“Let the party begin!”
Her big smile almost out-dazzled the fashionable fuchsia dress and multi-colored zebra-print shoes she posed in as she entered the front door.
“Hey everyone,” she shouted with warm excitement before heading into the crowd to hug every single person as she made them feel like the one-and-only love of her life.
“How are you always smiling, Blondie?”
It was a question she was used to hearing.
“How could I not smile when I see you, darling?” She was holding both hands of the young lady who had asked the question and looking at her with a twinkle in her eye.
She fed off the reaction of the crowd that fell under her spell. The attention didn’t stay on her for too long, but she had provided temporary excitement and there was a slight increase to the energy and mood of the room. She was an entertainer by spirit and found no better high.
“Let me take you out to dinner tomorrow,” pleaded a handsome young man.
“Calm down, tiger,” she said teasing. “You wouldn’t know what to do with me if your life depended on it.”
The promises of those enamored lies kept her at a distance. She knew it wasn’t intentional, but she was smart enough to realize that they were drugged on the character of her; not who he really was. Hardly anyone knew the other side that came out when the curtain went down.
“Why are you so quiet?” It didn’t happen all the time, but when the long silences did come, it made her boyfriend uncomfortable.
“No reason, Gabriel,” she responded, still lost in thought as she watched the lights of the night pass on their drive. “Just lost in my own head.”
“I have to admit – when we first met, I didn’t believe you when you said you’re quiet and introverted a lot of the time. It didn’t seem…possible.”
“Welcome to the next stage of being in a relationship with me,” she teased. “If I’m not going off on philosophical rants, I’m recouping from all that extroverted fabulousness.” She smiled and rubbed the top of their entangled hands with her thumb. “What goes up must come down.”
“I like that smile,” he said, kissing the top of her cocoanut-scented hand. “You don’t smile as much with me anymore as you do when we’re out.”
“Come on sugar-britches! You gotta know that has nothing to do with how amazing I think you are. I’m just more comfortable with you now, which is a very good thing. I’m a tortured soul baby,” she joked with a dramatic gesture.
“I thought you were being sarcastic when you said that.”
“Yeah. It’s hard to believe. I love people, so I get excited when I first see them. That makes me all celebration and smiles, but that’s not who I really am. No one is. You get to see the me beyond those reactions to others. Most don’t see past the sparkle to see that there’s a lot more to me. Most don’t want it.”
“If you want to be taken seriously, why do you always flaunt about and wear such elaborate costumes?”
“Being animated and what I wear,” she said defensively, “is self-expression and does not determine how smart I am or how much respect I deserve. I don’t care if I get on the checkout stand at the grocery store and start dancing around in nipple tassels. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m a good person that does a lot for others and works incredibly hard to go after what I want and believe in. Besides – what’s wrong with being sexy? It should be celebrated. Not made into something we’re ashamed of.”
“But why do you always have to be so sexy? You’re with me now. Why do you want everyone looking at you?”
“Excuse me?” His comment bothered her, but she was still calm and understanding. “Have I changed from the person you first worked your tail off to win the time of day with?”
“No,” he said hesitantly as he realized he was walking into a trap.
“Do I come off as the type that does things to land a man instead of doing them because it’s who I am?”
“I’m not trying to suggest that. It just bothers me having so many people stare at you all the time.”
“I like making people feel good and I like entertaining. I hoped that you would enjoy that with me. I’m the last girl that’s going to be won and stuck away in a house cooking and cleaning for the rest of her life. And speaking of being in the house, in case you haven’t noticed, the way I dress is exactly the same when no one else is around as when they are.”
Gabriel stared at the road as he drove. He was unsatisfied with the conversation but, being a testosterone-filled guy’s guy, he was too uncomfortable to share those feelings.
“I don’t want to steamroll you,” she said switching gears. “You’re wonderful and of course I want to make you happy. I try to pay attention to your needs and find out where we both can be satisfied. Now that we’re getting more serious, maybe we can designate one dinner a week to trying to figure stuff like that out.”
He shifted in his seat, uncomfortable at the idea.
“Come on, baby. It can be very logical. We can try to think of it as business negotiations as much as possible if it makes you more comfortable and agree to keep as much emotion out of it as possible while we discuss things.”
He relaxed at the idea of keeping the emotions manageable. He had seen her, quite to his shock, switch on a dime when not getting enough respect from the fun-loving and light-hearted girl she was known as to a very serious and quite powerful woman.
“Only while we’re sifting through the nuts and bolts though,” she continued. “That’s all I’ll promise.”
He conceded with a slight nod.
“Oh come on pookie,” she said, unfastening her seatbelt to hop up and sit on her heels so she could throw her arms around his shoulders. “Lighten up for me. You’ve noticed how many fellas have tried to get my attention over the last few years.”
He tightened up, sliding back to an unpleasant mood.
“How many of them did I give the time of day? Even when I was single, I didn’t allow anything to happen and it was next to impossible to catch my interest. Why would it change now? Especially when I’ve got my dream man right here.” She started kissing him all over his face until he couldn’t hold back a laugh.
“Hold on woman,” he said, now in good spirits as he pulled her off. “You’re going to make me crash!”
“I know I’m a handful, Gabriel. I love you all the more for being such a strong man,” she said facing him in an Indian-style position. “You actually work at understanding me, loving me for who I am and working together to find a way to make us fit. Many think they want me,” she said, looking down, “but if I gave them a chance to see all of me, they’d run for the hills. I’ve always known that.”
“I can’t imagine anyone being unwilling to go to the ends of the earth for you,” he said, raising her chin. “All of you.”
Because of this, she loved him.
As he parked on the street by the ocean, he stopped her before she opened the car door.
“I knew how heartbroken you were to invest the money you wanted to use to take your best friend on a birthday cruise,” he said changing the subject, “so I got something for you.”
She looked at him with surprise.
“Look in the glove box,” he said.
Pulling out four plane tickets to New Orleans for Marti Gras, she stared at the tickets as she processed what she was looking at.
“I want you to go with your girls,” he said. “You’ve been giving up a lot of the things that make you happy in order to do what’s responsible. I’ve noticed how much it’s taken away that spark I love about you so much. As much as I hate to admit it, I’d rather see your shining, happy personality with all of your crazy adventures than watch you be subdued so we can invest.”
Oh my gosh!” She jumped up and straddled him. “You’re amazing!”
“Just as long as we have a little something being sacked away, OK? Now listen. I trust you and want you to have fun on this trip, and I know you can take care of yourself, but it’s dangerous over there. I’ll be there too, but I’ll be doing my own thing with a couple friends at a different hotel. I’ll just be a phone call away if you need me.”
“How about late-night calls?” She asked with a seductive stare as she reached down to unbuckle his pants. “Are those permitted?”
“I think you’ve already worked your black magic on me, woman. What else do I have to be scared of?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I’ve always known who I am. I write, I love the arts, I love people and I love travel. I’m passionate and need to fight for what I believe in. I never had a problem knowing who I am. My battle has been fighting the outside forces that would tell me I am wrong.
There’s only so long we can run from ourselves before surrendering and that’s where I am now. I’ve given into who I am and what I love. That is what you see here.