She saunters to the table, wearing that little black dress that she knows I love to see on her. Her smile tells me that the drink in her hand isn’t her first. It’s comfortable, relaxed, happy, and not just a little flirtatious. The music in the background is soft, but evident and her hips sway unconsciously to it’s rhythm.
“Are you just going to sit there all night? Or are you going to get up and join the rest of us?” She asks me. I wonder if she has any idea of the effect that she has on me? I almost groan aloud, but catch myself in time as I watch her put the straw from her drink to her lips.
I manage to keep my voice friendly and nonchalant. “Oh, I dunno. I’m having plenty of fun watching all you drunks making fools of yourself out there dancing,” I joke.
“Drunk?!?!” she asks, her smile tells me I must have just unknowingly challenged her. “You haven’t seen anything yet.” My heart aches as she reaches for my arm to drag me away from the safety of the table. A jolt of electricity jumps through me as her skin contacts mine. “C’mon,” she tells me, dragging me to my feet, “You’ve been the playing the recluse long enough.”
I’m hoping that she doesn’t notice the melancholy smile on my face as I reluctantly rise. I can’t help but stare at the little gold ring around her finger, wishing I was the one who put it there.
For the rest of the night I have to watch her dancing with the rest of our group. We’re all out here tonight after finally closing the deal with our biggest client to date. Too many hours we’d all spent at our tables, making little changes requested to the facade, the landscaping, the lighting of the office building for a ‘to be named later’ law firm. But the deal was done, and now we’re all out at this “intimate” little jazz club she’d gone to a while back. I know that I’ll be having the same dream tonight that I’ve had almost every night since all these late work nights started.
It’s a simple dream, really. I’m walking down the street with her on my arm. Sometimes it’s just the two of us, sometimes we’re with a group of friends. Sometimes I’m quiet when I tell her, sometimes I’m shouting it out to the world. But the words are always the same. And as I watch her on the dance floor now, they still are the same and I want to tell her, “I love you.”
I stagger into work the next day, having slept very little. And of course she’s there. With a ready smile and a cheerful “Good morning.” My heart flutters at what I think is a one of those “meaningful stares” that I hear so much about. But I fall back again from my reverie, almost immediately. She reaches up her hand to brush a gorgeous strand of hair that has fallen over her eyes. Her left hand. The hand with that blasted little gold ring.
I resign myself to the rest of the day I have ahead of me. I try to bury the thoughts rushing through my mind, the electricity coursing through my body. I know that she’ll never be mine and that all of my “I love yous” are going to have to remain my secret, and all of my dreams and desires are going to have to remain my hidden midnight confessions.