phone and realize I don’t have a number to reach Analia. We needed to speak sooner than 3.
I laid in bed with the angel and the devil resting on opposite shoulders. I figured working with Analia would work towards my favor. She actually despised Harvey and sure wouldn’t hesitate on sending the guy to Alcatraz. But there was one problem, a famous saying. According to Siddartha Gowtama, the Buddah, what goes around, comes around. Analia would no longer be safe, despite any promises from the CIA. Her life would be in danger every waking minute. Along with mine. I’m in way too deep. It comes a point in life where you do what’s best for you and at the moment, the option was non-existent.
I head over to the bar early to have a casual conversation with Arnel. When 3:00 PM hit, Analia enters. Arnel surprised, he taps me and tells me to look by the door. I head over to her and I hear him in the background saying, “come back man, that’s a death wish.” Indeed it was.
“Hey, did you roofie me last night?” I asked.
She smiled. “You caught me… No.”
“Can I ask you something? How do you always make it out?”
“Make it out?”
“Doesn’t he always have an eye on you?”
“I’m sorry, but if you haven’t noticed I’m a grown woman. No one runs my life.”
“So why are you still with him?” I inquired.
“Why are you here meeting with me right now?”
“Because you asked for my help.”
“There’s your answer.”
“It doesn’t make sense. If you sensed his guilt, why even bother dealing with him?”
“You’re not as smart as I thought.”
“What’s gotten into you?”
“Harvey Patello is the most powerful man in this city. Half, more than half of the state, government officials and police department are under his pay. I couldn’t run to the cops. I had to figure this out myself. The night Harvey and Ivy pulled up to me at the university was one of the luckiest nights of my life. It was a door that opened and I had to enter. I couldn’t wait, because if you wait, that opportunity crumples to dust.”
“So why me?”
“After reading the article about how you found those kids and uncovered an 11 month mystery, you were the only person that could help me. It showed you were seriously focused, a blood hound. No fear. You can’t train that into a man. That’s unique.”
“I found that out by mistake, that was just luck. I wasn’t suppose to find them.”
“But you did. And now they’re back with her mom and dad, safe.”
The bell sounds by the opening of the door and I glance over. Shit. Bishop walks into the bar. I thought that guy went back.
“Everything ok?” Analia asks.
My facial demeanor must have changed. “Yeah.” I responded.
Keeping my eye on Bishop as he heads over to the bar. I’m trying to stay discreet but the next word I say, he’s destined to recognize my voice.
“Maybe we should get a drink and some food. You hungry?” Analia asks.
I shake my head no. But she replies and says that she is. She gets up and walks over to the bar. Bishop instantly recognizes her. His eyes light up. He looks around the room and we lock eyes. He grabs his drink and heads over to me.
“The bar? And at The Frangipani? You couldn’t find a better place to talk than this?” he asks.
“She suggested it.” I answer in an angry tone. “Go away, you’re going to blow this.”
“No YOU’RE going to blow this. If Harvey Patello catches you in here, you’re fucking ice man.”
“Ice?” I laugh. “Bishop go away.”
Analia gets back from the bar and sits in her seat. “I didn’t know you had friends here at The Frangipani. Would you like to join us for lunch?” she asks Bishop.
“Nope… I was just leaving.” responds Bishop as he downs his beer and heads towards the door.
“Who was that?” asked Mia.
“Some asshole. He works for a rival journal company. He’s here gathering the same information as me.” I said in response.
“Yeah, what are you here for exactly?” she questioned.
“To cover the infestation of a new breed of lizards gathering on the coast. Exciting, I know.”
She bursts into laughter. “Very!”
Arnel delivers Analia’s food to the table. He gives me a nod in approval as he walks away. Her and I end up conversing for a while. So long that it hit 5:30 PM. We didn’t discuss anything about helping one another just great conversation. I haven’t experienced a stimulating conversation with a woman in so long. Most of the time conversations with women dealt with her worried about what others were doing or keeping up with the latest news on social media rather than establishing a deep understanding of one another. Analia was different. She realized the true beauty of life. She knew that to understand others, you had to understand and love yourself first. And that she did. A woman with such strength, knowledge, drive, and compassion was hard to come by.
“I think we should talk about busting this low life.” She said.
Time was not on my side. Bishop was on my ass and I was suppose to have this article completed for Mr. Patello by tomorrow morning.
“Write the report.” She said.
“Write the report?” I asked confused.
“Yes, write it.”
“He’ll trust you. That’s his weakness and we’re going to play with it. You do him a favor. Especially one that favors his image, he’ll let you in.”
“Something like someone as beautiful as you being by his side?”
Her cheeks blushed as she cracked a smile. “Yes.”
“Ok, so I’ll write the article. And then what?”
“You’ll be getting to see a lot more of me.”
“I see.” I was quite fascinated by Analia and would not resent the idea of seeing more of her. I think she too felt the same. “What are you doing later tonight? Could you find a way out again?”
“I don’t know, we’ll see.”
“Ok.” We stare into each other’s eye.
“Where will you be?” she asks.
“Here, the beautiful Frangipani.”
“Ok, I’ll find you. It’ll be after midnight.”
We finish our conversation and head our separate ways. I head to the lobby to find occupants of the hotel for personal opinions for the article. I start with no other than Mr. Jules. Gathering enough data to generate an enticing yet informative article highlighting the elegance and beauty of the Frangipani. Finding as many as I could find, and there were not many, I headed back to my room to get started. While I was writing my mind was clouded, conflicting with the infatuation I had for Analia. An article that could be completed in less than 2 hours ended up taking 4.
It was approaching midnight and with no form of communication with Analia, I had to just wait. 11:45PM and a knock on the door. Earlier than expected. I walk to the door and before I reach it, the knob begins to fiddle. I stop in my tracks. Was it Harvey, Ivy or one of the goons? I search for a weapon. Slowly inching towards the door, I peek through the peephole. It was fucking Bishop. I swiftly swing open the door, you could feel the wind from the thrust of the door.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I asked. “Why are you trying to open my fucking DOOR?”
“Fuck you. And Calm down.”
“No Fuck YOU.”
“Sit the fuck down, we need to talk.” He says.
I begin to worry. Not because of Bishop wanting to talk but because Analia could be headed here any minute. If she hears ANYTHING between Bishop and I, she’ll run.
“What is it?” I asked.
“What was that about?” he responded.
“The fucking lunch date. Why were you meeting for lunch?”
“I’m doing the fucking job.”
“No YOU’RE NOT! After I left I sat outside and watched you two. I saw your face. You definitely weren’t doing your job. Tell me, what were you guys talking about?”
“I’m getting her comfortable!”
“No you’re not, you’re trying to get comfortable with her. There’s a BIG difference. Don’t you go falling in love with the girl our target is fucking!”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about! You don’t know anything about love Bishop!”
“Love?” he asked.
“Yeah love. Something simply foreign to you.” I said.
“I’d tell you this, love is not rational, you fall in love, you lose control. You fall in love on this job, you lose more than just control. Get your mind right and DO your FUCKING JOB. She doesn’t want you. You’re a writer and that’s it. I knew you weren’t right for this job.” He said.
“Bishop, can you just get out? Get out now.”
“Why, you have an appointment with “love” later? I swear, if you don’t get any leads I’ll make it my business to make sure you never write another article a day in your life.”
Bishop was right. But I couldn’t tell him that. But once I fall in love with Analia, I’m vulnerable. In fact, my father told me that his father told him that he heard love kills more people in a year than malaria.
“Listen Bishop, I’m working on some leads. I’ll have it all done for you and the chief and all the other idiots at the Agency tomorrow. Now, can you please leave and not come back. I’ll come to you.”
Bishop stares me down and points at me as he walks towards the door and heads out. I reached a breaking point, working with the CIA, working for Patello, and working for Analia. I knew what I wanted to do, and if I want to do something, I’m going to do it my way. Moments later another knock on the door. Still in anger from the conversation with Bishop I storm to the door and throw it open. The wind knocks the papers off my desks and startles Analia as she waits in front of it.
“Hey….” She says looking confused. “Is everything ok?”
“Yeah, come in.”
“Hey I just saw that guy from the bar in the elevator. From earlier today, the rival reporter. Weird guy.”
“You can say that again.”
“You sure everything is fine, you seem a bit tense.”
“Look, I’m not working for you anymore. I’m not helping you with this case.” Analia looks at me worried and confused. “I’m also not working for Harvey. The article is done.” I walk over to the laptop. “And now it’s gone.” As I erased the file and all of its content. “I have to come clean about something” I said.
The worrisome took control of Analia’s face. She sat there timid. Afraid of what was to come. “That’s what I wanted to tell you about today. That –“
“Let me go first.”
“Analia, I love you.” I glance at her reaction. Extremely startled and she did not take it lightly.
“How do you love me?” she asked.
“Because I just do.”
“I’m not sure about this.” She said.
“Oh so you love Harvey, the biggest imbecile in the country and you want to stay by his side until you figure out if he killed your parents? That’s PATHETIC.”
“WOW.” She gets up and heads to the door. I stand in front of it and stop her. “Move!” she demands.
“Listen Analia, we don’t know each other too well but I know enough. I know based off our conversations that you’ve been treated like hell growing up. Never really finding an understanding to how love goes. How life works. And I’m there with you. But you can’t stay stuck in the past life, the past experiences. Moving on is hard, but if you come to the realization that words aren’t what you’re looking for, if that’s all anyone ever has for you, you’d better go.”
“Go where? I have nothing.”
“You have your mind. You have your spirit, you have most importantly yourself. And you’ll have me.”
“You’re going to leave everything behind? You’re one of the best writers this country has seen. And you’re dropping it for me? Bullshit. You’ll leave me like the rest of them.”
Analia had a few holes to fill. A few rough patches to smooth out. But we all do and she was ready to go. Ready to start anew. She knew it but did not want to accept it.
“The real reason I was here besides my research was to get you to testify on Harvey Patello. I’m working for the CIA. They were cutting me a –.”
Startled, her face wrinkled up in anger. Her mouth dropped in surprise, “Are you serious? Get out my way… GET OUT MY WAY!”
“Analia please, listen. I’m not going through with the job.” I try to hold her but she shoves me away. “That guy you saw works for the CIA, he’s been pushing me constantly to get you to testify. I’m done. I’ve had enough.”
“GET OUT THE WAY! Move or I’m calling Harvey!” she screamed.
“Analia listen!” I said. She began to dig for her phone in her bag. I grab her arm slowing her down. “Analia, leave with me. Let’s go. Let’s grab our things and just go. We don’t need anyone but ourselves. Analia look at me… I love y-.”
“Get the FUCK out the way. I don’t care. I don’t care who you are, what you really do, and what you’re here for. But I’m leaving. It was nice meeting you.”
I couldn’t fight with her any longer. The agony and pain shrunk her mind. Her decisions were unthoughtful. She had enough.
“I’m leaving tomorrow from the airport at 12:00PM. I’ve ordered two tickets, you can pick it -.” She slammed the door in my face and left. You could hear the rage with every proceeding step as she made her way to the elevator.
One way ticket, Morocco is the mission. Yet no sign of Analia. But faith grew strong in my blood, I knew she would show. I head to the snack bar to grab a few items for the flight. Nervous, yet eager, I’m ready to see the world. I had to go. As I walk back to line, I see Analia. Pure excitement ran through my blood. A feeling I’ve never quite experienced before.
“Analia, you came!” I said ecstatically.
“I did… but I’m not leaving with you.” She replied.
Heart broken, “What, why? I already got your ticket, everything’s covered.”
“Because, It’s not what I need to do.”
“Then why’d you come?”
“Because I don’t let people down.”
“So what do you call this?”
“I’ll see you another time. I wanted to come say my proper goodbyes.”
She stopped in her tracks. We just looked at one another. No words being exchanged. I took a step towards her. Full of hesitation, I looked into her eyes. Thoughts raced through my mind. I needed to know. I needed to her know that I needed her. I didn’t want to walk away like this. I wasn’t ready to leave her. She leaned and gave me a hug followed by a kiss on the cheek.
“Thank you for everything. Your words meant so much to me, I’ll never forget you.”
*LAST CALL FOR FLIGHT 13 TO MOROCO LAST CALL
At the end of the day, you’re still the one. You’re still the one I want to talk to. You’re still the one I want to love. You’re still the one that I want to care for. Because you’re you and that’s something I won’t be able to find in anyone else. I’ve never experienced this feeling and want to share it with you forever. And one day, I’ll be able to tell you that face to face again. I thought to myself as the plane ascended into the air. As much as I wanted to chase Analia, I knew that the best thing to do was to let go.