Read from the beginning. Daniel Undone – Memoirs of a Maniac
I had been looking for a signal that ABC Julie was interested in me, and I wondered if being invited to her hotel room might be it. She was very cheery and easy with me, but I was introspective. My mind was running the possible scenarios. Would this be it? Would I need a condom? Would I be able to satisfy her? What would it be like to be with another woman?
In her room it was the classic scene. She talked as she pulled an outfit together. She asked me to make herself comfortable and help myself to her minibar while she went to change in her bathroom. Once out, she asked me to zip her up, which I did. I’d seen this scenario play out in films a dozen times. This meant she wanted to sleep with me. Right?
Once she was dressed we chatted for a few minutes. The sexual energy between us was warming our skin color and softening the edges of our our facing. It was our first moment of intimacy. We had a little time to kill. She pushed her hair back from her face. She touched my arm. She smiled and laughed. She told me how funny I was. She did everything a girl does when she wants a guy to know she is interested, and yet I still wasn’t sure. I did not want to make the first move. I’d misread signals from girls before.
It wasn’t the first time a woman had come on to me like this. When I was first putting my career together as a software developer, Ashley and I lived in Kansas City. I worked for a consulting firm. I was hitting it off with a young lady. Most of the others didn’t seem to like her. She was a little snootish, but so was I. She was married as well. I’d met the guy. He was skinny, effeminate, and annoying. In fact, they were both annoying when they were together.
It was the night of our company’s Christmas party. We all dressed up. My wife stayed home to take care of the babies, so I was flying solo. While in line for the buffet, the annoying couple danced to swing music. Danced. In. Line. There was something very lizard-like about him as he swung her around. Swing dancing was a trend at the time, and they were prepared for the possibility of it. He even wore the shoes. Annoying.
I joined them for dinner in the absence of my wife and we all hit it off. He talked incessantly about making cheese. She was very supportive of him. He dominated the conversation while she and I smiled at each other.
Then he got a call. He was needed for work. He asked if I could give his wife a lift home. I agreed, and my heart began to race. I was pretty sure the crush was mutual. I wondered if I had the guts to make something happen.
He chatted on the way to her house, but it was a subdued chat. There was a nervousness between us such as that of a first date. She invited me in and I knew I would have some choices to make. She showed me her husbands cheeses and we laughed. She said he wouldn’t be home for an hour, and that she would like to change clothes into something more comfortable.
Seriously? This was also just like the movies. As I waited in the living room, I wracked my brain. Was she making a move? Should I make a move? Did I want anything to happen? I decided that if she made an overt move, that I might go with it, but I wouldn’t make a move.
She did not make a move, and neither did I. I knew as I left that I was walking away from a sexual encounter, but I felt good about it. I fantasize about what might have happened to this day.
A few days later, I talked about it with a coworker. He urged me never to cheat, that it was just not worth it. He’d been through it. I heeded his warning for years.
And then, here I was, in a beautiful woman’s hotel room zipping up her dress. I decided against it. I felt that I did not know her well enough. I didn’t want it to be like this. I didn’t want to rush it.
The gang gathered, and we had a fun night at the pier. I didn’t make a move.
Late that night, I flipped through the channels in my hotel room. I came across a Kris Angel magic show and remembered that Julie had a huge crush on him, so I watched for awhile. On a whim, I sent her a text and told her to turn to the program. Then she called.
We talked and laughed our way through the show. In fact, we talked for hours about our lives, getting more and more personal as the hours grew late until we stopped talking completely and listened to each other breathe. This is what I wanted. I wanted a personal bond. I wanted it to be more than just sex. I wanted it to be lovemaking. I wanted to fall in love with her, even if it were just for a few days. And I wanted to sweep her off her feet.
My inhibitions had dissolved. I was doing something which I could never have done before the anti-depressant although I didn’t know that at the time.
The next day, we ditched our friends and ate lunch together on a patio. Neither of us had had enough sleep so we were sluggish, but we were also something else. We were more than acquaintances, and more than friends. But what were we? At the moment we were conspirators. Our friends were texting and calling us, and we were avoiding them to have a few moments to ourselves. How often, do two people talk all night? Our connection was strong. I knew we were having an affair, and that we would probably consummate it soon.
That night I remember. We all met up to go to a Chinese jazz club. We chose to walk instead of taking cabs at the urging of Julie who was used to urban hiking and adventure. She knew how many blocks and exactly how to get there. It would be two miles or so, but we didn’t care. She also warned us that the quickest way would take us into a rough part of the city.
The mood was so high. We laughed and were gay the whole walk. The rough part was not so bad. Mostly, there were a lot of people living on the street, many of whom were too stoned to notice us.
Julie assured us that we were about to eat some of the best Chinese food in the country and hear some of the best jazz in the city. I found the combination to be odd, but very enticing. We would be meeting some other company employees including a few of the Java Superstar ilk. I was excited for this. I had read every superstar book and every superstar blog, and I idolized many of the superstars at the conference. I had my picture taken with some.
The club/restaurant was lit up with retro neon lights and a dragon. It looked like a Chinese jazz club should look. The front room was where the stage was. A combo was blowing some smooth jazz. We filed into a private dining room in the back where the rest of our party was already seated.
Julie and I sat next to each other across from an engaging, good looking guy who talked about his recent backpacking excursion somewhere in Asia. Julie became tightly focused on him and the conversation. I became jealous, but there was nothing I could do. I turned to one of the superstars and talked with him about the his recent presentation. He seemed to be impressed with my interest and my knowledge. We became fast friends for the rest of the conference and for years to come.
When the waitress came, something unusual happened. When she got to Julie, there was an interaction. They spoke in Cantonese. They laughed. Julie touched her arm and whispered in her ear. The waitress flirted with her the rest of the dinner and bought her a martini. I thought back through the week and remembered that Julie had a charm on everyone she met. Both men and women fell in love with her. Gay or straight.
ABC Julie was right about the food. It was pricey, by worth it. I ate a shrimp dish that was extraordinarily delicious. When we were done eating, we adjourned to the club room where we found a large table. I sat down and hoped that Julie would sit down next to me. She did and as she did she laid her hand on my thigh where no one could see. I remember that her hand was very warm. Although she was a continual flirt, I knew that at least for now she was mine.
At that moment, a band started to set up. We all talked. There were jazz fans among us, especially Julie, and there were others who were just there to drink. I sipped an old fashioned, and Julie sipped a lychee martini. Then a big, older black woman stepped up to the small and rather low stage and took a seat at a stool out in front. With no introduction she began to sing a down tempo arrangement of A Train. Julie rocked and laughed and squeezed my leg. This was the moment she had been waiting for. The food was an after thought to her now. I could see that her soul was awakening by this woman’s voice. For her whole set, she was enraptured by her and I was enraptured by Julie, though the others were chatting noisily and became intoxicated.
After that, we all left. We bar hopped all the way back to Union Square, listening to other live bands including more jazz. We were loud and lively. We kicked up the energy of every bar we stepped into, perhaps disrupting reveries of Coltrane and Davis.
We all were staying in hotels near Union Square, and when we got there people bade each other boisterous farewells. Julie ask me to walk her to her hotel, but someone followed us: Craig, the braided redhead. We didn’t see him. But he stepped up behind us just in time to hear this exchange.
“So, Daniel, would you like to come up and watch a movie or something?”
“Sure, sounds good.”
Then Craig surprised us. “Hey guys, why don’t we go out and find some more music?”
We turned to look at each other. We knew we’d been busted in some way. She said, “You know what, I’m feeling pretty tired and I have to get up early tomorrow. I’m going to bed. Goodnight guys.”
Then she caught my eye, and I knew that it was a rouse. Craig looked straight into my soul, eyes twinkling, smiling and said, “Ok, then. You guys sleep well!”
As he turned around, she whispered “Room 814”
I left, and walked down the street to the other entrance, and there was Craig waiting for me.
“What are you doing, Daniel?” He asked, still smiling.
“Ummm…I left something in Julie’s purse. I need to get it.”
“Ohhh, ok, sure,” he said, sarcastically.
“It’s not like that, Craig. No worries. Look, I told her about a funny movie, and she wanted to see it. That’s all. I lied because I didn’t want it to be a thing. It’s nothing. Just friends.”
“Ok, cool. Then let me join you. I like funny movies as much as the next guy.”
“Look, she invited me. As far as I know it is innocent, but it’s not for me to invite you, see ya.” Then I pushed through the door, and Craig didn’t follow. He knew. I knew he knew.