Jade ached from the broken promises penetrating
her core, her outer persona unfettered. Her shiny black hair sat on seemingly
strong shoulders, her delicate body drew warmth from a black cashmere suit,
nestled into a burgundy leather chair. Long, tapered fingers from her right hand
reached over to the golden band on her left and pulled off the symbol that
carried more weight than it was worth. A faint tingle in the waste bin below her
mahogany desk resonated in her mind like a loud drum roll announcing a life
without trust, sustenance with a new edge. Her green eyes felt wet from the
tears she refused to yield to, her cheeks hot from the anger of unspoken words
contained within. Had it not been for James standing by her desk - for Lord
knows how long - trying to get her attention in the dark, the lateness of the
hour would have escaped her.
"Are you alright, Jade?" inquired the
husky voice from the overbearing silhouette.
"Why wouldn't I be?"
"It's just that you've been sitting here in
the dark for a while now. Do you want to talk about it?"
"There really isn't anything to talk
"Good, then you won't mind meeting with me
around the Morgan ad campaign over dinner. I'm famished."
"If it's all the same to you, I'd rather wait
until the morning and get a fresh start."
"Something is wrong, isn't it?"
"Stop pushing, James. It doesn't concern you
or my work."
"Didn't mean to offend you, Jade. I've just
never seen you like this before."
"I'll get over it."
James shrugged his brawny shoulders, left Jade's
office, and marched toward the elevator. "Wait up," cried a faint
voice, footsteps trying to catch up to James.
As Jade stabbed the elevator button marked 'P',
her eyes caught a glimpse of her finger displaying a tan line aged beyond ten
years. Her mind hoped that James hadn't noticed, her heart was pounding too
fiercely to care.
Eleven years ago, Richard had proposed to her in
the very same elevator, stopping it in the middle of lunch hour. Jade's mind
wandered off to how he had pinned her against the wall, raised her skirt, and
thrust into her, repeatedly shouting, "You will marry me!" while she
kept responding, "You'll have to ask me first." In retrospect, she
should have guessed that he had plans of the sort when he insisted that she
dress in a particular way that morning, without the possibility of ever taking
no for an answer. And now, it was that same unrelenting determination that had
led him to say goodbye once his heart shifted its dreams to a different
Jade felt flushed as she stepped out of the
elevator, the heat from within her glistening her décolletage with perspiration.
James knew better than to comment. For that brief moment, Jade felt a twinge of
attraction to the ego that didn't need persistence for survival. But the feeling
was short lived. Very, very, short lived. Getting involved with another man was
the farthest thing from her mind, having sworn off men altogether.
Jade wished James a good-night and made her way to
her jeep. Two beeps later, the alarm was disarmed, the driver's door opened.
Slipping her right leg into the door, she noticed an appalling sight. All four
tires had been slashed. Although the jeep had remained, thanks to the alarm, it
didn't do her much good. Such nuisance was the last thing she needed - tonight
of all nights. Jade kicked the front tire with her black patent leather pump and
started to dial for help on her cell phone. The voice at the other end was a
mere recording ordering her to wait her turn - elevator music providing
consoling entertainment. Lucky for her, James whipped by in his fire-engine red
BMW, noticed her, screeched to a halt, and said, "Can I offer you a ride
"That'll be great, James. I simply don't have
the patience to deal with this tonight."
Suavely, James reached his muscular arm over to
the passenger side, unlocked the door, and said, "Hop in."
The drama of the day extended into a rainy night,
traffic lights reflecting red onto streams dancing about on the windshield, at
each and every intersection. What should have taken but a handful of minutes
took an entire half hour. Save comments on directions and the weather, a
deafening silence made it appear even longer.
* * *
Back at her condo, Jade leaned onto her penthouse
window sill, and scanned the city shimmering beneath the dull smog. It felt like
the glow of Christmas lights shining through a layer of snow. Jade wondered if
her own life had some glimmer of hope hiding beneath the haze of
disillusionment. For now, every chair, every carpet, every marble counter
painfully reminded her of Richard. Especially the counters. Jade's spine
quivered remembering the fabulous sex they'd enjoyed atop the kitchen counter,
Richard lifting her onto it and impaling her forcefully with the burning desire
that she'd always brought out in him. The comfy leather chairs were of course
her domain, allowing her to empower him with her brazen sexuality. On and on
they would go, for hours, rarely coming up for air, enjoying each other without
distractions. Workaholics that they were, their time together was rarely
interrupted. Mrs. Jones down the hall could have attested to that, music and
screams showing signs of life where the weekend paper was seldom collected.
Rage overcame Jade. She pounded her fist down onto
the counter - hard -and shouted, "How could you? We had it made."
Save the throbbing pain in her fist, a response
was more than she could hope for. A life of loneliness - despite her flourishing
career and extracurricular activities - was not something she had ever planned
on. Having spent most of her adult years with just one man, she wouldn't even
know where to begin to remedy her situation - if she wanted to remedy it at all.
For tonight, a glass of Bordeaux was all that she could rely on to numb her
Early next morning, Jade raced through her
daybreak routine, her head pounding from the ingredients that went into the
night before. Bulging briefcase in hand, she called down to the doorman to get
her a cab. The answer, "There's someone here to see you, Ms. Roberts."
Who could it be at this hour, she wondered. With
just one name in mind - Richard - she said, "Send him right up."
Jade gave herself a once over in the mirror beside
her front entrance and prepared to open up the door. Her heart pulsated as if
she were meeting him for the very first time, excitement camouflaging all the
bitterness she'd sooner leave behind. He had to have come back to his senses,
Knock! Knock! Knock! The moment finally
arrived, having suspended her in slow motion for the longest time. To her
dismay, it was James. "I've taken care of having your jeep fixed. But since
it's still in the parkade, I thought you could use a ride."
All the disappointment from James taking over the
status of the unannounced guest churned into an angry hiss. "And just what
gave you the right to do that? I am perfectly capable of taking care of
"Calm down, Jade. It was just a friendly
little thing to do. I'll know better next time," is all that James said,
making his way out of her door. Jade felt just horrible for treating him that
way. It was so unlike her. She knew it was time she get a hold of herself,
before her unwieldly distress got the better of her. Looking around at the
lovely memories that surrounded her, she wasn't sure she was ready to let go
quite yet. Even their divorce had been more amicable than most friendships.