My Uncle Nathan has a particular interest in games of chance. He is an accountant and since he was a young man growing up in Brooklyn, NY has always been a wiz with numbers, statistics, and odds. Like a character in a direct to DVD movie, he has a catchy saying for almost any situation. We were having a casual conversation at a family gathering and he felt the need to give me unsolicited advice on dating.
“Tyler, finding the right women is like playing Roulette. You spin the wheel and hope luck bounces your way. Uncle Nathan proclaimed. If you’re real lucky you hit the jackpot.”
“I am sure Uncle Nathan had a conversation with my mom, his sister, about my love life. I will admit I am in a bit of a slump. When I finished graduate school last year my college girlfriend and I split. It was sort of a mutual breakup. She said I was a nice guy but had commitment issues. Which is ‘girl speak’ for she wanted to get married and I didn’t.
My sister asked me to lunch and I was telling her. “I am in a transitional stage of my life. I just finished graduate school and want to focus on my career. Once I have established myself I would be open to a serious relationship.”
My older sister, Jessie said, “It doesn’t work that way. When you finally meet that girl, you know. You’re more in to her than she is in to you. Establishing a career and everything else in your life gets moved to second on your priority list. This doesn’t happen when its convenient for you Tyler, it just happens.”
“So Jessie, what you’re telling me is that I will be walking down the street, like in a movie, and a see this girl and I fall in love instantly?”
“Tyler, you can laugh now but I want to be around when it happens. When your life ‘goes off the script’ you have in your head and things get out of your control. I know you dear brother; you will be kissing my ass for help.”
“I am a big boy now Jess, I can handle what ever comes along.” I don’t think I had Jessie convinced because she was snickering and shaking her head. “Just so you know I have an interview on Monday with a high profile company, Wilshire, Inc.”
“How did that happen, Tyler? Mom said you didn’t get any replies from the resumes you sent out.”
“Insider influence Jess.”
“You remember Beth, my friend Bobby’s cousin?”
“The one you dated in high school?”
“Yes, she is a department head there and got me an interview. Her older brother is a VP.”
“Why do you say it like that Jess?”
“Well wonder boy, if I remember correctly she was hung up on you in a serious way.”
“I guess, but its all good. We ended it during the summer before we started college. I ran into Beth at Starbucks and we got talking. I told her I was looking for a position and she offered to help. Two days later I got a call about an interview.”
“That was nice of her.”
“Ok, I know that look. You have something to add Jess?”
“Are you a hot commodity the company can use or a ‘Hottie’ for the department head to use?”
“You have an evil mind Jess. I am more than qualified for the position and we are old friends.”
“You are just old friends? You had a relationship with Beth. You had sex with Beth. You wanted to end it and she pretended that she did too. Tyler, put my number on speed dial.”
“Is that how your mind works Jess?”
“No Tyler, that’s how the world works.”
The weekend went by fast and my interview was at this morning. I did some basic research on the corporation and felt I was prepared for the interview. I arrived about fifteen minutes early and checked in with the receptionist.
“May I ask your name sir?”
“Yes, it’s Tyler Hampton.”
“Thank you Mr. Hampton, Ms. Weller will be with you in a moment.
Ok, this should be a breeze. A few moments to catch up and then she will introduce me to the person doing the interview.
“Good morning Tyler, need some coffee?
“No, I’m good, thanks Beth.”
We made small talk on the way to Beth’s office. I was I impressed with the layout but not surprised. Wilshire has an excellent reputation and is a very sound company. I followed closely behind Beth and was taking it all in. We arrived at her office and she asked me to sit down.
“I have been looking forward to this all weekend. It’s was great to run in to you at Starbucks and now I’m interviewing you.”
“Oh, you’re doing the interview?” I was sort of surprised. I just figured Beth had given me a recommendation and I would interview with whomever.
“Yes, I am. The opening is actually in my department. I will be your direct report.”
Ok, no big deal. We got along very well when we dated. Beth is a sweet girl but we were going to different colleges and a long distance relationship was not going to work. We were young and not ready for any long term plans.
“Well that’s great.” When my sister finds out about this I am going to hear I told you so. I’m not going to get ahead of myself. Beth has been professional and friendly to me since I arrived. This is the chance I really need. We talked for almost an hour. She explained my job responsibilities and the basic information I would need to know as a new employee. My office was great and right down the hall from her office. The salary was competitive and there were many opportunities within the company. Life just got better.
The five days were a blur but I really enjoyed it. The people I work with are nice and my job is awesome. It was about when Beth came in to my office. I didn’t see her much the whole week.
“Everyone is impressed with you. I think you’re going to do well here.”
“That’s great, Beth. I really like it here.”
“I knew you would. Listen, some of the staff and I usually go out for a couple of drinks on Friday. I was hoping you would join us. It would give us a chance to catch up a little more and you can get to know everybody better. You can leave your car in the garage; the bar is only two blocks away.”
Ok, you have to go along to get along. It was a busy week and a chance to unwind a little would be good. I don’t see anything wrong with that. We all arrived at the bar around the same time. The place was called ‘The Mint’. The name was not influenced by the candy, it was influenced by the place that makes our money and the name was appropriate. It was large and looked like a place the wealthy and powerful would go to and unwind.
When we were walking over to the Mint Beth and I were having a nice conversation and she casually asked, “So Tyler are you seeing anybody?” Of course I thought about the conversation I had with my sister.
“No, I’m not really seeing anyone. I was in Grad School for a while but our job interests took us in different directions so we went our separate ways. I wanted to make my career a priority and wouldn’t be able to devote the time a serious relationship requires.”
“What a coincidence Tyler, I’m not seeing anybody either. I dated a college classmate for a while but he got a great job offer in London. We have stayed friends but I haven’t seen him in months.
Things felt very comfortable between us and a few drinks became more than a few. I looked at my watch and it was . “Wow, look at the time.”
Beth replied, “I know, the evening went so fast. I have a suggestion.”
“Ok, I’m listening.” I was somewhat intoxicated; when I get like that I become very agreeable.
“We haven’t eaten anything and neither of us should be driving. Why don’t we take a cab over to my condo and I’ll make us some dinner.”
The conversation I had with my sister was now haunting me and I was not going to let her ramblings influence me in any way so I said, “That sounds like a good idea.” After all, I was hungry. The cab ride took about twenty minutes and we pulled up to Beth’s condo. It was in an affluent neighborhood. We took the elevator to the tenth floor and walked to the end of the hallway where her condo was.
Beth opened the door and we walked in to a small entryway. She hung up her coat and we took off our shoes. The entryway opened to a large open area with the bedrooms off to one side and the kitchen the other side. The view was great and the place had a very comfortable feeling to it.
“Would you like a drink Tyler?”
Beth pointed to her left and said, “That’s a fully stocked bar. Go make us a drink while I go change in to something more comfortable.”
I was sitting on the couch when Beth came out in some very thin pajamas and obviously was not wearing anything under them. I had to admit she was looking real good, wow. Beth came over and sat down next to me and I handed her a drink.
“I can order us some food if you are still hungry?”
I vaguely remember saying something like……”Why bother, I have something delicious sitting right next to me.”
The next morning I woke up and had to orient my self to where I was. You know how it is when you wake up some place unfamiliar. I was laying in a king size bed, naked with a woman next to me. Her pajama top was hanging off the lamp shade. The evening began to replay in my head and then the final scene flashed by. Oh my god! I had sex with Beth, my boss. No, this can’t be happening. How stupid I was. She played me like a honky-tonk piano. My sister, oh no, she will own me if she finds this out.
Beth was still sleeping. I needed time to think. I left her a note saying I had an appointment and took a cab home. I was frantic when I got to my apartment. What have I done, I get a great job and the boss is an old friend, I’m golden. Now what am I going to do. I didn’t want this to happen. I was determined it wasn’t going to happen. My dam sister, it’s her fault. She jinxed me, put a spell on me. I like Beth, we always got along well but I am only interested in a friendly working relationship.
My cell phone started ringing. Please don’t be Beth. It wasn’t Beth, it was worst. “Hi Jess what’s up?”
“Hey wonder boy, how was the first week at your new job? You and Beth catch up on old times?”
Now I really had to pull it together. My sister can smell fear like a tabloid reporter. She warned me and I confidently told her I could handle it. I didn’t handle it; I handled my boss, literally. Jessie takes great delight with my misfortune, particularly after she has given me good advice and I ignore it.
“It went very well. Beth said I was doing a good job. My position is challenging, and I work with great people.”
“That’s good, mom and dad were wondering.
“You were wondering Jess. Don’t you have your own life to live?”
“Tyler you sound a little stressed.”
“I’m just a little tired. I started a new job and meet some new people. Ok Jessie, why don’t you just ask about what you really want to know?”
“That’s what I have always liked about you Tyler, direct and to the point. Ok, did Beth give you any hints she wanted to pick where you guys left off?”
I had to be convincing. “Jess we had this conversation. I’m not interested in that. It’s business only.”
“Little brother, that’s not what I asked you. Is she interested?”
What should I say? Well Jess I’m not sure yet, if I’m just a friend with special benefits or if she still cares about me. “Beth invited her staff out for a few drinks after work and it was casual but professional.”
I wasn’t sure if Jessie was convinced but had no interest in continuing with the interrogation from my sister. “Is there anything else I can do for you sis?”
“Can’t a sister just call her brother to see how he is doing? I actually have a very good reason to call you.
“Really Jess and that would be what?”
“I want you to come over for dinner tonight. My friend Reilly’s niece Colleen moved here for a job. She was a year behind you in college and works for corporate America too.”
“Jess I told you, no more hookups.”
“It’s not like that Tyler. Reilly just wants you to help her make the transition to a new city.”
“Ok Jess, what time?”
“Be at my house by little brother.”
I got to Jessie’s house a few minutes early and Reilly was already there with Colleen. Jessie introduced us and said dinner would be ready in thirty minutes. It was very odd; I only talked to Colleen for a few minutes and already felt like I had known her for a long time. Colleen and I became very comfortable with each other. We had so much in common that we actually started finishing each other’s sentences. We all enjoyed dinner and Colleen suggested we go out for dessert. This girl was different than any I had ever met. Colleen and I spent two hours over dessert talking about everything and made a date for next weekend.
Monday came fast and I was on my way to work. I was definitely a little apprehensive about seeing Beth. I had not talked to since I snuck out of her apartment. About 9:30 Beth came in to my office with several files.
“Good morning, I want you to review these and make the necessary referrals, ok?”
“I’ll take care of right away Beth.”
“You left my place in a hurry Tyler. We could have had breakfast.”
“Sorry, I promised a friend I would give them a hand with something. I left a note.”
“Yes, I saw it. It’s no big deal. I just wanted to make sure you enjoyed yourself and got a chance to meet the rest of my staff.”
“I had a nice time and got to meet everybody. “
I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be that simple. I hate to say my sister was right but she was. Now what do I do.
“Good, you get to know people better in a more informal setting. I wanted to ask you something too, Tyler. My brother invited me to a party Friday and I wanted to know if you would go with me. It would be a great opportunity to meet senior management.”
Man Beth is good, real good. She knew I would jump on that offer. “It sure would be a great opportunity, I said” I was hoping I found a way out of this mess. “But doesn’t the company have a policy about socializing with people that report directly to you?”
“That’s correct but this is job related.”
I was trapped and getting in deeper. I would go to the party and make an excuse to leave alone.
Friday arrived and we went to the party. It was all that I expected and more. I had a conversation with one of the vice-presidents and the director of international operations. Beth was never far away. After I got done talking to the VP she came over to talk to me.
“I see you were working the room pretty good Tyler. I told you it would be a great opportunity. This thing is going to break up in a half hour, want to get some dinner?”
Beth was looking for the payback, not tonight. “It sounds great but I can’t. Maybe we can some other time.”
“Ok Tyler, I am going to hold you to that.”
I didn’t want to go out with Beth under any circumstances. Besides, all I could think about was my date with Colleen. There might be some thing to Jess’s ‘love at first sight’ theory. I think I hit the jackpot Uncle Nathan was talking about.
Over the next month I saw Colleen four or five times and spoke to her almost everyday. I also somehow managed to hold off Beth.
We were both trying to take it slow and had not gone beyond a hug and goodnight kiss. I am falling in love with Colleen and I am sure she feels the same way. We had plans for Saturday. Colleen has an interest in art so the plan was to view the Italian Reissuance art exhibit downtown in the afternoon and then have dinner at my apartment.
Saturday could not have started out any better. It was warm and sunny with a slight breeze. I met Colleen at our favorite coffee shop and she looked so beautiful. We made small talk and headed to the museum. We spent several hours at the art exhibit and got to my apartment about 5:00. We had a candlelight dinner and several bottles of wine. This was the best night of my life, or so I thought. It was about 7:00 when we finished dinner. Colleen brought a movie she had wanted to watch.
“Tyler, I am going up to your room and change in to something more comfortable while you put the DVD in.”
“Ok, I’ll take care of it.” Just as I was about to put the DVD in the doorbell rang. I was trying to guess who it could be as I looked through the security peephole in the door. It was Beth. Ok, whatever it is she is gone in sixty seconds.
I opened the door. “Hi Beth, this is a surprise.”
“What, it shouldn’t be. Don’t you remember I told you at the party for senior managers that my apartment was being painted and I needed a place to stay for the night?” You said it wouldn’t be a problem and I said write it in your planner. Don’t tell me you forgot.”
I was in a total panic and didn’t know what to do. Ok, ok….I had to hold it together. “Ah, I guess I spaced it out but it’s not a problem come in. Put your bag down over by the stairs. There is a glass of wine on the table. I have to run upstairs because I left the water running in the bathroom.”
“Great, I could use a glass of wine and a shower.”
Now I was beyond the panic stage and officially freaked out. My apartment was a two level loft. The first floor was a big room. The left side was the kitchen and an eating area. The right side was a large living room with chairs, couches, stereo equipment and a wall mounted LCD TV. There was an open stairway leading to the upper level. The upper level had the master bedroom and bathroom. In addition there were two other bedrooms and a full bathroom for guests. One of the rooms I used as a home office.
As I was walking up stairs I came up with a plan. I went in to my room and Colleen was just getting finished changing.
She walked over and gave me a kiss. “I thought I heard the doorbell ring.’
I was shaking inside. Colleen and I were just starting to get close and I assured her I wasn’t seeing anybody. I had no idea how the conversation would go if Colleen and Beth met. Particularly after they found out I invited both of them to spend the night.
“Ah yeah, it’s my mom.”
“Oh great, I haven’t met your mom yet.”
I was flying by the seat of my pants now. “Right, well about that, my mom is kind of old fashioned and I wanted you to meet her under different circumstances. You know, not coming out of my bedroom.”
Colleen was very understanding. “I understand and agree with you.”
“Great, so just hangout here for a while and I’ll let you know when she has gone.”
I ran downstairs just as Beth finished her wine. “Did I hear you talking to somebody?”
I really needed help. There was only one person I could call, Jess. This is were I had to start kissing her ass. “Yeah you did it’s my mom. She is in my bedroom. I need new curtains and she is helping me out.”
Beth replied, “Oh great, I haven’t met your mom yet.” And you never will.
“Listen, my mom is kind of old fashioned and this probably not the best circumstances to meet her.”
“No problem Tyler.”
“Excellent, lets go upstairs, you can stay in the guest bedroom.”
“I really need a shower. I’ll be fast and quiet, ok?’
I ran downstairs and was looking for my cell phone to call Jessie when the doorbell rang, again. Now who could it be? I looked through the peephole and saw Jessie. Finally my luck has changed. I opened the door and saw my mom standing next to Jessie. Do not ever, ever say ‘it can’t get any worse’ because it just did. A potential Academy Award winning drama scene could happen any moment and Jessie and my mom will be here to see it.
“Mom, Jess what a surprise. What are you doing here? Come in.”
I must have had a strange expression on my face because Jess and mom kept looking at me. “Tyler are you all right, you look frazzled?”
“I’m fine mom. I had a long week at the new job.”
Jessie joined the conversation. “Mom and I had dinner nearby and she wanted to see your new apartment. I called your cell phone twice. We came up when we saw your car.”
“It’s no problem. I am actually glad you are here Jess. I was just about to call you.” When I said I was glad to see her in such an enthusiastic way Jess knew something was up.
“Honey, I need to use the bathroom, where is it.”
It’s at the top of the stairs, on the left mom.”
When mom went upstairs I quickly told Jess what was going on. She started laughing and laughed harder as I continued to talk.
“Jess I need your help. I have to get Colleen out of here some how.”
“Wonder Boy, you’re going to owe me big if I get you out of this mess.”
“Ok Jess, you can tell me I told you so later. I am officially kissing your ass. Now think.”
“Here’s what you do little brother. Go upstairs and tell Colleen you changed your mind about introducing her to mom. She’ll be happy to do it. All girls want to meet the mom and get her approval before the relationship gets real serious. After the introductions I’ll suggest coffee and dessert someplace near Colleen’s apartment. It will be well into the evening when we are done. Mom and I will go home. You suggest staying at Colleen’s because it’s late. Beth will spend the night here alone and any attempt by her to take advantage of you is averted.’
“Jess, that it is a brilliant idea.”
Everything went just as planned. I ended up spending the rest of the weekend at Coleen’s apartment. My big sister saved me, again and introduced me to the most wonderful girl I have ever met. Coleen and I agree it was love at first sight. We are engaged and are going to be married on the date we met.Author's Notes: