// February 14th, 2017 // On Writing

Happy-Valentines-DayHere’s an old short I wrote a while back. It was based on a writing prompt: “She smelled like the lemon sherbet that melted all over my kitchen counter the other night.” 

It turned into this… it was kinda free from, no real edits or rewrites – it is what it is. An exercise in writing.

Enjoy and… Happy Valentine’s Day.

Different Shades of Pink

I was dressed in a completely inappropriate shade of pink. My color scheme has never been my strength and when they said to wear pink, I had to find the only pink think I owned. It was a blouse stuffed way back on a shelf with other ‘old clothes for the garage’ cloths. I actually did not pick it because, first, I hate pink and second, it’s the only pink blouse I had. It was by necessity and not by choice. I grabbed at it knowing exactly where it was: three from the bottom.

“So, I’m wearing pink. No biggie,” I thought. But it wasn’t pink. Instead, it was this faded, reddish-rogue color with a missing button. I swear- it used to be pink. And the last time I wore it was to seduce an SAE pledge in college. This, now faded reddish-rouge blouse, was all I had. It was pink enough. And with a black mini and a pair of four-inch heels… talk about hot – I was ‘smokin’ as the pledge said. And we, the dark-haired pledge and I, didn’t end up going out that night either. It was the first time I ever, I’m embarrassed to say, ‘did it’ with shoes on.

Wow, that was Valentine’s Day six years ago! I had a date with an Argentinean hunk with beautifully long, dark curly hair and eyelashes any woman would die for; for herself that is. That was the last time I wore this blouse. What a coincidence. Today is Valentine’s Day!

Our Century City office was overly decorated with hearts and streamers and ‘love’ statements and everyone was wearing pink. I was wearing my faded blouse and thought about what my mother said long ago, “Every woman should have pink in her closet.” Maybe that’s why I didn’t have anything pink in my closet – because my mom said I should.

“Isabella, that’s not pink, you know?” Kayden poked matter-of-factly. I looked closer to what I was wearing and realized I not only clashed with everyone in the office, I stuck out like a zit ready to pop. But to be honest, all that pink walking around made my head hurt!

Kayden asked me the most peculiar question. “Do you like topless bars?” I was caught off guard but in our line of business it wasn’t such an unusual question. But usually we’d be asking our clients questions like that.

In between my one-donut-a-month binge and a Venti drip I stumbled with, “Me? Personally? Well…” Should I give details? Should I hide the fact that I’ve been to a couple of strip clubs, or do I lie? I lied. “I’m indifferent.” Janice looked at me with a puzzled look and added, “Edward, (our new client) owns a topless bar called, ‘Exotic Drinks’ and we (meaning me) are meeting him there for lunch instead of the planned dinner.” I hated strip clubs, despite my past patronage, but it seemed a topless bar wouldn’t be as bad.

Edward is a wealthy business owner. His bio states he was a professional gambler before opening up a Sports Bars and most recently, a topless bar. We were hired to find Edward a wife. You see, I work for a millionaire matchmaker service. We find life partners, for men, women, gay and lesbian millionaires who just don’t like the online dating trend of today. They like the personal touch, and that’s what we give them. Kayden, a former Miami Heat cheerleader and former COO for a Fortune 500 company was the owner, and I, her “number one matchmaker”, was meeting “Edward the Millionaire” today.

Sylvia had this manly habit of spitting. It gets on my nerves. And normally I would be uptight about it but today, Kayden decided to send Sylvia with me to the lunch meeting with Edward. This was a good thing because Edward was one of those clients that made me feel uncomfortable. And if Sylvia is there, maybe Edward would be more into her than shooting those ‘Sinatra-esque’ blue eyes at me. Yes, they were blue, they were deep blue, but they were annoying and invasive.

Sylvia is hot. She’s a young 20 something with the perfect body. Most of the potential male client, and some females, that walked into the office would immediately find themselves drawn to Sylvia because of her tight body and her long legs. She was ‘eye candy’ and she knew it. Hell, I was jealous of her she was so beautiful. We had a policy to dress business casual but no matter how business casual Sylvia dressed, it looked more like nightclub hot than business casual. Anything she wore looked great on her. Anybody else who’d wear the same thing would look, well, business casual.

Kayden would always impress upon our clients that her staff were NOT available as potential dates. This would immediately get the attention away from ‘us’ and focus on their future partner. Now if all the men who came in and drooled over Sylvia only knew she would spit out her car window like a hockey player, they might not be so into her. Yes, I was jealous. But who wouldn’t be? I’d die to look like that. And if I did, I wouldn’t spit in public like she does.

Speaking of hockey, Edward was skating on thin ice! I mean, whom did Edward think he was to be staring at me like he did? First, Kayden told him ‘hands off the staff.’ And now he was stabbing me with his eyes; eyeballing me up and down like a sleazy bum off the street. Just because he had money should not mean we should be taking him on as a client.

Okay, I’m jumping ahead. Sylvia and I met Edward at his topless bar, “Exotic Drinks” and a 21-year-old with a five thousand dollar boob job and a California tan immediately brought over a concoction of pineapple, watermelon, vodka and rum. I couldn’t help but stare at her breasts, but darn, ‘I want a pair of those’ I thought to myself. Mine aren’t bad, just so you know, but they weren’t those.

We had interviewed about 20 different girls and were preparing a meet-and-greet for Edward for Friday night. We were prepping him on how to dress, how to act and what to look for in the girls. They were all receptive to him being an owner of a topless bar, all had a college education – which he insisted, and all were 25-30 years of age. At least he wasn’t looking for a bimbo with size D’s who laughed at anything remotely funny he said. He was actually looking for substance. And, although I hated all the attention Sylvia always received, for once I was wishing he’d stare at her because all his attention was on me: and my ‘faded reddish-rouge-pink’ blouse.

“I cheated on my spouse. More than once.” He told us. That’s why his marriage ended in divorce. Immediately you would think, ‘what an a-hole’ right? But his sob story was credible. His wife was verbally and mentally abusive. She was selfish and self-centered and she cheated on him, constantly, before he ever did. Then she had blamed him for a failed marriage.

He admitted to having a couple of ‘flings’ because the marriage was pretty much over. She was doing it, and he felt like – in order to move on, he had to sleep with someone too. “At least that’s what she thought.” he said. “I only told her I was to get her off my back.”

You’re kidding right? He didn’t even want to cheat after all the drama she put him through. He decided to have a couple fictitious one-nighters in order to convince himself, and her, that their marriage was over. She only stayed with him for the money, and he wished he could find a woman without her knowing he had money. She was jealous from day one, blaming him for affairs he never had when in the end, she was the one that was having affairs. Shakespeare said, “Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind.”

Our investigators verified all his claims. His wife admitted to everything he said she did, and she was still desperate to get more in alimony but Edward had a very clear-cut prenuptial agreement. He knew what he was getting into when he married. He still doesn’t know why he did. “Love is blind, and after coming in second place at the World Series of Poker, you’d just do about anything,” he said. Well, he did it, but give him credit for being prepared for the worst- and the worst happened.

I can see how women could fall for him. But the whole concept of him being a gambler, of owning a topless bar, and of being previously married really put me off. I’d find someone for him, but I wasn’t about to fall victim to his charm. It kind of made me sick to be honest. And for the first time at this job, I wish I didn’t have to work for a client.

My phone buzzed. A text message: “The plane was two hours late.” Ted, my next client ‘texted’ me. This just meant I couldn’t rush out of “Exotic Drinks” and away from sleazy millionaire Edward! That was a bad thing. I couldn’t wait to leave! Poor Ted; he waited two hours in Denver on a lay-over to board a plane to Los Angeles, where he’d be going over financials on a business his partner and he were interested in taking over. Ted was a client I really wanted to work with. He was fun, energetic, looking for a specific type, and was willing to do anything to find her.

I took my time in the bathroom and sent a text back to Ted wishing him a Happy Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t in a rush to go back out to meet Edward, and Sylvia was probably wrapping things up anyway. If I timed it right, I’d give closing remarks, shake his hand and wish him luck on Friday night.

I stood there making sure my lips weren’t a mess when Sally walked in. Sally was the bartender. She wasn’t topless, but I was sure she was tipped well by the way she looked: perfect teeth, perfect smile; geez, everyone working here is perfect! Why did Edward need our help?

“Hey there!” She said with confidence almost showing off her teeth. “So you’re Isabella?” She smelled like the lemon sherbet that melted all over my kitchen counter the other night.

I smiled, “That’s me – Match Maker Isabella.”

“You know Edward hasn’t stopped talking about you since the day he went to your office.” Sally said.


I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. But in my head I thought, “that’s why!” I mean, that’s why he wasn’t looking at Sylvia the way he looked at me. She was the hot one! It all made sense to me. He had a crush on me. But why? I started to get dizzy. Maybe the drink was taking effect.

I noticed a tattoo on Sally. It was a baby with wings on her shoulder-blade. A cupid. Perfect for today I thought. It’s been a long time since someone told me that someone had a crush on me. It was like grade school all over again. I wasn’t sure if I was happy about it or upset. Yet, I was feeling just like that tattoo – and how appropriate. I’m a cupid! And I was feeling like a child with wings. A boy has a crush on me! It didn’t matter. He was still a sleaze-ball. Right?

I did all the professional speak about how clients do that sometimes: it’s like a patient and their therapist or two actors working together. Or, schoolboy has a crush on his teacher syndrome. We get that here and there but we’re professional. I babbled on – which probably drove her out of the bathroom. I needed to get out of there too. How I wished to have a beekeeper’s outfit to wear back into the bar like the one I saw on Discovery Channel the night before.

And yes, I felt like a swarm of bees were flying around me as I walked back into the lunch filled bar. It seemed like the other times I’ve been to a strip club and men’s eyes would gravitate to the ‘normal girls’ walking in like me. You know, the potential lesbian/bisexual types getting their kicks off of hot female strippers. Like wondering why ‘we’ were in the strip club in the first place. We must be kinky.

I didn’t want these sex starved men to think I was wild and kinky. And for the first time I started to feel self-conscious about myself. It’s never been a problem really. I’m confident, I have a college education, I speak well, and I’m motivated and independent. I was listing all my qualities in my head when I realized, that’s exactly what Edward wrote down in his bio! I handed out my business card to every man I walked by just to justify why I was there. It was strictly business and nothing kinky.

Then I began to giggle. Just like the time I heard my best friend Henry crying during Titanic. The sound of his girly whimper during the movie made giggle. But then I thought, why am I not crying?  And I was the girl! Maybe I have a thing about intimacy.

So what if Edward had a crush on me? So what if all these men were staring at me. I didn’t care. I was there to do my job and that was that.

“So do you think you can find me a wife?” Edward whispered in my ear. I jumped, startled, and felt uncomfortable as I turned to face him.

And for the first time I saw sincerity in his eyes. We make judgments on people all the time in my line of work. I had come to so many conclusions about Edward already, and another one was made. I felt sorry for him. Then something Sally said to me in the bathroom really rang through. I thought about my other client, Ted, and how desperate he was to get married. He wasn’t that much different from Edward I thought. Except Edward was looking for love and not just marriage; he had already done that.

I looked at Edward and thought about what Sally said. I didn’t know Edward like all the girls here did. And she said something that really didn’t hit home until now. “I hope you can find him someone. He really deserves to fall in love.”

Everyone deserves love. For three years I’ve been doing this business I did it because the client wanted something: Marriage. They rarely came in and asked for someone to fall in love with. They’d say, “I want to find a wife.” I found them wives because money was involved and I got paid well. I did it because it was a job. But never did I really think about the consequences of my actions. The overall future of the client, whether they stayed with their partner or not. I realized for the first time: everyone deserves love.

“You’re married right?” He asked. I shook my head apprehensively. Where is this going to go? “Well, I’m sure that guy would be very lucky! If you can find someone for me who’s like, well, like you, I think I’d be a very happy man.”

I gave him a look of, ‘are you serious with that line’? But then gave him the benefit of the doubt. I’m a good judge of character. For some reason I wasn’t fairly judging him – for the lack of a better word.

I nodded… “Well, that’s going to be tough because there’s nobody out there like me.” I quipped.

I started to feel insecure again. Perfect boobs over there is serving alcohol, perky Sally is getting tips with her smile and perfect teeth, and Sylvia, despite the fact she spits out the car window, has long legs and a bod that I’d kill for. Me? I’m five pounds over-weight in the wrong places. My boobs are half the size of “those”, and my legs just stop. They’re like ankle legs. Or just, ankles. I’m not what I was in College that’s for sure. I should have made use of the gym membership I’ve been paying for for two years now but haven’t been to in a… I’ll be honest… two years.

He added: “Just as long as she could fall in love with me as much as I know I can fall in love with her – I’ll be happy.”

Okay. As silly or as stupid as that sounded, it made my knees weak. I blamed the alcohol once again, but in a matter of an hour I went from, this guy is a sleazy gambler/topless bar owner to, this guy is a successful entrepreneur desperate to fall in love.

I stumbled for words when Sylvia saved me. “We have to end our meeting. We have another client flying in from Denver.”

I wanted to say, “Ted is late. We have two hours to kill!” But decided to move on professionally and leave that crazy feeling I was feeling. This isn’t about me. This is about Edward.

“Oh, and by the way, that’s my favorite shade of Pink” he said to me.

My mouth dropped. I looked down at my missing button then I turned to Sylvia, “Ted’s plane is two hours delayed.”

Then I smiled at Edward, “Mind if we stay?”

That was two years ago.

So, here I am, two years later remembering that Valentine’s day I met Edward with my, sort of pinkish blouse. I guess there are different shades of pink and that was Edward’s favorite. Crazy, huh?

I grabbed the stack of ‘old clothes for the garage’ cloths out of my closet and packed it into a box; and found that ‘pink’ blouse again!

“Anymore boxes to go?” It was Edward standing in the hallway of my near empty apartment. Boxes piled up ready for a move.

I turned to him and smiled. “Remember this?” I held the blouse up. “Should it stay or should it go?”

“Hey, that’s what you wore that day I fell in love with you.”

I nodded. “Two years ago.”

He smiled. “Then it should stay.”

The end.




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