FINDING LOVE AGAIN
“Mom, you would love him,” Lisa Donner spoke into her cell phone, as she pushed through the morning herd of angry and disgruntle New Yorkers, as she conversed with her mother Maggie. A morning routine they both had establish ever since Lisa had moved to New York. “ He’s funny, intelligent…” This was the only quality time they got to spend together. Lisa always made the trip home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but seeing how the economy was nowadays, money was tight for her to take more frequent trips to the West Coast. Her mother understood this, and she was willing to do whatever it took to be a part of her daughter’s life, even if it meant waking up at five in the morning.
“ and he loves me for who I am.”
“Where did you guys meet? “ Her mother fought off the yawns that crept up.
Lisa could hear her walking around the kitchen, preparing to make herself a pot of coffee over the phone. “At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we just met a few weeks back,” Lisa giggled. “ I was just standing there admiring The Head of the Virgin, and he stands beside me, not looking at me or trying to hit on me, his thoughts, his focus are lost with the painting. So I join him, and in the moment we’re praising Da Vinci work, I can feel us connect, it’s like we’re talking to each other but not a single word is said. It’s the painting, it’s us, it’s all connected.” She was running breathless as she relived each second. “ The moment we have enough, he turns and looks at me, Mom, those eyes, oh my God, Just breath taking.”
Maggie smiled on the other end as her daughter swooned. It was so good to hear some joy in her daughter’s voice, It was even a godsend just to picture her happy with another person. Lisa always settle for those hotheaded boyfriends, the ones that could never understand, never treat her as she deserved. The last boyfriend, Craig, especially did a number on Lisa. He not only ripped out her poor daughter’s fragile heart he took her for granted, made her pay all of his expenses, and all the while he was fucking her best friend behind her back. Of course, when things finally did end between the two of them, he came out of it playing the perfect victim. It had been nearly two years since Lisa had dated anyone, let alone someone who seemed to make her so happy.
“What’s his name?” Maggie asked.
“Gerard,” Lisa swooned as his name came out of her mouth.
“Well, I’m excited for you, You deserve to be happy. Just remember to take things slow this time, honey.” Maggie cringed as the words escaped her mouth. Love should never feel like walking on thin ice, waiting for something to go wrong. But she couldn’t bare her daughter be hurt once more.
“ Mom,” Lisa sighed. “I just…I really think he could be…. “ It scared Lisa to even say it out loud. The moment they laid eyes on each other at the museum, she felt her life become whole, she knew there and then, she had found her missing part to the puzzle. “ The one.”
Maggie prayed with all her might that was true. “ Just give it time.” She said to her.
“You could get to see him this Thanksgiving, I told him about you, and he’s dying to meet you, and Dad of course. F.Y.I he‘s drop dead gorgeous, tall and slick black hair.”
Maggie could almost see her daughter smile from across the phone. It made her heart flutter.
“ Wow, what a hottie.” She teased her daughter. “ Well, you tell that handsome young fellow, that we can’t wait to see him either.”
“Will do. I‘m almost at my stop, I have to go. I love you, talk to you tomorrow?”
Her mother always hated this part, the goodbyes; it almost seemed that this would be the last time she got to hear her daughter’s voice. Her husband always said that she was too attached to Lisa, she was the youngest, it was in her instinct to protect her baby, who at twenty-four left to take a job as a secretary at a law firm in New York. Exploring the world for the very first time on her own, something Maggie could never see herself do, deep inside she was proud of her daughter of being so brave, venturing the world on her own two feet. She knew one day Lisa would come back, Thanksgiving was only six months away after all, but the wait was what killed her. “ Of course, sweetie. I love you.”
“ Love you , Bye.” Lisa had to be the one to hang up, her mother would always stay on the line, never wanting to let go. She could still remember the time they spent crying over the fact that she was moving to N.Y. it was as if there was a death in the family. Some parents would jump for joy at the thought of sending their kids out to the world and out from under their roofs. But It just wasn’t like that with her family, you were always welcomed to stay. Her older brother Jeffery was a perfect example, thirty-four, unemployed, whose weekly regimen was internet porn and cam chats with Asian girls from overseas. a pot head who could never keep his perspective of reality, always being booked on something, only to be bailed by their father. But not once did the thought of tossing him out to the streets ever crossed their mind, he was their son, he was welcome to live with them from here to the end of time.
Her morning text from Gerard, which lit up her face like a Christmas tree.
I’ve got a special treat for you tonight ;)
Lisa did her best to contain the excitement flowing through her. She texted him back immediately. “ Really, what is it ?”
Now, what would be the fun in that ?
Gerard was such a tease, never wanting to ruin a surprise. She texted back. “ Ur so bad : – ) I can’t wait. Where should we meet?”
I’ll pick you up at your place, once I get off work
“ I love you.” She texted and said out loud at the same time, feeling the love radiate through her body. Lisa was feeling such a high that she decided to share her joy with an elderly old woman sitting right beside her. “ I’m in love, it’s the best feeling in the world.” Out of all the people in the train Lisa could see in this old woman’s eyes that she knew what she felt, perhaps she had even said those exact words in the same seat to her soul-mate, that had surely passed away by now and waiting for on the other side. “ I wish you could relive this feeling.”
The elderly woman stared at Lisa for a good three hard seconds before flipping her off and saying a few kind words herself, “ Fuck off, you noisy cunt.” Lisa’s jaw dropped, this was not what she was expecting. “ The same feeling you feel, is what I feel when I take a shit.” She rose from her seat, pushing the people aside as she hobbled her way down to the next cart, hoping to get as far from Lisa disease loving heart.
“ Fucking old bat. “ Lisa slowly whispered in shock. “ Oh, who cares, I’m in love.” She giggled out loud, tossing away the bad moment in a heartbeat, as the train had arrived at the station.
Slower and slower
Every second was torture, Lisa spent the better part of work staring at the clock on the wall from her desk, praying it would jump from eleven to five miraculously, so she could run home for a quick shower before her date with Gerard. She was dying to know what surprised he had for her. Her mind raced with the image of him popping the question, with a band hidden behind the bushes that he had paid for the night, all waiting to come out and serenade her with her favorite song “ All I have to do is dream” by the Everly Brothers. This was a fantasy she had picture in her mind a million times with her past relationships, before they burn to the ground, but this was different, Gerard was different, He wasn’t like the others.
The image of marriage wasn’t a stretch to fantasize about either, they had been going out for six months, something she hadn’t bother telling her mother on the train, she didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, then have to break the bad news of another failed relationship. Better to have them think she only invested weeks in him, rather than months.
Her images of white flowers, wedding bells and hidden bands behind bushes were interrupted when her brain dead co-worker Jackie came over to her desk. “ Hey, girly.” Every word out of her mouth sounded so fake, it pained her to listen. She flashed her new red heels and the new mini skirt that she claimed to “ bought with my own sweat and blood“. Lisa knew the new skirt was a gift from their boss Larry Saxon. Saxon was the owner and founder of Saxon In Law, he was a balding old man with enough money to afford a yacht, a private home uptown and the love of his secretary.
Everyone at the office knew of the romance. Jackie was twenty-eight, perky breast, thin and easy, Everything a married man like Saxon wanted, as long as Jackie kept her mouth shut to Harriet Saxon, his wife of forty years. Jackie had no reason to blab, she was getting paid double her salary, did no paper work, her job was suck the bosses cock, and word around the water cooler was that Saxon had rented her a new apartment just a few blocks from the office. Work and a quick fuck, what every man wanted.
Jackie bragged about how her father had sent her money this week, a lie to cover her affair, Lisa almost gagged on her own saliva from it. She continued on how she found some great deals at Forever21, she even threw in the idea of them having lunch together sometime. All Lisa could muster as a response was “ uh huh” as her mind turned to mush.
The conversation seem to go on for eternity ,which was killing every bit of Lisa’s poor soul, only to be saved from a blessing in disguise as their boss Mr. Saxon called Jackie into his office so she could take “notes”, no doubt from under the desk. Lisa was a pro in knowing the signs already, his office blinds were sealed shut, his voice crackled like a teen hitting puberty when he spoke, it all meant Jackie was about to earn her paycheck.
Hours passed and lunch had arrived. Mr. Saxon order take out for the entire staff, his way of buying the silence of his team. Lisa didn’t want to fill up because of her date later tonight. Some of her co-workers teased her for trying to starve herself, they joked around, teasing her that she wanted to be a model, that a gram cracker and water was her daily regiment to reach her perfection. Far from it, Lisa was a curvy girl and darn proud of it. She just had a salad and a diet coke, to silence her co-workers mouths, but not the rumors.
She stared intensely at the cell, hoping Gerard would text her a love note, joke, or what are you thinking about text. Anything to brighten her mood. No such luck. “ You suck.” She put the phone back in her purse.
One of the young paralegal’s named Bradley came over to Lisa’s desk to flirt with her, they all seemed to walk in an odd way when they attended to flirt, it was like they had something cram up their butt cheeks, they called it swagger, to her it was just mortifying, especially coming from the whitest people you could imagine. Since she’d been working here, she couldn’t help but notice that all the white preppy wannabe lawyers looked alike and acted in the same manner, same dull sense of humor, same suits, same chiseled model faces. There was Bradley, Chad, Brad, Billy, Bruce and Berry, she had a hard telling them apart, she just knew it was Bradley cause of his thick eyebrows.
Bradley complemented her on her stunning outfit, which he described as pricy. Lisa wasn’t quite sure if she should tell him that she bought her clothes from a thrift store around the corner of her apartment.
He continued to serenade her, while Lisa ponder if this fell into the category of sexual harassment, the bells of a big pay day rang in her head. With minutes of woo and one line zingers, but no crack in her armor, he gave up and moved on to another girl in the office.
Bradley’s advances wasn’t his fault. Lisa always kept her private life away from her work, not a single co-worker knew she was dating or if she had someone in her life. She was just the happy go lucky secretary who was always on time and knew where things were. “ The Radar of this M.A.S.H unit “ Mr. Saxon would always call her. Lisa had no idea who that was until she googled the terms Radar and Mash, she wasn’t a small balding man with glasses, but she sort of saw the complement.
Finally the end of the day had arrived, she had finished all the paper work on her desk, e-mailed and faxed every important document to keep everyone updated and ready for the next day. She was the first out of the door, she said her goodbyes and told them all she would see them tomorrow. Perhaps she would return as an engaged woman. She smiled at the notion as she walked out of the elevator and headed to catch the train. She sent her love a text. “ I’m ready for tonight, I can’t wait for the surprise *kiss* “
She looked outside her apartment window hoping to see Gerard’s blue Honda Civic pulling down the street, it was already eight, and no sign of him. She cradle her cell in her hand as she whistled out of nerves. As long as they’ve been dating he’d never been late, he was a very punctual person.
Gerard had gotten off from work at six, he never enjoyed working the graveyard shifts at the docks, even if they did pay the overtime. There were nights he would come home to her and just rant about how unfair they treated him and how they would always keep passing him up for promotions. She always felt the urge to tell him to quit, she knew how smart he was, and how gifted of a painter he was as well. It drove her mad to see his gift be wasted on such a place. But she knew it was better to let him realize this on his own, pushing someone never worked in life, and no matter what path he chose she would stick by him till the end.
She wonder if she should text him or not, the last thing she wanted to do was sound pushy or seem upset, but a part of her argued how could she not, she was dressed like a princess for this special night. She wore her red dress, the same one she had bought the first time they went dancing, she remember how he called her a goddess as they nestled together and slow danced to Michael Bolton. To top it off she wore her mother’s favorite earrings, the same ones her mother wore as Lisa’s father purposed to her. Her mother had passed them on to Lisa to wear when she felt the moment was going to come, for good luck.“ There’s always something in the air, you can just feel it.” Her mother would always recount that story with so much passion when she was growing up.
Now that she stared so intensely outside, she could feel the tears crawling their way up. She had invested herself too emotionally for this night, she felt like she had no one but herself to blame. She let the thoughts of marriage over take her, when perhaps there was none at all. “ Nice going, dummy.” She kept glaring outside the window, she knew this wasn’t like him to just forget or even call if he was going to be late. She could only hope nothing had happened to him.
Sorry GOT CAUGHT UP, But look out at your window ;)
Her cell vibrated with the message, she fumble with the phone to see who it was , she smiled and thanked God for giving her this night. She stared out the window but didn’t see his car, there was a black Ford Focus parked outside, but no sign of Gerard. Lisa texted back “ Where are you?”
See the Focus outside?
“ My baby has a new car !” she said out loud, loud enough that next store neighbor pounded on the walls. “ Stupid paper thin walls” Lisa grumbled
She locked the door to her apartment and raced down the stairs to see her man’s new car. She whistled at the brand new vehicle like a construction worker would whistled at a woman walking down his path. Gerard came out with his hair freshly cut, a nice black suit and tie. Lisa stepped back to soak in the image of him, he never looked more handsomer in his life, she could feel her knees go weak at the sight.
He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her in, giving her a kiss and slowly caressing her face to see those cheeks turn red. “ You’re so easy to make blush.” He teased her as they pulled away slowly.
“ Shut up.” She covered her face into his chest trying to deny the truth. Once the blushing faded away, she slowly met his gaze. “ I could look at those eyes all day.” She said to him. There was excitement in them, Lisa could tell , they always seem to shine when he had something cleverly planned.
“ This is not the surprise.” He pointed at the car. “ I swear on my door mat.” He reassured.
It wouldn’t bother her if it was, just being with him seemed like the world got a little better and things weren’t all gloom and doom. She smiled and ran her hand through his black hair. “ I can’t tell you how much you mean to me.” she passionately let those words slip out of her mouth, they weren’t rehearsed, they weren‘t meant to please him, they were just the truth and he could see that.
He swallowed his emotions, he was never good at telling people how he felt, but Gerard knew Lisa was different. He took her hands into his and said “ You mean the world to me, you have such a beautiful heart, I’m a lucky man that you came into my life, you have no idea how many nights I spent looking for someone like you.” Gerard eyes began to tear up.
Lisa knew he was the one, there would never be anyone else like him, he was her soul mate, her missing piece to fill the hole in her heart. She kissed him, holding him tightly, never wanting to let him go.
They both laughed as they slowly pulled away. “ So, where are we going ?” Lisa asked, wiping away the lipstick she smeared on him.
“ Madam, if you get in the car, I will give you a night that you shall not forget.”
“ Then drive me away my good man. “ She said with a breathless voice.
A Night Like No Other
Lisa was treated to the Everly brothers as Gerard drove down to a studio art complex in the Bronx, it wasn‘t the band behind the bushes, but it would do. Lisa was a bit confused as to what they were going to do in an art studio, she wonder if this was going to turn out like a scene from Titanic, her being swayed to undress as Gerard painted every inch of her naked body, she wouldn’t be upset if that was the case, not one bit.
She tried restlessly to get him to divulge the surprise but he would not budge, even if she nibbled on his neck, which half the time worked in the past. Nonetheless she gave up and went with the flow, after all she was with the person she wanted to be with the most, what else could she ask for?
The car came to a stop, “ Here we are.“ He raced to get out, so he could open Lisa’s door as a gentlemen would, she felt like royalty from the special treatment she was getting, he even gave her a hand out from the car.
“ You’re such a gentlemen, but I’m not tipping you.” She joked around.
They crossed arms and walked up the stairs to the complex. “We’re on the fourth floor.” He said to her.
The building was old and worn out, it was in need of a desperate paint job or a demolishing crew. When Gerard open the door to the building, it made a haunted mansion style creak and the smell of a dead animal carcass seem to loom in the air. Lisa prayed whatever Gerard had planned, was worth going through this. The halls of the complex was hot and musty, graffiti written everywhere and puddles of water on the concrete floor, no doubt from the leaking water pipe above.
They walked into the freight elevator, which seemed to be the only way to reach their floor. Lisa was a tad scared if they would make it to their destination alive in the old and rusty elevator. Even with all these faults Gerard just kept smiling at her.“ After you madam.” He closed the gate behind them and pulled the rope down to close the elevator doors. He pressed the button on the panel and the elevator hummed to life with an almost dying breath. “ Going up, hopefully.” He chuckled, which Lisa came back at him with a pinch on the arm. “ I’m kidding.”
He nestled with her and began to playfully kiss her neck. “ What’s waiting for me?” Lisa asked through her moans of pleasure, as his breath tickled her neck.
“ You’ll see.” He said with a devilish smile as he devoured her.
“ If your plan is to fuck me, we can do it right here in the elevator. I’ve always felt the urge to be a dirty girl and judging by the floor I would be one.” Lisa enjoyed her own joke.
It took the old elevator a few seconds until they reached their stop. “ Close your eyes.” Gerard said with a child like enthusiasm. She did as she was told, she wasn’t one to ruin his big plans for tonight.
Lisa could hear him pushing down the doors and opening the gate, he almost seemed out of breath, “ Babe, don’t faint on me.” She told Gerard, who seemed more eager for this night than her.
“ Okay, I did my best, I hope you like it. Now, open your eyes.”
Lisa was welcomed with a view of candles lighting up the entire studio, classical music playing in the background, and a bottle of wine waiting for her on a red cloth table. She slowly stepped in, amazed at the work he had done, the wooden floor had been waxed magnificently , the windows covered with red drapes. There were a few wooden crates and a bag in the corner, still none of it was enough to take from the beauty of it. This explained why he had made it so late, he was planning all this for her. “ I love it.”
“ I thought you would, I spent all day fixing this up just for you.” He softly squeezed her hand. He gestured to the table.
“ Baby, did you rent this place just for tonight ?” She asked
“ Yes I did, I just wanted to give you a night like no other. “ He kissed her cheek, “ Go have a drink, I think you’ll like the wine.” He devilishly smiled.
“ Care to join me?”
“ I will in a moment, but I got one more big surprise, so no peeking.” He wagged his finger at her.
“ Hurry up, I don‘t like to drink alone.” Lisa patted him on the butt, squeezing a little as he walked away. She made her way over to the table to give Gerard time to whip out his next surprise. Lisa examined the wine bottle before pouring herself a glass, she couldn’t believe what it was, “Cabernet Sauvignon “ This was the same drink they had together on their first date, at the restaurant in Little Italy, Casa Cotti. “ Baby, I didn‘t think you remembered.” She said awestruck.
“ How could I not? “ He said to her.
Lisa could hear him fumbling with the crates behind her, probably miss placing her gift. She nibbled on her lip as the image of an engagement ring came to mind. She poured herself a glass and took one large gulp to calm her nerves.
She could hear Gerard walking back to her, she couldn‘t stop smiling, she knew this was it, he was going to pop the question to her, “ So, what‘s my next surprise? ” She turned around with a glowing smile shinning so ever brightly for this moment, “ I‘ve been waiting all day for it.” Only to be greeted with the image of Gerard holding a wooden baseball bat in his hand, “ What are you doing?” She laughed out loud, not knowing how to react to this picture, it seemed like a bad joke. But before the reality of it could sink in, he swung the bat at her, sending her world into darkness.
YOU’RE THE ONE
It felt as though water had been poured into her head, she could hear it sloshing back and forth. Lisa slowly began to open her eyes, but found it to be difficult as blood trickled down into her eye sockets. She tried to move, only to discover that she was tied down to what seem to be an operating table. Her first thought was that she and Gerard had been into a car accident and now she was laying on an operating table. “ Gerard !” The moment She shouted his name, it all suddenly began to come back “What are you doing?” the image of him swinging the bat and knocking her out cold, how it stabbed like a jagged knife into her skull.
“ No.” She whimpered. “He wouldn’t do anything to harm me.” She refused to believe so, not after the moment they shared at the museum, the months they spend together, they had slept in the same bed, made love together, cooked for each other, they both wanted a life together, they wanted to grow old together. Every ounce of her body rejected the images flooding in her mind.
“ You’re so beautiful.” Gerard’s voice echoed through the apartment in a demonic tone. Lisa tried to fight from restraints but he quickly advised her otherwise. “ I wouldn’t try moving, I had to strap you down nice and tight. Besides you’ll only do more harm to yourself if you got up. I‘d say you’re hemorrhaging really bad right now, all that blood is going to start over flowing in your head, forming words is going to be tricky. I’m amazed you’re awake, I wasn’t expecting that.” He brushed back her brown bloody hair. “ Then again you’re not like other people, you‘re special.”
Lisa began to shiver from fright. Gerard voice was getting harder to hear, he sounded muffle at times. “ Why ?” the word fought to come out of her mouth.
“ Because you and I are meant to be together, forever. You knew that the first time we met.”
“ You lied to me.” Poor Lisa whimpered out in pain, closing her eyes tightly refusing to look at the man she once pictured marriage with, someone she wanted to have children with, someone she could call friend and lover.
“ Don’t say that.“ He held her hand tightly. “ You know the love we have for each other is greater than anything in this world , we were two lost souls waiting for that other half to come along. I saw what others couldn‘t. ” He caressed his hand at the center of her chest. “ You have a very special heart.”
“ Don’t kill me.” She pleaded.
“ I’m not going to kill you,” He leaned in and kissed her on the lips, trying to calm her rattle nerves. “ I love you too much to do a thing like that.” He pulled himself away from her lust and began to strip away her clothing.
“ Stop… just stop.“ Lisa stuttered in tears, as he pulled everything off her piece by piece.
Once she was strip of her clothing and lying naked on the operating table, Gerard could resist running his hands over her exposed body, and pressing his warm face against her cold skin. “ You smell so sweet.” He kissed her inner thigh, before walking out of sight into the corner, returning back shortly with a medical tray, surgeon tools, an ice box, gloves and a mask.
“ Gerard…” Lisa could feel herself drifting to sleep, she was trying her best to talk him out of this, but he just smiled at her as she spoke.
He walked over to her and strapped her head down to the table as well. “ What.. Why, what is..” She tried to ask why he was strapping her head down, but forming the words were beginning to become a difficult task as he had told her.
“ I don’t want you flopping around.” He chuckled at her, as though she should know the answer to that already.
He put on the surgeons mask and gloves. He retrieved a cloth from the pocket of his suit and shoved it down Lisa’s mouth, to keep her from biting down her tongue and to keep her screams silent, this was their night after all, he wouldn’t allow any outsiders to interfere.
He walked to the corner of the room once more, retrieving a bottle of alcohol from a duffel bag, there lying beside it was the bloody baseball bat he used to crack her skull with. He poured the alcohol around her chest to disinfect the area he planned to do his incision. He reached over for the scalpel, only to pause to stare at a mumbling Lisa who cried out for mercy. “ Don’t worry, this will be over before you know it.” He said with a gentle smile.
Lisa began to hyperventilate as the knife inched closer to her chest, she stared at the ceiling, hoping she would wake up from this nightmare. But the moment the sharp knife pierced into her upper chest it was clear there would be no waking up from this.
She felt the knife pulling down on to her chest, making its way to her stomach and continued to rip her apart until it reached the edge of her belly button. Lisa screamed and clawed the surgeons table with all her force, her nails cracked as she dug into the steel.
The blood surged out of her, spewing onto the table, the air began to fill with a metallic scent that filled her nostrils. Lisa witnessed with her own eyes as Gerard used his bare hands to pull open the skin, she could hear her own flesh be torn apart. Her stomach and intestines began to bubble up to the surfaces, as Gerard pry opened her body, it was like watching someone trying to pry open a pit bulls mouth.
It was at this moment as Lisa began to feel herself float away, she could see flashes of her mother walking the dog, smiling at her, waving to her to come home, reassuring her that everything will be alright. How she found solace in that smile.
In her final seconds of life, she witnessed the man she loved pushing aside her stomach and intestines to the floor, fighting to place the cold clamps on each side to keep her chest cavity open. She could only giggle, as Gerard looked at her with the same love he did the first time they met, as he saw her faint beating heart , “ That’s the most beautiful thing I‘ve seen,” His eyes tearing with joy. “ We were meant for each other.”
“ I knew he loved me.”